Volunteering is a great way to gain new competences while working for a cause that matters to you. But it's also a good way to travel the world.
- European Voluntary Service - Almost as famous as Erasmus, the European Voluntary Service is also an Erasmus+ action and will see you go up to a year abroad.
- Erasmus+ Youth Exchanges - Thousands of young people around Europe have experienced the Erasmus+ Youth Exchanges. You could even organise one.
- International Youth Networks Volunteering - Being mobile is sometimes about staying at home. Have you thought about volunteering in an international youth network?
- Eu Aid Volunteers - A new European programme that'll start in 2015: EU Aid Volunteers.
Description - European Voluntary Service (EVS) is a project of the European Commission that allows a young person to become a volunteer in another country for a specified period, normally between 2 to 12 months. The service activities can be, for example, in the field of environment, arts and culture, activities with children, young people or the elderly, heritage or sports and leisure activities. Each project has three partners, a volunteer, a sending organisation and a host organisation.
Who can apply? - Young person between 18 and 30 years old.
How long is it? - The project has to take place in a country other than where the volunteer lives. It is non-profit-making and unpaid and lasts for a limited period (from 2 to max 12 months).
- The volunteer's international travel covers reasonable travel costs from the volunteer's home to the host organisation, and the costs are paid to the sending organisation in full when the volunteer uses the cheapest available mode of transport (e.g. discount air ticket, or equivalent). A copy of the ticket(s) must be attached to the final report.
- Contribution to the sending activities (recruitment, preparation, contact, assessment, follow-up) is a lump sum payment depending on the length of the project and is determined for each country.
- Exceptional volunteer costs related to the special needs of the volunteer (medical attendance, additional preparation, etc.) are paid in full, provided they are reasonable and justifiable.
- The volunteer's allowance is fixed per host country and is paid in full to the host organisation to be given to the volunteer weekly or monthly.
Destinations - All around the world. One of the countries involved in the project must be an EU Member State or an accession country.
Whom to contact? - The first step of a prospective volunteer is to find and contact a sending organisation and together with them consult the database of approved hosts.
Benefits - All volunteers who have completed their EVS project are entitled to a certificate called a Youthpass signed by the Head of the Youth Agency. This certificate validates their period of voluntary service and provides details of the activities in which they were involved. Volunteers from the countries involved also have the possibility to benefit from the Youth initiative action, and get involved in other Community programmes in general.
Description - The EU funds youth exchanges which give young people the chance to experience another country and work together in a team. It's an opportunity to gain skills in areas such as project management and to improve your foreign language proficiency. Youth exchanges take place outside the school environment and offer a structured programme (i.e. with a mix of workshops, exercises, debates and role-play)
Who can apply? - The exchanges are open to young people aged 13-30
How long is it? - Exchanges last from 5 to 21 days.
Scholarship - Depends on the organisation who is organising the project or The National Agency. Usually, it is the reimbursement of 70-100% of travel costs.
Destinations - All around the world. Countries can be in another Member State or outside the EU.
Documents needed - None
Whom to contact? - National Agency or you can search for the possible training and activities here.
Benefits - All volunteers who have completed their EVS project are entitled to a certificate called a Youthpass signed by the Head of the Youth Agency. This certificate validates their period of voluntary service and provides details of the activities in which they were involved.
Tips - Not only you can participate in projects organised by youth organisations, but you can organise your own youth exchange with a group of friends. National Agencies in each country are in charge of helping you organise such projects.
Description - Many international youth networks are operating at the local level but are working within European or worldwide networks. The Erasmus Student Network, AIESEC, AEGEE, Youth for Understanding, the Scouts, among others, are offering a lot of opportunities to be active in your local community while travelling and exchanging with like-minded people all over the world during different projects, events and gatherings. Ideal for: long-term involvement, very short mobility while making an impact at home, making friends all over the world, developing life skills, taking responsibilities, combined with studies and work.
Who can apply? - Mainly students of Higher Education Institutions.
How long is it? - As long as you want.
Scholarship - None.
Destinations - Wherever the network you are active in has member organisations.
Documents needed - None.
Whom to contact? - If you would like to join one of the networks, check out the list of youth organisations and contact the ones that you feel represent your values and beliefs.
Benefits - New competencies and life skills; like-minded friends at home and all over the world; the opportunity to take responsibilities and develop projects in a supportive environment, an international network useful for my future prospects; the opportunity to be active in the long-term in my local community with a link to short-term mobility experiences.
Tips - Getting involved locally in international networks is one of the best ways to improve your CV during your studies in developing extremely relevant skills valued by employers. The wide range of existing organisations offers opportunities for everyone to get engaged. Just do a little research and check what would be the most interesting and suitable for you.
Description - The EU Aid Volunteers initiative offers opportunities for European volunteers to strengthen humanitarian aid operations globally, outside the EU. It also offers opportunities for capacity-building of humanitarian organisations and local communities working in disaster-affected countries outside Europe. Online volunteering assignments will also provide the opportunities for volunteers from around the world to support humanitarian action.
Who can apply? - The minimum age for volunteers is 18.
How long is it? - The length of deployment depends on the specific project the volunteer works on. This can be from 1 month to over a year.
Scholarship - The programme covers your expenses during the deployment, including travel costs, insurance, and accommodation. In addition, EU Aid volunteers will receive a monthly subsistence allowance covering everyday expenses such as food, local transport and other expenses. Rates for these will depend on the country of deployment.
Destinations - Deployment countries are to be defined for each volunteer assignment on the basis of real needs on a local level. Volunteers will be deployed in countries outside the EU where humanitarian aid operations take place. EU Aid Volunteers will not be deployed to countries or regions with international or non-international armed conflicts.
Documents needed - Varies based on the project applied for.
Whom to contact? - The vacancies will be published on this website, and you will need to apply through the sending organisation in charge of the specific project/s you are interested in.
Benefits - Adequate training is an essential part of the EU Aid Volunteers initiative. All EU Aid Volunteers will participate in a centrally organised training programme and be assessed as to their readiness for deployment. The training session will contain modules such as Introduction to the European Union, its external relations and crisis response system; Introduction to humanitarian action, the Union humanitarian aid policy and the EU Aid Volunteers; managing personal safety, health and security; Project management; inter-cultural awareness and scenario-based exercise and many other modules which will be optional.
Tips - If you want to help but you can’t leave your job or country, you can still help! The EU Aid Volunteers initiative will offer the chance to join an online volunteering platform, where volunteers will have the chance to get in touch with organisations that need support that can be offered remotely.