The Best Volunteer Abroad Programs for Adults

The Best Volunteer Abroad Programs for Adults


If you are looking for a challenge later in life, then volunteer work abroad is a good place to start. There are thousands of adults over 40, 50 and 60 years old that volunteer abroad every year, each with their own unique set of knowledge and skills.

Instead of asking yourself if you’re too old to volunteer, rather decide which organization you’d like to volunteer for. This guide aims at answering your questions about adult volunteers abroad.

Why volunteer abroad as an adult?

Irrespective of your age, a volunteer project can provide an enriching experience. Many volunteer organizations find older individuals have a wealth of knowledge and experience to offer that prospective college students have not yet developed.

If you’re thinking of taking a retiree trip or career break, volunteering abroad can enable you to develop professionally and personally, as well as broaden your cultural understanding.

What are the requirements to volunteer abroad as an adult?


Age should not be a barrier to volunteering abroad, what’s more important is your passion to give back and travel. Whether you’re trying to find opportunities for 30+ travelers, volunteering for retired professionals, or volunteer vacations for seniors, there are plenty of meaningful opportunities available.

Volunteer programs are available across 250+ projects in more than 45+ destinations. However, there are a few basic requirements:

  • Being able to pay both registration and program fees

  • Securing adequate travel insurance

  • Providing a criminal background check

Once the requirements have been met, your experience and skills are the most important criteria to be accepted into a program.

How to find the right adult volunteer program?

Deciding which program is right for you is a personal decision. After all, only you will know what you want to get out of the program and where you’d like to visit.

For some, accommodation is an important part of the equation, while others may want to be located on a specific project or in a rural setting. There are many factors to take into consideration and the more time you spend on research, the better informed the final decision will be. This will mean that when it’s time to pack your bags, you will know exactly what you’ve signed up for.

Volunteer projects are available in Teaching, Childcare, Art and Music, Sports, Wildlife and Animal Care, Medical and Health, Construction and Renovation, Environment and Conservation, Community Development, NGO support, Special Needs Care and Elderly Care.

Who joins these programs?


Adult volunteer programs are attended by a wide range of volunteers. Although many of these volunteers are young adults, the number of mature volunteers taking part in volunteer programs is increasing steadily. As volunteers travel abroad on a wide range of programs all year round, it is impossible to predict who will be joining the same program you’ve selected.



One Indonesian adult volunteer program is based on the island of Simuelue, located off the west coast of Sumatra. The secluded island is well known for its world class surf, and the program is ideally suited for families and those 30 year or older.

The main focus of the program is Island Conservation and the work plays a crucial role in the preservation of the island’s eco-system. Education within the local community can also be provided. Whether you are interested in taking a trip by yourself to improve your knowledge and skills, or give your family a new and unique experience, the Indonesia volunteer program is just the ticket.

Project: Island Conservation

Peru - Cusco

This wonderland of cultural diversity and natural beauty can be found on many bucket lists. The region is host to both Spanish colonial cathedrals and ancient Inca ruins, meaning there are plenty points of interest to visit, the biggest of which is Machu Picchu.

If you have an inner desire for exploration, you will feel right at home. Volunteer work on the Peru - Cusco program is targeted at community immersion and it provides for a wide variety of skill sets. Irrespective of which project you choose, you’ll be blown away by the people’s warmth and feel their gratitude of your contributions.

Projects: Teaching English, Childcare, Animal Care, Medical, Construction and Renovation, Jungle Conservation, Special Needs Care, Andean Immersion, Spanish Service Learning Course and Holiday Experience.



The Romanian program is ideally suited for individuals with a teaching background, as most of the projects have a set curriculum that those with previous teaching experience will fit into seamlessly.

If you’re looking for a journey into unique beauty, the Romanian program will continue to surprise you. With historic villages, churches and castles bordered by luscious hills, you’ll feel like having taken a step back in time.

Volunteers for these projects supplement the existing support network and are constantly in demand, especially for working with disadvantaged youths. You will live with a local family and be fully immersed in the culture, with plenty of opportunities to explore Romania.

Projects: After School Support, Childcare, Agriculture, Teaching, Special Needs Care, and NGO Support.


This country in East Africa is enamored with the vast landscapes and majestic wildlife roaming its plains. Volunteers feel part of the unique culture the moment they arrive. Nairobi, the country’s capital, feels like a western city, but is contrasted by the wildlife and environment that has made Kenya famous.

Volunteers aim to support local suburbs that are always under-resourced and the effects of the work are noticeable throughout the community. If you’re wanting to do meaningful community work and have a thirst for the wild, Kenya is your ideal destination.

Projects: Childcare in Mombasa, Teaching in Maasai, Teaching in Mombasa, Sports Education, Music, Special Needs Care and Women’s Education

Volunteer Organizations:

BLUE Missions


If you’re the type of person that likes to get your hands dirty and build an emotional connection with the community that you’re helping, then maybe a water or sanitation project with BLUE Missions is right for you.

BLUE Missions has 2 goals: to end the water and sanitation crisis and to build a generation of global citizens. Both goals are accomplished through service trips by connecting volunteers of all ages with impactful projects and authentic immersion.

Clean Water Projects:

·       Purpose: Building an aqueduct system from beginning to end, and connect the whole community to clean water.

·       Working: Learning how to dig trenches using tools, gluing pipe, and con­structing a water holding tank. Seeing the project through from beginning to end.

·       Staying: Sleeping in the community inside a local church, school, or home. Cots are provid­ed.

Sanitation Projects:

·       Purpose: Building ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrines for individual families to provide access to life-changing sanitation.

·       Working: Mixing cement, cutting wood, and hammering in nails to build Ventilated Pit La­trines. Getting to know each family that will benefit from a bathroom and working together with them.

·       Staying: Sleeping in the community inside a local church, school, or home. Cots are provid­ed.

Peace Corps

It is a common misconception that Peace Corps is only for recent college grads, but Peace Corps often work with many volunteers that are retirees or mid-career professionals. If you are able to spend two years abroad, the Peace Corps is an amazing opportunity for older adult volunteers.

Normally, the Peace Corps’ older volunteers get better accommodations and are used on projects that use their expertise and past work experience. One further advantage is that Peace Corps gives the best health care available, and takes care of volunteers fully in cases of an evacuation or emergency.

Global Volunteers

Global Volunteers is a not for profit organization with about half of their volunteers being older adults. Volunteers are given short-term programs (between 1 and 3 weeks) and assist long-term projects by partnering with local organizations to achieve sustainable development.

Volunteers can travel in a group or with their family, can stay in hotels or hostels for more independence while volunteering, and staff take care of volunteer's safety and health during their stay.

Global Vision International (GVI)

Global Vision International specifically supports and prefers older volunteers as they need a higher level of specialized skills for many of their projects. They recognize older volunteers can make a bigger impact on the host community by using their professional skill set and knowledge in their assignments.

Cross Cultural Solutions (CCS)

With CSS, volunteers can select to work in their selected field in one of 11 countries. CCS’ staff are able to make accommodations for safety and health concerns, dietary restrictions, and other requests from older volunteers. They have lots of experience working with volunteers that are older and volunteers have the option to go solo, as a family unit, or with a friend.

In Conclusion

Whether you’re looking for a new life experience, or you’re motivated to give back, volunteering abroad at an older age is definitely a viable option. Many organizations cater to the older adult, and acknowledge that retirees and working professionals have a lot of value to add to their projects.