Written by The Leap on 09 / 11 / 2017
Gap Year Advice
Volunteering Hotspots for 2018
Yes it's that time of year again when we need to look at your plans for 2018 and see what's hot on the gap year volunteering circuit. What's going on and what's buzzing. Who's going where...
Ever helpful, (you know us) we have compiled a list of the top destinations to start the ball rolling, which for next year span Africa, Asia and South America. Yes, we can safely say Africa is back in vogue, so dust down your khaki's!
Just remember when you are googling 'volunteering abroad' or 'volunteering work abroad' - it's about finding the right balance of projects, adventure and a team dynamic that suits you...and you only. This is your experience - so own it!
Country Snapshot: “There's a magic about this charming yet confounding kingdom that casts a spell on visitors” Lonely Planet Cambodia is a country of remarkable beauty and culture. Its ancient history still holds an important place in contemporary Cambodia, made even more visible through the striking architecture of temples such as Ankor Wat
With an economy dominated by wet rice agriculture, get ready to experience some delicious street food.
Best for Volunteering in: Community and conservation
This program is perfect for those wishing to do a bit of everything. You’ll get the chance to work with children, development, agriculture and elephants across cities, beaches and jungle. Starting off in the buzzing Siem Reap where you build freshwater wells in local padi villages and you'll teach in the Samrong Village. Then you’ll move on to a week on the tropical beaches of Sihanoukville - teaching street children before heading into the deep jungle to help at the Mondulkiri elephant sanctuary. Come on, what's not to like.
Country Snapshot: “It’s difficult to think of an iconic African landscape that Namibia doesn’t possess” The Lonely Planet. From cool coastal views to plunging sand dunes, Namibia is home to some of the most breath-taking views around. Because of its diverse landscape, it’s also, without a doubt, one of the best places to see African wildlife.
Best for volunteering in: Wildlife conservation
Travel to the Oana Conservancy where people devoted to conservation and community projects will meet you. You’ll take part in land and wildlife studies and learn all about conservancy management. You’ll also have the incredible chance to work close to animals - searching for cheetah and the herds of antelope. Added bonuses include white water rafting, mountain biking and safaris... If you’re set on being an African wildlife volunteer, then this is it.
Country Snapshot: With such a diverse landscape, Costa Rica offers the perfect place for an adventure. From surfing on idyllic beaches to slipping deep into the tropical jungle, everything about this country draws you in.
Best for volunteering in: Wildlife conservation and environmental conservation
With our program, you get the chance to dive right into the heart of this extraordinary country. The first five weeks are spent beachside in our ‘jungle surf camp’ on the Nicoya Peninsula. Here you take part in a series of environmental projects whilst brushing up on your Spanish and surfing skills on one of the top 10 surf destinations in the world...yes, please!
This is followed by three weeks working in turtle conservation. Here you are in charge of protecting eggs from predators and helping the tiny hatchlings reach the ocean. Get a dose of adrenaline (or many for that matter), spending the next week zipping and hiking across the Monteverde Cloud Forest. Your final week will be spent back in Santa Teresa wrapping up any unfinished projects and getting a chance to explore this beautiful area.
Country Snapshot: Ecuador may be small but is most certainly mighty. From iguana spotting in the Galapagos to exploring the backstreets of Quito, Ecuador should be at the top of your bucket list.
Best for volunteering in: Environmental conservation and community building.
With a plethora of indigenous communities and multiple ecosystems, you’ll really get a taste of it all. Head up to Otalavo to join the rural Agato community to immerse yourself in community living, helping out wherever needed whether it’s teaching at the local school or improving the village infrastructure.
After this get ready for a week jam-packed with adventure and adrenaline at Ruta de Los Volcanes. You can take part in activities such as white water rafting, kayaking on volcanic crater lakes. As well as relaxing in thermal bathtubs...you get the picture... Next is a trip into the steamy jungle to meet the last remaining indigenous Tsachila tribes. For the Grand finale, you'll head over to the Galapagos to teach children and participate in environmental conservation.
Whether you’re set on immersing yourself in a rural community for 6 weeks or taking the lighter volunteer holiday approach, there’s a country and a program for you. For more information on volunteering abroad, or volunteering holidays then nip over to another blog called 'Let's talk about Volunteering
If stuck - panic not, just get in touch. Here to help.
on 09 / 11 / 2017