It goes without saying that 2020 is the year of lost travels. Not only did the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changed your day-to-day life, but it also probably spoiled all of your travel plans. After having your long-awaited holiday cancelled, self-isolating and working remotely for the better part of the year, you surely have a bad case of wanderlust. However, there is still a silver lining: by practicing social/physical distancing, consistently wearing your mask, and adhering to the strict hygiene rules, many countries will be able to open their borders and welcome volunteers again. If you’re looking for an opportunity to use your travel voucher before its expiration, look no further: we have created a list of the best places to volunteer in January 2021!
As a volunteer abroad, you will not only get the chance to explore the country’s beautiful landscapes, but you will also be of great help to the local environment, community, and wildlife. Start the new year on a high note and have a look at our carefully selected list of our best (and COVID-19 safety compliant) places to volunteer in January!
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Escape the cold in January: Volunteer in Ghana 🇬🇭
If you’re from the Northern atmosphere, Africa is the perfect destination to escape the harsh winter. During Ghana’s the dry season (November-March), the average temperature is 30°C (86°F) and there is little chance of rainfall, making the country one of the best getaways to volunteer abroad. Once you’re done with your daily volunteer tasks witness the hustle and bustle of the capital Accra or bask in the sun at one of Ghana’s secluded beaches.
To top off your volunteer adventure abroad, Ghanaians are best-known for their generosity, warmth, and kindness towards people. Experience the most hospitable country in Africa for yourself and join one of our volunteer projects in Ghana!
Healthcare Volunteer Programs
With a stable democracy and a rapidly growing economy, Ghana has been one of the most thriving countries in Africa in the past decades. However, there is still a wide gap between the rich and the poor. For example, the bad infrastructure in rural areas makes it difficult for underserved communities to access proper medical attention.
Work as a volunteer in our healthcare, midwifery, nursing, or psychology program and provide treatments to local patients while gaining valuable work experience abroad. Don’t worry about your (lack of) medical knowledge. Our different volunteer opportunities will cater to any level of experience.
There are plenty of childcare centers in Africa that are, unfortunately, severely understaffed and overcrowded. Whether in Accra, Ghana’s capital, or in remote areas, the local staff and children will warmly welcome eager volunteers. Join our volunteer program in a daycare center and provide the extra care, attention, and love to children that they deserve.
If you love sports just as much as children, then our sport teaching program would certainly be the best volunteer opportunity for you. With your coaching, children will not only excel in different sports, but they will also learn important soft skills such as teamwork and sportsmanship. What kind of sport are you passionate about? Become an inspiring volunteer abroad and share your basketball, surfing, or soccer skills with ambitious children!
Teaching Volunteer Programs
Sharing the same issue as local childcare centers, most schools in Africa are underfunded. Therefore, there are not enough teachers to provide high-quality education to their students. As a volunteer abroad in Ghana, you will assist local teachers in providing different lessons to children. Equipped with formal education, these students will be able to create a brighter future for themselves!
The Land of Smiles – Volunteer in Thailand 🇹🇭
For many globetrotters, Thailand ranks high on their travel abroad bucket list. Rightly so! With its ancient Buddha temples, picturesque beaches, rich culture, and mouth-watering food, Thailand offers a lot to see and do. There is no doubt that ticking off these countless activities is a unique experience itself.
However, we suggest combining your adventure abroad with meaningful volunteer work to make it even more memorable! Whether you’d like to teach English in busy Bangkok or help the local community in rural areas, there are a variety of volunteer projects to get involved in!
Dog Shelter Volunteer Projects
When you travel in Thailand, you will likely encounter an abundance of scruffy dogs trotting around the streets. Unwanted or neglected, these stray dogs have to fend for themselves. Since they are not cared for, they sadly are exposed to dangerous street traffic, starvation, and diseases.
If you’re a dog lover, our animal shelter projects will be the best choice for you. Volunteer abroad and clean kennels, walk the dogs, and most importantly make them feel loved again. If you’re into cats, don’t worry, there are also plenty of kittens projects that need volunteers, too!
Teaching Volunteer Programs
Hosting several millions of visitors yearly, tourism is the most thriving industry in Thailand. Therefore, many jobs can be found in this field that require at least a level of intermediate English skills. Unfortunately, schools (especially in rural neighborhoods) lack qualified English teachers and are looking for enthusiastic teaching volunteers.
Volunteer in our teaching program and support local tutors and help children boost their confidence in their English skills! Whether in a typical classroom in Bangkok or in a monastery setting, Thai students are keen to improve their skills!
Elephant Conservation Volunteering
Did you know that the elephant is Thailand’s national animal? Even though this majestic creature has a significant place in the country’s history and heritage, many elephants are being treated poorly. Unethical elephant tourism, poaching for ivory, and habitat loss have led the elephant population to decline drastically.
Fortunately, there are many ethical elephant sanctuaries located in Chiang Mai that are led by devoted Mahouts. In our projects, volunteers will work side-by-side with experienced locals and improve the well-being of several elephants! Once they are ready, experience the once-in-a-lifetime moment when releasing them back into their natural habitat.
Volunteer in Picturesque Peru 🇵🇪
Peru is truly a sight to behold: the mysterious Machu Picchu, colorful cultural treasures in the Sacred Valley, awe-inspiring Amazon rainforest, and much, much more. No wonder adventure seekers claim Peru to be one of the best destinations in South America. Once you’re finished with your volunteer duties, treat yourself to the best Peruvian cuisine, wander the historic streets of Cusco, or go beach hopping along Peru’s coast.
