Many organizations charge you to volunteer. While not a definitely alarm, this is a flag that requires additional research to make sure you are not paying to do something that is unethical, unnecessary, and/or that erodes local jobs. Experteering trips tend to average about $1,750 person, whereas service learning and "voluntourism" programs tend to be over $3,500. The typical costs of an international volunteer project are:
Airfare ($0 - $2,000 / trip)
For almost all international projects, the volunteer covers their own travel. Some projects through MovingWorlds, CUSO International, VSO, and Peace Corps will cover this, but primarily for longer-term projects of at least 2 months.
Room & Board ($0 - $200 / day)
Often times, volunteers will be asked to help cover their costs. This can range widely depending on your standards and the organization's ability. On MovingWorlds, almost all projects include a free place to live.
Program Management ($0 - $150 / day)
For most skills-based volunteering projects you will not see a program management fee. Program management fees are, however, common for service learning trips and manual volunteer projects.
Application & Matching ($0 - $2,000+)
Finding a good project that aligns with your skills and is with an ethical organization takes work. A variety of organizations, like MovingWorlds, do this vetting for you.
Visa ($0 - $500+)
This depends on where you are, and where you’re going. Most organizations won’t help you find a visa, so you’ll have to arrange this yourself. Services like VisaHQ can help.
Health & Insurance ($50 - $500+)
Squaremouth can you find the right policy, and it really depends on length of your trip.
Gear ($0 - $500)
First, don’t buy what you don’t need. But as you prepare your budget, it’s helps to look at if you have the right clothes and electronics for the location you’re going to.
Total ($0 - 5,850+)
This can vary based on where you are from and where you are going, but this range will help you get a better idea of your costs.
Here are tips to offset the cost of your international volunteer project.