Have you ever wondered, what would be the best volunteer abroad options for older adults? Most of the volunteers seem to be still in their teens or twens, just leaving college and looking for an outstanding experience overseas before going to university. But, adventures and new cultural experiences are not just limited to young people! You might be astonished, how many volunteers we recently had, who are already between fifty or sixty years old.
And, as the story goes, especially older people can bring so much needed expertise and solid knowlegde to the people in developing countries! Sometimes even a mother comes with her elder son, or a whole family goes for family volunteering. Both generations join their efforts, combine adventure spirit and wisdom for a very special volunteer experience!
I have selected some outstanding examples which might inspire and encourage you for a volunteer adventure.
The new year is coming, and we thought about some suggestions for the best volunteer programs. Since we found there are some volunteer projects, which our participants enjoy a lot, we made a list of highlights. Maybe, this can inspire you for your next volunteer trip. Have fun!
Nepal has been a fascinating destination for our volunteers ever since, and there is nothing like teaching young monks at a monastery close to Kathmandu. Lammert with his own words:
Teaching English to the child/junior monks at the Monastery has been an interesting, inspiring and educational experience for me. I only hope my pupils experienced it the same way. The atmosphere in the monastery was very welcoming, peaceful and enjoyable and so were the people in it. At times, it was challenging to keep the kids in line by using only positive feedback and enthusiasm (because they see and undergo enough violence in their lives) but I think me and other volunteers have found a nice balance to make lessons entertaining, engaging as well as educational. It has been very rewarding to see how much progress they’ve made in the three weeks I got to teach them. – Lammert
Find out more about the teaching English Program in Nepal on our Homepage
Marco Fiorito took a trip to Peru, Iquitos in the Amazon, and found it one of the best volunteer programs:
Teaching has been an incredibly rewarding experience for me, as put me in direct contact with the local people, who really appreciated the time and effort I put into it and who truly believed in the benefits of the program. – Marco Fiorito
Find our page with all the Teaching English Programs
Helping local people at a clinic and caring for patients is one of the most rewarding experiences. Jason Simonides went to Brazil, and worked as a medical volunteer at a clinic in Rio. Besides his valuable experience, of course, Rio de Janeiro stands out for it’s charme. The people are very welcoming and soon you will feel at home in the Brazilian culture.
The program itself really allowed us to immerse ourselves in the culture and get a sense of the Brazilian healthcare system when we volunteered. It was a very good learning experience and a great opportunity to shadow doctors and learn some basic medical techniques, such as taking blood pressure. The doctors and nurses were all very nice and willing to work with us despite the language barrier. I was very happy with my experience with Iko Poran in Rio. – Jason Simonides
Magda Camaxide from Portugal traveled to Nepal, for a medical internship at the Kathmandu Pediatric Hospital. Her boy-friend went as well, and it was a unique trip for both of them! At the end of their journey, they visited the Annapurna region with it’s breathtaking mountains.
At the hospital I was able to exchange experiences and knowledge that was beneficial to both sides and was also extremely well integrated in the hospital routines. Thank You Manmohan Cardiothoracic Vascular and Transplant Center for this opportunity!!!
The final days in Nepal I spent trekking in the Annapurna region and was blessed with the most breathtaking mountain landscapes I have ever seen!All of these things were perfectly orchestrated with the help of Ikoporan and FDIP, and I will always be extremely grateful for that!!! Keep up the excellent work!!!!!
Elisa went to Brazil, and helped protecting the beautiful nature at the Tijuca Rainforest in Rio de Janeiro. At the same time, she worked at a community garden, where local people grow their vegetables.
So far I have had a wonderful experience volunteering in Rio de Janeiro with Iko Poran’s Urban Environmentalism program. I am half way through my two-month stay in Rio and I already know that it will be a very valuable experience for me. The project consists of work in Tijuca National Park and at a large community garden in a favela, where they grow almost every sort of common vegetable in Brazil. The people I work with in the communities are all incredibly kind and welcoming, not to mention they are doing work that makes a big difference for themselves and the environment. – Elisa
In Ecuador you can work with reforestation at the Ecuadorian Cloud Forest. With your volunteer work, you will support a community in remote village, where they grow vegetables, coffee and also plant trees in the forest. It is a unique opportunity to experience the culture of the local people and enjoy the nature.
In Africa , you can participate in our Biodiversity Project in Uganda, helping to preserve the environment of the host communities. Your volunteer work will also include alternative energies in order to create a sustainable future.
You can find all our environmental projects here.
In South Africa, we offer many different animal conservation projects. You can work with endangered wildlife in an animal sanctuary near Port Elizabeth, or save the Vervet Monkeys near Tzaneen. The African Big Five are fascinating, you can monitor the elephants, rhinos, buffalos and elephants in the African Bush. Camille from France wrote:
This summer I had an unforgettable experience in South Africa. Thank you Iko Poran for this exceptional travel! Sure, I will do it again! – Camille Claus Marietti
Gijs from Holland helped to protect the Vervet Monkeys, and enjoyed his stay a lot:
I’m having a wonderful time here and there is nothing that I don’t like. – Gijs van Suijlichem
Last, but not least, you can go for a trip to the Caribbean beaches of Costa Rica, and protect the baby sea turtles. The program starts from March this year.
I had a fantastic time in Costa Rica with the turtles and I met many people and created memories I will never forget. I definitely recommend Iko Poran and the Sea Turtle experience in Costa Rica and I cannot wait until I volunteer with them again. Pura Vida! – Paige, 19 years old
You can find an overview of our Animal Conservation Programs here.
One of the favorite projects of our volounteers is teaching children at Doreen’s Crèche close to Cape Town:
On November of 2017 I had one of the best experiences of my life doing volunteer work with children in Masiphumelele Township, South Africa. The purpose was to help, but it was much beyond that. I had a life lesson, a very great personal growth. Everyday in the morning, when we arrived at crèche (me and the other volunteers), the children were waiting for us with a smile on their faces. Receiving those smiles, hugs, and kisses every morning was the best way to start the day. Playing, teaching a few words in English, helping in the distribution of snacks, it was a better way to brighten their lives because they need more love, affection and care. They need us!
I am very thankful to Iko Poran for the whole experience. They were always there from airport pick-up to accommodation, showing me the way and placing me at the project. It was unique experience without a doubt! My thanks to everybody who is part of this organization that has been helping all who need it. – Mariane
You can find all our childcare volunteer programs here.