International Volunteer Work

Has anyone done any volunteer work overseas? It seems like a good option for newly-minted graduates looking to travel, make a contribution, and gain experience.

Back in 1995 I looked into teaching English in Mongolia as a VSO (Voluntary Service Overseas) worker but was put off by the two year requirement. One year would have been okay, but I didn’t have enough beer money to get through two. I ended up finding a private bank to sponsor my stay; I did a bit of work for them, and they got me a work permit. Quite an experience! The bank gave me a hunting knife as a parting gift! :shock: And they told me to use it on Chinese!

The Peace Corps is the American equivalent of VSO.

Amos, before you sign up, a warning; it’s “peace” not “piss.”

Almas John,

I’ve written a story about working for a Taiwanese volunteer organization in Thailand. I don’t feel it’s appropriate to post on Forumosa, but if you’d like to read it I could send it to you.

My advice would be just to pick a country, and look for volunteer organizations within that country. Volunteer for just a stipend for a few months, make a good impression, and then see if you can get on full-time. Also check the English newspapers in those countries. You would be suprised at the amount of NGO jobs that are sprouting up in the SE region. I’ve known a few people that have done that in countries such as Thailand, Laos, Cambodia etc and gained FT employment in no time. A salary with an international organization in the above-mentioned countries goes a long way. Also, if you are Taiwanese, consider joining the Overseas Volunteers. They recruit a wide range of people for different occupations.

BTW, if you are really interested, I could give you the names of some paying forums (20-30US/month) that advertise jobs throughout the world in international development. Never seen them first-hand, but friends in the sector say they are very useful indeed. The downside is, they cost money to join.


I’m not actually looking to do overseas volunteer work as my plate is full already. (I think my book projects qualify as “volunteer” work because they are certainly not financially rewarding!)
I was just curious if any posters had worked as volunteers, and wanted to let others know that it is an option. If I weren’t so busy (and a few years younger) I would like to go and work in Bhutan for a couple of years.

I have looked into this quite a bit, and there are many organizations. The one that I remember really rocking my boat was one called Volunteers for Peace. Many reasons; cost, flexibility and referrals being at the top of the list. I found a lot of volunteer orgs charge a lot of money for their programs. I am not saying there isnt a reason for this, but I just cant afford to pay for these programs, pay my bills AND leave my jobs for months on end.

Anyway, I could go on and on, but here is their site, check them out:

Good luck!