What to expect from the best high school volunteer abroad programs

    Article by Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo

    Posted: March 23, 2020

    GVI’s best high school volunteer abroad programs are your ticket to a summer of adventure. Here’s what you can expect from teen volunteer programs. 

    High school summer breaks are a great time to try new things – including volunteering. 

    Volunteering in high school might seem daunting. You need to decide where to go, plan your trip, and carry out your volunteering tasks once you arrive. However, with the right support and comprehensive training, you’ll find making a positive impact is simple. 

    It also helps to know exactly what to expect from GVI’s volunteer trips for teens. 

    Why you should consider summer volunteering


    Teen volunteering could be your first chance to travel overseas and push the boundaries of your comfort zone. You can practise your independence by choosing from various teen volunteer abroad projects. And there are even opportunities to volunteer in a group with your school. 

    GVI’s volunteer abroad programs for high school students give teenagers aged 15 to 17 the chance to discover meaningful volunteer work. 

    All volunteer activities are aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs). They also include cultural and language immersion, relevant skills training, and an exciting list of adventure activities. 

    In a nutshell, this means that as well as being fun, volunteer opportunities for teens provide a head start on a successful career

    You can make your college application stand out with this real-world experience. 

    And a summer volunteer program could narrow your focus for your career, and make it easier for you to find a college major that suits you. Plus, you’ll start building your resume, and network with experienced professionals and other like-minded students

    On a personal level, you’ll gain a more developed worldview, with a greater understanding of different cultures, and a better grasp of ethical and sustainable practices.

    Where can high school students volunteer?


    Deciding where to volunteer in the summer can be the hardest part, given the number of exciting international destinations to choose from. Teen volunteer opportunities could take you to Africa, Latin America, Europe, or Asia

    Whether it’s exploring the Pacific Ocean in Fiji, trekking to Machu Picchu in Peru, or learning about historical events in Greece, you’ll have the opportunity to visit some of the top travel destinations in the world. 

    Get off the beaten track and experience cultural immersion – experiencing and learning about other cultures in an ethical way – in Nepal, Laos, or Cambodia. Or, take in the colours, sights, and sounds, in African cities such as Cape Town, South Africa, or Accra, Ghana

    No matter which destination you choose, you can rest assured that you will be in a secure environment. 

    GVI’s project locations are carefully chosen to ensure local needs are being met while providing a safe experience for international volunteers. 

    And, we take safety seriously. So we carry out in-depth risk audits, monitor local government updates, and have thorough reporting procedures to make sure that we have the highest safety standards in each project location.

    What kind of support is available for teens?


    We provide 360-degree support as one of the key pillars of GVI’s summer volunteer programs for high school students abroad. 

    This means you’ll have dedicated and passionate staff available to support you from the moment you first start planning your trip, through to your arrival at your destination, during your stay, and even once you return home again. So your parents can rest assured that you’ll be in safe hands! 

    During your program, a set staff to participant ratio ensures that you will be well cared for. The minimum ratio is one field staff member for every six participants, although for teens the ratio is often as high as one staff member to three participants. 

    Comprehensive health and safety guidelines, and a 24-hour emergency phone line for parents to call, also ensures top-quality support and peace of mind. 

    The best summer volunteer programs for teens: What you’ll learn


    Along with making an impact, career development is a core element of GVI’s volunteer programs. As a high school volunteer abroad, you’ll be able to start creating and working towards career goals, guided by expert advice and education. 

    The best volunteer programs for high school students include training before the start of a project. You might learn how to scuba dive and gain your PADI Open Water Diver certification in Mexico. Or, you could earn your GVI ILM Young Leaders award, a qualification recognised by the Institute of Leadership & Management (ILM). This will equip you with leadership skills for the future. 

    The type of program you choose will also influence your learning. Your project could steer you into a marine biology major at university, or inspire you to pursue a career in education or healthcare. 

    For example, teen volunteer programs often focus on community development. On a community development program, you could assist with language exchange classes, or even get involved in basic hygiene workshops. 



    And in addition to the practical skills you’ll learn, these tasks can help you develop communication, teamwork, and organisational skills that are desirable additions to any CV. 

    On a broader scale, you’ll learn about global development issues faced by people in other countries. You’ll also see how you can contribute towards making a positive impact. 

    This can leave you inspired to work toward both personal and global goals in your everyday life. 

    Once you return home, you can become an ambassador for sustainable development. This means sharing your new-found knowledge with others, and perhaps inspiring them to contribute towards making a positive impact too. 

    Start planning your summer of volunteering and adventure. Browse GVI’s high school summer volunteer programs today. 

    By Zaytoen Domingo

    Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.