International Volunteer Vacations for seniors are not a new concept. The idea of combining travel with volunteerism has been around for decades but only in the last ten years has the movement taken off on a large scale. There are many smart, vital and active seniors wanting to see the world and do something beneficial for others, especially for those in developing countries.
Volunteering can be incredibly beneficial to those helping and those receiving the help. Volunteering can improve self-esteem, confidence, expose the person to new cultures and foster new relationships, to name a few. Many seniors enjoy international volunteer vacations because they are able to participate in a cause that already interests them, practice a second language, put in place valuable skills and knowledge (i.e. engineering, farming, health care) and truly emerge in a particular culture for a lot less than a traditional travel vacation.
Communities all over the world benefit tremendously from the contributions of senior volunteers. These volunteers often have less time restrictions, have a wealth of knowledge and skills, are armed with patience, are well-educated, motivated and know the meaning of hard work! Some adults over 55 volunteer-vacation on their own, but others choose to do so in groups for the companionship, safety, and organization of group travel.
International volunteer vacations are a good value because they are priced to reflect lodging and meals at a lower standard than traditional vacations. Accommodations range from dormitory-style or shared accommodation with shared bathrooms, quartering in locals’ homes, camping to comfortable single rooms with their own bathroom. Meals also run the gamut from cafeteria- or family-style food preparation to preparing your own meals.
It is important for seniors to match their interests and physical abilities with the appropriate volunteer vacation. Adults over 55 may have health concerns and needs that may or may not be able to be addressed in case of emergency in a remote village. Thus, it is extremely important to research access and quality of health care as well as health insurance availability.
Below, we highlight three unique volunteer organizations you may want to consider:
Volunteer abroad as a family, group, individual or couple. Your unique skills, guided by our respected philosophy of service, are valuable resources on life-giving community projects. We prepare you to serve. Our community partners welcome you as family. You experience daily life as local people live it. And, you return home with deep, informed insights on your place in the world. We have programs in: China | Cook Islands | Costa Rica | Cuba | Ecuador | Greece | India | Italy | Mexico | Peru | Poland | Portugal | Romania | St. Lucia | Tanzania | USA | Vietnam. In over three decades, we’ve taught English to entire villages, built schools and water systems where there were none, cared for children who had nowhere else to turn, supplied pregnant and new mothers with gardens and guidance for feeding their families, and much more. Most important, we’ve proven that these people-to-people initiatives can be successful where simply writing a check fails.
WWOOF is a worldwide movement linking volunteers with organic farmers and growers to promote cultural and educational experiences based on trust and non-monetary exchanges thereby helping to build a sustainable global community. WWOOF is an exchange. In return for volunteer help, WWOOF host farms offer food, accommodation and opportunities to learn about organic farming and lifestyles. As a WWOOFer (volunteer) you may be asked to help with a variety of tasks like sowing seed, making compost, gardening, planting, cutting wood, weeding, harvesting, packing, milking, feeding, fencing, making mud-bricks, wine making, cheese making and bread making. There are WWOOF organizations in many countries including: Cameroon, Nigeria, Tanzania, Belize, Mexico, Costa Rica, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Canada, Argentina, Romania and many more.
Cross Cultural Solutions mission is to operate volunteer programs around the world in partnership with sustainable community initiatives, bringing people together to work side-by-side while sharing perspectives and fostering cultural understanding. We are an international nonprofit organization with no political or religious affiliations. Cross Cultural Solutions has programs in Thailand, India, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Tanzania, Morocco, Ghana, Peru, Brazil and more. The most impactful approach to volunteering abroad – the only approach – is one designed by the community. With CCS, you’ll do meaningful work that addresses a specific community need. As you immerse yourself in the community – your new neighborhood – and work alongside local people to make a real impact, you’ll find beauty in every connection and commonality discovered, large or small. The CCS international volunteer experience offers you a genuine volunteer experience with countless opportunities to connect with, and learn from, local people in those communities in which you’ll work to support.
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