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Do Good, See the World: 20 Opportunities to Travel, Intern and Volunteer in Europe

February 1, 2017 animals / environment / outdoors / Travel


20 Opportunities to Travel, Intern and Volunteer in Europe

Charitable giving — of time and effort, not just of money — can also be a fantastic way to see other parts of the globe.

That’s why we’ve put together this list of volunteer holidays in Europe. These are perfect opportunities for trailing spouses, gap-year students, expats approaching the end of a work contract or anyone just in need of a little adventure.

The options run the gamut from wildlife conservation to community building — things that demand dedicated efforts, even on a continent that enjoys the riches Europe does.

Here are 20 opportunities to travel and to donate your energy to worthwhile causes in Europe.

Protect Loggerhead Turtles in Greece

Global Vision International offers a multi-week program in the southern Peloponnese, where international volunteers work year-round to protect the habitats and nests of loggerhead turtles. This includes conducting morning surveys, and watching out for predatory mammals or sea water flooding of the nests.

The first dates available are in mid-June, and two-week volunteer holidays start at 1,990 USD.

Wildlife Conservation in the Scottish Highlands

Fronteering offers an intensive, 24-week program in which volunteers get to work hands-on with various conservation tasks designed to help protect native species such as the European wild cat, otters, ospreys, and white-tailed and golden eagles.

Start dates are rolling throughout the year, and the programs costs 1,495 USD, though you must find your own accommodation after the first two weeks.

Construction and Renovation Project in Portugal

International Volunteer HQ is doing ongoing work around Lisbon and Mafra to directly assist local residents who cannot afford repairs or retrofits for their homes. Additionally, IVHQ has four other projects locally that include scuba diving, food rescue and youth support.

Programs start from 375 USD for a week, and the construction project also requires an additional 300 USD charge to cover materials costs.

Spend a Day With Climate Change Researchers in England

Earthwatch Institute lead researcher Dr. Martha Crockatt will lead volunteers around the ancient Wytham Woods just outside of Oxford for a day. “In the midst of rich and diverse flora and fauna, you can play an important role in collecting data vital to understanding how natural woodlands are responding to climate change,” Earthwatch writes.

Dates and contributions are still forthcoming at the time of writing.

Work With Children in Bulgaria

Original Volunteers seeks five people per week to help out with marginalised Romany children and children with learning difficulties near Varna in the summer. “Activities are mostly play or supervision based so anyone who likes playing games or setting up art and craft activities will feel comfortable and in the summer there is always another volunteer next to you so you won’t feel you are leading anything on your own unless you want to,” organisers say.

Prices start at 125 GBP per week, and the flexible work schedules offer ample time to explore Bulgaria’s Black Sea coast.


Medical Internship at a Day Care Center in Romania

Projects Abroad seeks volunteers with at least a year of medical studies under their belts to spend two weeks or more at a day care center in Brasov in Transylvania, where medical professionals currently treat about 30 children daily.

“The center offers a variety of treatments to the children including physical therapy, massage, educational programs, kinetotherapy, psychological treatment, and speech therapy,” the listing reads. “The center is eager to have up to four interns, with each intern specialising in one of the following areas: Orthopedics, Pediatrics, Physical Therapy, Psychiatry, or Psychotherapy.”

Start dates are flexible, and program costs start from 2,990 USD for two weeks.

Permaculture Gardening in Norway

WWOOF Norway has a current farm project that begins the first week of April and asks volunteers for a minimum two-week commitment. During that time, volunteers will prepare soil, build fences, erect a greenhouse, and do everything else necessary to get a permaculture garden up and running in Norway.

WWOOF projects around the world connect volunteers with opportunities to learn about sustainable agricultural and provide a place to stay in exchange for their efforts. The only administrative fee is a yearly 25 EUR membership fee.

Teaching English and Community Building in Romania

Learning Enterprises is looking for 15 to 20 volunteers for a seven-week program in which you’ll have the chance to work with children and host families in villages and orphanages around Romania. The program is broken up into a pair of three-week placements, with a mid-program orientation session and bookend weekends in Budapest, Hungary, for briefing and debriefing.

Application costs range from 25 to 35 USD, and enrollment is open through February 14.

Summer English Language Camp in Italy

LoveTEFL is seeking native English speakers who want to spend their summers in the beautiful hillside town of Assisi in Italy’s Umbria region. As a tutor, you will be assigned a host family to live with and paid a salary of 350 EUR per month.

Applications are due by April 15, and the camp’s start date is June 10.

Community Development in Bosnia

Love Volunteers seeks volunteers for a four-week project in Brcko, a small city in the northeast of Bosnia that borders Croatia. “The Bosnian War of 1992-95, which ripped apart the former Yugoslavia, brought with it violence and devastation of unprecedented scale,” organisers write. “This ethnically rooted war left in its wake great division between the people of this once united region long after the guns were lowered. Two decades later the remnants of racial hated still divide the people of the region who teeter on the edge of social and political instability.

