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All About International Student Volunteer Programs

We associate volunteering with any altruistic activity which is done by will and without expectation of any material gains. While, this activity holds its genesis in the times of war, civil unrest, natural calamites, it has grown to be a highly specialized form of activity wherein there are numerous organizations doing some stellar work in supporting causes, communities and the natural habitat. Today, there are many individuals who wish to give back to the society in any which way they can, giving time, their expertise or skills, financial support etc. There are various types of voluntary work with both, organizational involvement as well as individual contributions. There are national and international level organizations that work as a united entity to address multiple causes and initiatives.

The United Nations has declared December 5 as the International Volunteer Day worldwide since 1985. This day is celebrated by leading volunteer organizations across the globe. The spirit behind commemorating this day lies in the approach of partnership and development as one citizen to address various issues affecting our global society. UN extends its support to organizations working at the grass root levels. This day gives all individuals and organizations, an opportunity to partner government agencies, non-profit organizations, the community at large, educational institutions etc.

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Role of Students In Volunteering

Youth plays a leading role in supporting, working with various agencies and devoting their time to their pet causes across the world. Almost all leading educational institutions encourage their students to extend their lives and embrace volunteering as a key activity during their life as students. There are special programs and committees that create the roadmap for students to follow and give them additional time off if they are attached to a voluntary activity. One of the key objectives of including students in voluntary programs is towards fostering a culture of conscious citizens, who are humanistic and will grow to be responsible adults of tomorrow. The following are some prominent international students’ volunteer program.

ISV Volunteer Programs

The ISV is a leading student volunteer organization focused on conservation, sustainable development and community support at grass roots. All their programs are combined with high action adventure and travel. One can opt to volunteer with children or with animals, endangered community areas etc. It has operations across 6 continents, giving students a wide area to pick and choose from geographically.

The programs have 4-week, 2 week, high school trip and customized group programs to choose from. All their programs offer hand on opportunity to work with communities or animals, giving student’s exposure in far-flung places like Costa Rica, Vietnam, Australia, South Africa, The Dominican Republic, Thailand etc.

Go Eco

Focused on encouraging ecology conservation and animal conservation, all programs offered by Go Eco enable volunteers to understand a wide range of ecology protection initiatives through partner associations. It also facilitates people to visit Israel and spend time understating the ecology preservation programs being run on ground in this area.

Global Volunteers

This organization was established in 1984 and since inception, has been working with local bodies to deliver 12 essential services to children under categories of health, hunger and IQ. This outline has been taken from UN Agencies and serves as the starting point for all their programs. Volunteers get an opportunity to engage with the community service directly and actually work for the children. The spirit of contribution on a personal basis is highlighted and the organization has a formal agreement with the UNICEF, enjoys a Special Consultative Status with the United Nations. All the programs are focused towards addressing issues affecting childcare and development of children like poverty, hunger and lack of basic education.

Projects Abroad

Established in 1992, Projects Abroad is considered as one of the largest such organizations globally. The organization offers volunteer programs across categories like care, journalism, human rights, teaching, business, conservation etc. in places like Latin America, Asia, Africa and Eastern Europe.

Ripple Africa

Established in 2003 in UK, this organization focuses on areas like education, healthcare and environment in Malawi, Africa. The key area lies in a rural village called Mwaya in Malawi. All programs are at the grassroots level with the involvement of the people residing there. Some of the projects being run include pre-schools, primary schools, local care clinics, tree planting activities etc. Volunteers can apply for teaching jobs, conversation, etc.


Formerly known as American Field Service, the AFS-USA, offers programs for intercultural learning via international students exchange programs across more than 40 countries across the globe. Having been in this field since 65 years, the programs focus on leveraging individual skills. Volunteers are given projects revolving around helping students and enable successful learning experiences within the community.

Cross Cultural Solutions

This organization focuses on addressing key global issues and causes by the way of volunteer service to communities and contributions to local economies. All programs are designed to work with elderly, children’s education, working with people with disabilities or HIV/AIDS afflicted people.

Unibreak/Antipodeans Abroad

Based in Australia and New Zealand, this family owned company creates unique student travel experiences and has been doing so for over 20 years. All programs focus on education led work and travel. All the volunteer programs focus on grassroots projects that involves working with local people across areas like health care, conservation, education, building and renovation. The programs involve only students across different disciplines and ages.

Global Leadership Adventures

Focused on service-learning experiences for teenagers, Global Leadership Adventures (GLA) offers programs in Asia, Latin America and Africa. Volunteers visit local historic destinations, learn local customs and history and serve as volunteers in local grassroots initiatives. The objective is to enable teenagers to have life-changing experiences which will help foster a wider understanding of the global arena and make them into global citizens. The programs revolve across a diverse range from healthcare, education, ecology etc.

Volunteering Solutions

Based in India, this organization was set up in 2006 with the objective of providing safe, meaningful and high quality of volunteer programs. Programs are offered across 20 countries globally. All programs focus on individual training, experience real life issues of the place of visit and work with local NGOs at the grassroots level.

The above list offers an overview of the some of the popular student volunteer programs, there are many more that include students towards supporting local growth and development.