Volunteer Opportunities - Global

Volunteering is a frequently overlooked alternative to learning and working abroad. However, the merits of volunteering make it an inexpensive way to obtain college credits or get international work experience. Volunteering can also be essential to your future career prospects especially if you are interested in working in the nonprofit sector. Either way, volunteering can provide you with résumé-building experience that reflects your unique strengths and new global skills. Wondering how volunteering can benefit you?

Learn from the source

Learn firsthand about a community, its culture, the people, and the issues they face. In many cases you will be living among the locals. Many volunteer programs involve living in remote and unique places that you might not ordinarily visit or have access to as a tourist. It is common for volunteers to live in the community in which they are working. There is no better way to get a sense of a place than by spending some time there and living within its normal conventions.

Promote a cause

Whether you raise money for your trip or pay your own expenses, you know your contributions are being used to further the cause—not to make a profit. The goals of most volunteer programs reflect an organization’s overall mission, which could be peace, cooperation, international understanding, justice, tolerance, or just generally making the world a better place.

Apply your skills

As a volunteer you will use your special skills and knowledge in an unconventional setting. If you come from an engineering background, you might help design and construct a local bridge. If you have business skills, you could help local women set up a business to sell their handicrafts. If you studied medicine, you may work and train other health-care workers. Some volunteer expeditions, internships, and research programs may involve learning new skills, such as scuba diving, foreign languages, or methods of restoration. Generally there are no prerequisites for volunteering. The exceptions would be business and health-care volunteer programs, where a graduate degree and previous experience may be required. Many of the programs do not require proficiency in a foreign language. However, if you speak another language or have other knowledge you would like to use, such as a diving certification or photography experience, ask the organization how your skills can best be integrated. Most programs supply background information and training for each project.

Participate in a cross-cultural exchange of ideas

During your volunteer experience you will undoubtedly come into contact and exchange ideas with your group and the local people. Although group sizes vary, group interaction is an essential element of any program, and one that will aid in your personal growth and development. The group could consist of volunteers from other countries as well as local organizers, thus creating an environment for enriching cross-cultural exchanges.

Earn college credit

Depending on the duration and the nature of the volunteer program, you may be able to arrange college credit for your participation. For more information contact the UAA Office of International Affairs.

-     Adapted from “Volunteering Abroad: Lending a Hand While Learning”, By Elizabeth Kruempelmann http://old.goinglobal.com/hot_topics/kruempelmann_volunteer.asp

As with any other opportunity, always research the program thoroughly to avoid scams or misrepresentation. Here are some organizations and agencies that list opportunities, however, it is not a comprehensive list. These organizations span the globe and most have a formal application process, so review their requirements accordingly.

   Click this link for a file of Global Volunteer opportunities!


The Career Services Center of the University of Alaska Anchorage in its provision of services to students, alumni, and off-campus employers makes no representations or guarantees regarding the opportunities listed on its website and is not responsible for the wages, safety, working conditions, or other aspects of off-campus employment. It is the responsibility of the students and alumni to take the necessary precautions when researching, interviewing for and accepting full-time or part-time employment and participating in volunteer activities. The links to websites provided are maintained by third parties, over which the UAA Career Services Center has no control. The Board of Regents of the University of Alaska and the UAA Career Services Center are not responsible or liable for the content, products, services, or other materials on or made available through the web links to other websites. The opinions and views associated with the web sites are not necessarily those of the UA Board of Regents or the UAA Career Services Center. The UA Board of Regents and the UAA Career Services Center shall not be responsible or liable, directly or indirectly, for any direct or indirect damage or loss caused by or in connection with use of or reliance on any such content, products, or services available on or through such sites.
For additional information about the UAA Career Services Center limited liability, please see the Career Services Center Disclaimer.
Please forward any concerns regarding links and/or disabled links to: uaa_career@uaa.alaska.edu