Teaching Volunteer Programs
In recent years, Peru’s economy has improved significantly, making it one of the fastest-growing in Latin America. Unfortunately, not everyone benefitted from the economic growth leaving one-third of the population in poverty still. Therefore, many children are forced to drop out of school early and pursue exhausting and dangerous work to financially support their family.
Support local teachers in schools and teach spirited students English, math, and sports. With your help, children will have the tools to escape the cycle of poverty and transform their lives for the better.
Childcare Volunteer Programs
Are you fond of children, but not of classrooms? There is another setting that needs your support: plenty of children in local daycares in Lima cannot wait to spend time with you! Make your volunteer adventure in Peru more worthwhile by taking care of wide-eyed children, playing games with them, and encouraging their intellectual and social development.
Amazon Conservation Volunteering
If you want to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, you do not have to travel far to visit the jungle. Explore the Peruvian Amazon rainforest (the most untouched rainforest system of them all!) through our volunteer program! Approximately, it covers 60% of Peru and is home to a huge amount of flora and fauna diversity.
From sloths, and howler monkeys, to jaguars, there is a lot for you to catch sight of in the rainforest. Support our conservation projects by helping locals protect the “Lungs of the Earth” and its diverse wildlife! Your work as a volunteer abroad will definitely have a lasting impact on generations to come!
Kenya – A Hotspot for Wildlife and Volunteer Programs 🇰🇪
Kenya is a highly popular wildlife-watching destination in East Africa. An abundance of marvelous wildlife, including the Big 5, is scattered across 50 Kenyan national parks. Besides unforgettable safari adventures, Kenya is home to jaw-dropping sceneries, 40 different unique tribal groups, and ancient archeological sites, attracting all kinds of volunteers from all over the world.
Set yourself apart from your “average tourist” and become a volunteer abroad! Not only will you explore the country and its culture, but you will also be able to give back to the community you’re visiting!
Community Volunteer Programs
Even though Kenya has experienced economic growth in recent years, the majority of its population still live in poverty and are at risk. There are many different volunteer opportunities for you to choose from to support the improvement of the Kenyan community.
Whether you like to build schools in rural areas, provide education in Nairobi, or join a women empowerment program in rescue centers, you will help locals build a better future for themselves, their families, and for the generations to come.
Elephant Conservation Volunteering
In the 1930s, there once were about 10 million wild African elephants wandering around Africa’s savannas. Unfortunately, their population has decreased tremendously. One of the reasons for the rapid decline is the illegal poaching in the past – resulting in the elephant’s “vulnerable” status according to the IUCN (approximate population today: 415,000).
However, there is still hope: according to Kenya’s Amboseli National Park, there’s currently an elephant baby boom going on in their facility. 170 calves have been born alone in 2020 so far! Despite the fantastic news, the conservation work is far from finished. Join our elephant conservation program and help locals protect these mesmerizing mammals!
Wildlife Conservation Volunteering
Listing all of the incredible animal species that live in Africa would take a while. The most famous animals that make the list are probably the Big 5 (lion, rhinoceros, elephant, leopard, buffalo). Sadly, because of illegal poaching and habitat loss due to human interference, most of these species are now considered endangered – especially in Kenya.
This is where your helping hand is needed. As a volunteer abroad, you will conduct research, educate the local community about the endangered wildlife, and monitor different animals. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime chance to work with spectacular animals in a stunning landscape!
Mexico’s Marine Life: Dive Right in! 🇲🇽
What pops into your mind when you hear “Mexico”? Probably unforgettable spring breaks in Cancún, feisty food, and incredible Mayan ruins. However, this country has a lot more to offer than what meets the eye.
Work as a volunteer in Mexico and enjoy the lively entertainment in Mexico City, take a stroll through vibrant colonial cities, and explore the endless mountains and volcanos crisscrossing through the country. See? There are a lot of extraordinary sights (and volunteer projects) waiting for you in Mexico!
Teaching Volunteer Projects
If you’re an aspiring teacher or simply love to spend time with children, then you will love our teaching projects! Unfortunately, many schools in Mexico do not include English in their curriculum. Yet, it is a crucial skill for kids to have to be eligible for a place in a university or for a secure job.
Support local teachers and volunteer in a classroom full of determined students! You will be amazed to know how fast their English skills will improve during your stay!
Marine Conservation Volunteering
There’s no doubt that Mexico offers a breathtaking landscape ranging from snow-capped mountains to palm-fringed beaches. But let’s not forget about the underwater world! Crystal blue water, white sandy beaches, and dazzling flora and fauna – ideal conditions to dive or snorkel!
As dreamy as the underwater world sounds, the reality is different. The marine ecosystem suffers from plastic pollution, coral bleaching, and overfishing. Help protect the marine environment by joining our various marine conservation projects! Your volunteer duties include conducting coral research, monitoring marine life, and cleaning up beaches. Are you ready to dive into your meaningful travel abroad?
Turtle Conservation Volunteering
For over more than 100 million years, seven different sea turtle species have been roaming through the vast oceans of the Earth. Despite their long existence, they are considered as endangered today. They are facing severe threats such as loss of habitat, pollution, poaching, and illegal pet trade.
The turtle conservation projects in Mexico need your support! Work alongside committed staff to monitor turtles, safeguard turtle nests, and a definite highlight: help baby turtles find their way back to the ocean after hatching. An extraordinary moment you do not want to miss!
There you have it! A long list of enchanting destinations combined with purposeful volunteer program to quench your wanderlust in the new year. Where would you like to volunteer in January 2021? Leave a comment below! If you have any questions regarding your upcoming volunteer adventure abroad, do not hesitate to contact us in our live chat!