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Life Changing Experiences

7 of our Best Volunteer Abroad Programs for 2020

7 of our Best Volunteer Abroad Programs for 2020

Participating in a volunteer abroad program is an immensely valuable way for any teen to spend their summer.

Combining the transformative experience of volunteering with the incredible benefits of travel? Now that’s something you’ll remember forever.

Global volunteer programs give you the opportunity to broaden your perspectives at a critical point in your personal development. You’ll gain leadership, teamwork, social, and problem-solving skills while working on a variety of community service projects with your peers. What’s more; the friendships you’ll forge while volunteering abroad can last a lifetime.

So how do you choose the right volunteer program? It’s not always easy. There are many volunteer opportunities for teens to choose from. That’s why we’ve done our best to make the choice a little bit easier for you.

We’ve gone through our full list of amazing community service programs and hand-picked 7 that will transport you to exciting destinations outside North America. Some are new, some are long-standing, and they’re all incredible.

Here’s everything you need to know about our volunteer abroad programs you won’t want to miss in 2020:

7 of our best volunteer abroad programs for teens in 2020

Costa Rica Community Service - 21 Days 7
Costa Rica Community Service

Duration: 21 days
Service Hours: 60
Completing Grades: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11
Service Projects: Youth Leadership, Environmental Sustainability & Infrastructure
Adventure Highlights: Zip-line over Rincon de la Vieja National Park, surf the Pacific at Tamarindo Beach, and whitewater raft in the Central Valley.
Overview: This program gives new meaning to the term Pura Vida. You’ll help brighten up the days of local children with fun activities and improve the quality of life for underprivileged locals through infrastructure and beautification projects. And the best part? You’ll be taking part in these meaningful initiatives all while exploring the different regions of Costa Rica alongside your new friends! With the perfect balance of service and adventure, this teen volunteer program is truly unforgettable.
Find out more about this program!

Ecuador Teen Volunteer Program

Ecuador: Medical Assistance

Duration: 11 days
Service Hours: 40
Completing Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
Service Projects: Community Welfare & Infrastructure
Adventure Highlights: Canopy zip-line in the Mindo Cloud Forest and river tube the Mindo River.
Overview: Travel to the Andean Highlands of Ecuador and learn what it takes to run a mobile clinic for the poor rural communities there. You’ll shadow MEDLIFE medical professionals, participating in a variety of stations each day in an effort to implement health care programs near Cebadas. This summer volunteer program for high school students will help provide you with a greater understanding of public health initiatives across the globe.
Find out more about this program!

7 of our Best Volunteer Abroad Programs for 2020 1

Greece: Sea Turtle Research & Conservation

Duration: 15 days
Service Hours: 40
Completing Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
Service Projects: Wildlife conservation
Adventure Highlights: Kayak the crystal-clear Mediterranean waters of the Ionian Sea, experience the Drogarati Cave, and take a boat ride through the underground lake of the Melissani Cave.
Overview: Together with Wildlife Sense, this volunteer abroad program provides teens with the unique opportunity to protect nesting locations and survey hatchling tracks of Kefalonia’s endangered loggerhead sea turtles. The hands-on conservation efforts also include harbor patrol, hatchling rescue and collecting light pollution data. When not volunteering, participants will enjoy Greece’s beaches, explore its harbour towns and venture to Athens to marvel at the Parthenon.
Find out more about this program!

Peru Teen Volunteer Program

Peru Community Service

Duration: 15 or 28 days
Service Hours: 20 or 45
Completing Grades: 9, 10, 11
Service Projects: Infrastructure, Youth Leadership, & Community Welfare
Adventure Highlights: Explore the Amazon Jungle, marvel at the ancient beauty of Machu Picchu, and whitewater raft the Urubamba River.
Overview: Peru is one of the most spectacular and geographically diverse countries in the world. During your time there, participate in a number of beautification and infrastructure projects like making adobe bricks from scratch. You’ll also have the privilege of brightening the days of children at local orphanages as part of this volunteer opportunity for teens. Friendly Peruvians and amazing adventures add even more depth to this meaningful and memorable summer.
Find out more about this program!

South Africa Teen Volunteer Program

South Africa Community Service

Duration: 13 or 25 days
Service Hours: 25 or 60
Completing Grades: 9, 10, 11, 12
Service Projects: Community Welfare & Youth Leadership
Adventure Highlights: Safari drive in Kruger National Park, swim and surf in the Indian Ocean, and whitewater raft the Sabie River.
Overview: South Africa is filled with unbelievable wildlife, scenic landscapes, and unique culture. Get ready to experience them all! You’ll participate in meaningful community service projects, working closely with youth and embarking on a sustainable environmental project that directly impacts the local community. You’ll gain as much from this global volunteer program as the young students you will be privileged to spend time with.
Find out more about this program!

Ecuador & the Galapagos Community Service - 18 Days 10

Ecuador & the Galapagos Community Service

Duration: 18 or 25 days
Service Hours: 35 or 50
Completing Grades: 9, 10, 11
Service Projects: Environmental Sustainability, Wildlife Conservation, Youth Leadership, Community Welfare & Infrastructure
Adventure Highlights: We experience it all on this volunteer abroad program in Ecuador & the Galapagos! Rewarding community service opportunities working alongside locals in Quito, Riobamba, the Amazon Rainforest and the spectacular Galapagos Islands allow you to experience the natural beauty and cultural richness of South America. From straddling the Northern and Southern Hemispheres at the equatorial line in Quito, to visiting the Galapagos Islands, home to Darwin’s theory of evolution, teens will love the activity-filled days of sun, sea, and giant tortoise sightings.
Find out more about this program!

Costa Rica: Children's Camp Leadership - 17 days 3

Costa Rica: Children’s Camp Leadership

Duration: 17 days
Service Hours: 60
Completing Grades: 9, 10, 11
Service Projects: Youth Leadership & Environmental Sustainability
Adventure Highlights: Surf with professional instructors, enjoy a thrilling whitewater rafting adventure and zip-line over the stunning forests of Arenal.
Overview: Develop your leadership skills as you plan and run a day camp for local children in Monteverde. As a counselor-in-training on this Costa Rica community service experience, coordinate games, sports, drama and arts & crafts activities for the children. Then lend a helping hand towards rainforest rejuvenation efforts by planting trees and plants native to Costa Rica. Outside of your volunteer work, explore Costa Rica’s lush Central Valley, Monteverde Cloud Forest, Arenal Volcano and Flamingo Beach, where you’ll enjoy surfing lessons, spectacular views and exhilarating adventure!
Find out more about this program!

Interested in checking out our other teen volunteer programs? Browse through our entire list of programs around the world!

Throughout this article, we’ve been highlighting the value of volunteer efforts abroad. But we also know how incredibly important local volunteer efforts are. Learn more about the meaningful work we do in our own communities through WCC Cares.