The Right Way to Volunteer with Animals Abroad

Volunteering with animals abroad is a unique experience to try during your gap year or when you want to volunteer overseas. Most volunteers spend their time volunteering as a teacher or health care professional; hence, it is a good option for those who want to try something new on their next volunteer trip. It also changes your perspective about protecting wildlife, especially in communities wherein the wildlife is in danger.

To help you prepare before you join volunteering programs with animals abroad, here are some things to keep in mind.

How Much Time Do You Have?

There are several programs for volunteering with animals abroad. It depends on how much time you wish to dedicate to the program. Some programs require you to volunteer your time for a few days to one week. Meanwhile, there are also programs that can last for several weeks (i.e. minimum of four weeks) as you will be handling various wildlife sanctuaries at a time.

Type of Wildlife

What type of animals do you love (or are comfortable with) volunteering for? You will be amazed at how many animal options there are for volunteers. Some programs will have you work with a specific type of animals while there are also those that require you to work with a variety of wildlife. If you have a specific fascination for or interest for an animal, you might find yourself more dedicated to a particular volunteer program. There are also certain wildlife volunteerism programs associated with a certain location. Hence, you might want to look into the location where you plan on volunteering with animals abroad with a specific type of wildlife.


The importance of the volunteer work being done and the comforts associated with it can impact the cost of joining the program. There are some that require volunteers to care for the animals. Meanwhile, there are also programs dedicated to conservation studies. The latter are more intensive in nature; therefore, they can also come with a hefty price tag. Choose a program based on your interest towards the goals of the program while also taking the cost into account.

Comfort Features

Volunteer programs come in all sizes and shapes. Some will require you to enjoy the rustic experience of working with the wildlife, while there are some that provide a few comforts to provide a semblance of home. You have to look into the accommodation provided as part of the volunteer program before you sign up. When you plan on volunteering with animals abroad, you can expect to encounter difficult work and situations for every day you spend volunteering. Therefore, enjoying some comfort can provide you with relief. The amount of comfort you can get in your accommodation will impact the cost; hence, you have to learn to strike a balance between the two.

If you take the time to choose which program to join in, you can have a more meaningful stint as a volunteer. Volunteering with animals abroad with IVI can be the most rewarding experience you can have, especially if you are an animal lover.

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Why Orphanage Volunteering Should Be Approached Differently

If you have been on numerous volunteer trips abroad, you might have experienced and been exposed to a wide range of cultures. This will open your eyes to those differences and make you appreciate or respect those differences more. But if you want to take on a new kind of volunteer experience, you need to be extra cautious when you choose to enter orphanage volunteering. No matter how experienced you are as a volunteer, there are things that should be approached at differently. In fact, there have been a lot of ethical questions raised about this type of volunteering program. orphanage volunteering To help you deliver a more effective volunteer work in an orphanage, there are a few things you need to know. The more you know going in, the more you should be effective with your volunteering stint. You Must Be Extra Sensitive You need to have a high level of empathy if you want to become successful with orphanage volunteering. You will be dealing with children that are not only from a different culture but also from various backgrounds. Some of these children might even require special care because of physical and health conditions. However, these children also require every help they can get since most of them come from poor families that are unable to supply their basic needs, such as food and clothing. Your ability to become empathic to their needs will help you identify issues that need to be addressed. Furthermore, it will fuel your commitment to deliver more volunteer work in an overseas orphanage knowing that if you don’t, they will be faced with poverty. Choose a Sustainable Program One of the biggest issues faced by volunteers with an orphanage volunteering program is the lack of sustainability. This is also where volunteers receive the most backlash since this type of volunteering effort is often linked with voluntourism. To prevent this kind of backlash, it is important to build a sustainable program that will provide the children long-term benefits rather than immediate ones. For example, focus on teaching children how to read or write and develop skills they can use to find work or build a sustainable livelihood later on. It is not enough that you are providing them with food to eat at the moment. With the latter approach, you are only teaching them to become more independent to volunteer work. But maintaining a volunteer program requires a lot of money and volunteers to get done; hence, the sooner you can teach kids to become independent and skilled, the more effective the program will become. It is Unpredictable Children will always be unpredictable. It depends on what specific age group you are working with; however, there is simply no way to prepare when you are planning to do volunteer work for an orphanage. You have to throw everything that you anticipated from your previous volunteer stints out the door. In some cases, it is better to come in with an open mind. This will allow you to become more empathic to their needs and respond to issues that matter in their lives. For more detailed information check out