In the competitive landscape of college applications, setting your teen apart from the rest requires more than just academic achievements. Volunteering provides a unique avenue for personal growth, cultural exposure, and a chance to make a positive impact. Let’s explore the volunteer opportunities for teens in Europe & abroad, enhancing their resumes while fostering a sense of responsibility and independence.
Benefits of Volunteering
- Builds Character and Empathy
Volunteering exposes teens to diverse environments, fostering empathy and understanding of different cultures and perspectives. It helps build character by instilling values such as compassion, responsibility, and teamwork.
- Enhances Communication Skills
Engaging in volunteer activities requires effective communication, helping teens develop valuable interpersonal skills crucial for their personal and professional lives.
- Expands Horizons
Volunteering abroad broadens a teen’s horizons, offering exposure to new languages, customs, and traditions. This firsthand experience can be transformative and shape their worldview.
- Fosters Independence
Traveling and volunteering away from home encourages independence. Teens learn to navigate new situations, make decisions, and adapt to different cultures – essential skills for their future endeavors.
- Promotes a Global Perspective
Volunteer opportunities for teens abroad provide an understanding of global issues through volunteering creates informed and socially responsible individuals, contributing to a sense of global citizenship.
Volunteer opportunities for teens in Europe & Abroad
All of these teen volunteer opportunities abroad include accommodation, food, airport transfers, and supervision during the program. Most are available for teens from 15-18 years old. Some offer opportunities for college students as well as younger teens. Please always choose an experience based on your own child’s nature and personality and not just based on age. All kids mature at different rates and have different levels of social skills and independence.
Madrid, Spain – English Conversation Volunteer work for teens (No Fee)
A free experience for the native English-Speaking volunteer in Spain, with Pueblo Inglés. At Pueblo Inglés they have different volunteer programs to teach English in Europe for all ages. You can find volunteer opportunities teaching English for teenagers between 13 and 17 years old, for young people between 18 and 23 years old, and for adults for 23 and up. As a volunteer your room and board at camp is free! You only pay for your transport to/from Madrid. Also available for purchase are the arrival/departure packages (hotel or meal before/after the camp experience).
Our family has extensive experience with these programs for both teens and adults. The teen volunteer program is offered in July only and you may choose 1 or 2 week volunteer opportunities. This is a summer camp experience with English immersion for Spanish teens. All camp experiences start and end in Madrid, but the teens will bus with their group to the camp location in various parts of Spain. From the moment they arrive, the volunteer work begins. They will get to experience the Spanish culture, food, Madrid, and a small town, with the full support and guidance of the Pueblo Inglés staff.
Pueblos Inglés is set up with activities from breakfast until late in the night. Everything is supervised and organized by the various counselors, and various staff members. All you teen needs to do is speak English while participating in the activities, skits, hikes, team building exercises, meals, and free play time. Many of these activities are one-to-one, but there are plenty of group activities as well. This is a way for the Spanish teens to immerse in English! Your teen will have the experience of a lifetime and bond with Spanish teens and other English-speaking teens from around the world.
Tuscany, Italy – Archaeological Excavation Volunteering for teens (Fee)
Check with archaeological programs such as Earth Watch Institute for volunteer opportunities for teens in Europe. The goal of this expedition is simple: to help experts reconstruct the complex past of Populonia as fully as possible. Live the life of a professional archaeologist as you discover artifacts, clean them, and study them. There may also be an opportunity to try to reconstruct the fragments you’ve discovered. Connect with Italy’s ancient past.
Earthwatch expeditions offer teens a unique and enriching experience, while also helping scientists collect valuable research data. Consider gifting an Earthwatch expedition to a young person in your life who is passionate about protecting our environment. They offer a variety of teen volunteer programs and “expeditions” around the world.
Lisbon, Portugal – Environmental Scuba Diving Volunteer Project (Fee)
International Volunteers ages 10 -16 must be with parents and ages 16+ on their own. International Volunteer HQ’s Environmental Scuba Diving project is an exciting opportunity for volunteers to assist with marine conservation efforts in Portugal. Volunteers gain scuba and environmental protection experience while learning about the challenges marine ecosystems face and what can be done to help overcome them, helping ensure this unique natural environment and all its wildlife survive long into the future.
Fit and healthy volunteers who enjoy scuba diving or want to learn how. Volunteers with no diving experience must learn the basics of scuba diving and vital safety measures before engaging in any conservation activities. This can be achieved as part of the project. Activities include cleaning trash from the seafloor, learning about the marine ecosystem & protecting it, and observing, counting, or identifying fish and other marine wildlife. More teen volunteer opportunities in Portugal (forest conservation, animal care, food rescue, and more).
Kefalonia, Greece – Sea Turtle And Marine Conservation (Fee)
Experience 2 weeks contributing to the conservation of turtles with Wildlife Sense’s teen volunteer project in the historic coastal town of Kefalonia, Greece. This is just one opportunity, as GVI offers various teen volunteer-abroad choices around the world.
Romania, Miercurea Ciuc – NGO Support Volunteer Project (Fee)
International Volunteers ages 10 -16 must be with parents and ages 16+ on their own. Explore projects through International Volunteers HQ (IVHQ) NGO support in Romania. Volunteers will gain real-life experience of working with an NGO, use their existing skills, learn new ones, and support an initiative aiming to build stronger local communities and help people in need. Some skills would be marketing, fundraising, photography, administration, presentations, systems development, and more. This company also offers various animal volunteer opportunities as well as environmental.
Costa Rica, Rainforest Conservation Student volunteer opportunities (Fee)
GoEco is a leading eco-tourism company with a varied selection of affordable, ethical volunteer projects abroad. Their team is made up of experienced and passionate specialists who are eager to give you the voluntourism vacation of a lifetime! They offer a few volunteer programs around the world specifically for teens. The Rainforest conservation is just one example of a 2-week teen volunteer opportunity. This opportunity offers a focus on biodiversity, reforestation, and community involvement for ages 15 – 17 years old.
Peru, Amazon Rainforest Conservation Spring Break (Fee)
Organizations like Projects Abroad offer volunteer opportunities for teens abroad for a fee. These may range from an alternative Spring Break adventure, summer opportunities, or special high school programs. Their teen volunteer abroad programs are tailor-made for 15 to 18-year-olds.
Additional resources and volunteer abroad opportunities.
- Go Abroad offers a list of opportunities abroad for high school students through various companies to choose from.
International volunteer opportunities offer an array of benefits for teens, from personal development to global awareness. The diverse experiences presented in Europe not only contribute to resume-building but also facilitate cultural enrichment and the cultivation of crucial life skills. Whether it’s environmental conservation or community services, each experience provides a unique teen volunteer opportunity overseas, which allows teens to thrive. So, embark on this enriching journey, as the rewards of volunteering extend far beyond the college application process.
Did you know that as of 2022, approximately 55% of teenagers in the United States engage in volunteer activities, showcasing a growing trend towards social responsibility among the youth?