“Through our wonderful partner organisation in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Love Volunteers aims to support local and international efforts to put an end to the racial segregation by removing the inherited prejudice of the region’s next generation — its children.”

Volunteers live in a self-catered house, and fees start at 106 USD per week.


Internship at a Conservation-Focused NGO in London

Frontier, an NGO “dedicated to safeguarding biodiversity and ecosystem integrity and building sustainable livelihoods for marginalised communities in the world’s poorest countries” seeks interns in its London offices for the summer. The internship tracks focus on

  • marketing and online media,
  • conservation and research,
  • and organisational support.

The internship is designed to last four weeks, and costs are 899 GBP without accommodation (1,499 GBP if you opt to stay in a hostel Frontier has chosen to partner with).

Teach English in Italy

Global Volunteers offers one- and two-week programs in Italy’s Puglia region on the Adriatic coast where you will be teaching English to both younger people and adults. “Many travelers miss the meaningful human connections afforded through day-to-day service in this enchanting region,” organisers say. “What you gain as a volunteer in Italy is the perspective of ‘L’amico preferito” (‘favorite friend’) that only a non-tourist can acquire.”

Teachers will stay in double occupancy rooms in the Hotel Vecchio Mulino in Monopoli, and prices start at 3,195 USD.

Ecosystem Conservation in Spain

Volunteering Solutions has a program on the east coast of Spain that affords volunteers several opportunities to do some hands-on conservation work. This includes working to protect wetland ecosystems, conserving beaches and dunes, monitoring turtles, restoring bird habitats, and planting trees.

Spots are available throughout the year, and two-week programs start at 1,000 USD (plus a 225 USD application fee).

Monitoring Wolf Populations in Germany

Biosphere Expeditions is organising a weeklong trip for volunteers this summer in Lüneburger Heide, just south of Hamburg. The program will give volunteers the chance to track the presence of wolves (which are beginning to return to the area), and also “survey prey species deer and wild boar.”

Guests will stay in a modern guesthouse on the edge of Lüneburger Heide, and prices are 1,770 EUR for the week.

Work With Students and Younger Children in Denmark

United Planet has a multifaceted long-term project in Denmark that allows volunteers to work with elderly citizens, assist high school teachers and assist in child care centers. Commitments start at six months, and prices start at just above 10,000 USD. (Note that the program includes an initial training weekend in the United States).


Marine Conservation in Spain

Go Eco seeks a handful of volunteers for conservation projects on the Mediterranean coast of Spain, near Denia. Projects will include monitoring dolphins and seabirds, collecting data on local plants, improving wetland areas, collecting trash and helping with logistics.

Prices start at 1,300 USD for two weeks, and that includes a private room in a shared apartment.

Environmental Awareness Workcamp in Iceland

SEEDS has an ongoing project in Iceland that invites volunteers year-round to learn collectively about the environmental issues facing our world. “During this process we will organise visits with environmental interest such as going to the recycle centres of Reykjavik (SORPA) or a geothermal power plant,” organisers write. “We will also have some activities that will solidify our knowledge and will help us to see all the topics in a practical and funny way.”

The workcamps last one week, and prices are from 160 EUR. Participants will be given a place to sleep in a shared residence in Reykjavik, but organizers say you must bring a sleeping bag.

Lynx, Wolf and Bear Conservation in Slovakia

Responsible Travel is organising a weeklong volunteer holiday in Slovakia’s Carpathian Mountains to monitor lynx, wolf and bear populations, as well as their prey species populations. “You will track large carnivores through snow in the forest and meadow habitats of the mountains (using snow shoes, which are easy to use) and you may be involved in capturing and radio-collaring them,” organisers write.

“You will also learn how to recognise and record other signs of their presence, such as radio telemetry signals, scats and scent markings, camera trap them, collect samples to study their diet and for genetic analysis, and survey prey species.”

Prices for the week start at 1,330 GBP, and organisers say at least two-thirds of that money will go directly to supporting the conservation project locally.

Live With a Family in France and Teach Them English

Greenheart Travel is organising a homestay program in which volunteers will live with a French family and spend about 15 hours each week teaching them English. “This program is ideal for adults hoping to get their feet wet in teaching, teachers planning to travel during their summer break, or travelers seeking to experience full cultural immersion while teaching English abroad,” Greenheart says.

Prices start at 1,510 USD for a one-month placement, and participants will get a private bedroom in the host family’s home, plus daily home-cooked meals.

Dolphin Conservation in Croatia

Animal Experience International has a 10-day program in which volunteers will work with researchers to help protect the native bottlenose dolphin populations along Croatia’s Adriatic coast. AEI notes that these populations have declined by has much as 50 percent in the last five decades.

The program costs 2,062 USD and includes both hands-on work and lectures from veteran researchers.

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