5 Great Alternatives to the Peace Corps
Unfortunately for some, joining the Peace Corps requires a 27-month commitment (3 months of in-country training and 24 months of volunteer service overseas), so for those without the next 2+ years of their calendar free, joining the Peace Corps is not an option.
For those still wanting to volunteer, however, there are some great alternatives to the Peace Corps (that don’t require such a long commitment):
The AmeriCorps service (also known as the ‘domestic Peace Corps’) offers a wide variety of different projects to individuals, all of which last between 10 months and 1 year.
The AmeriCorps was essentially designed for those who want to do Peace Corps-style projects within the United States.
As with the Peace Corps, when you volunteer with the AmeriCorps you’ll receive a modest living allowance and (depending on the project) you may also be entitled to some free housing.
Participants will also receive training, health cover and (at the end of their assignment) $4,725 that can be put towards either college/graduate school costs or paying off a student loan.
Although some of the projects offered are part-time, the majority of them require a full-time commitment.
It should be noted that you must be a U.S. citizen to join the AmeriCorps.
2. United Planet
One of the major advantages of choosing United Planet is that they provide excellent support for their volunteers (whether it’s pre, during or post trip).
On the downside, short-term volunteer programs (lasting between 1 to 12 weeks) will cost you at least $945, whereas volunteering on their long-term programs (which last between 6 to 12 months) will cost you at least $5465.
That being said, the fact that you’re paying so much means that the quality of the programs are extremely high, and that all of your training (e.g. learning a new language), accommodation, support and admin costs are included in the price.
Although they do excellently lay out the reasons why you should pay to volunteer, depending on where your program is you might also have to pay for your flight, meaning the whole experience can be pretty expensive.
No doubt, one of the best websites for finding volunteer programs is Go Abroad.
Whether you want to study, teach, volunteer or take an internship abroad, they have it all.
Their excellent search feature enables you to select which country you want to volunteer in, what kind of work you want to do (of which there’s over 100 options) and how long you want to volunteer for (as projects range from 1 week to 2+ years).
Once you’ve decided what, where and how long you want to volunteer for, you’ll be presented with a list of volunteer programs from several different volunteer websites.
Essentially, Go Abroad is like a ‘volunteer program search engine’ that takes in a list of different programs from all over the place and organizes them so that they can be easily searched.
The potential downsides of these volunteer programs, however, is that some of them don’t give you very much training for the role you’ll be taking, and some may also expect you to pay for your accommodation and transport costs, meaning they’re not cheap.
Greenheart Travel is (according to their website) the “leading eco-conscious cultural exchange organization”, who offer you the opportunity to volunteer, work and teaching abroad on one of their programs in over 30 countries (including Argentina, Chile, Thailand, Vietnam, China, India, Italy and Nepal).
They also have several teen summer programs (lasting up to 4 weeks) and programs that allow students to study in a high-school abroad.
Their mission is to provide “cultural immersion programs that change lives, advance careers and create leaders.”
They have an easy-to-navigate site, which clearly lays out how much each of their programs costs.
Their volunteer abroad programs are perhaps the most attractive, as there’s so many on offer and because they’re reasonably priced (6 weeks volunteering in Nepal for $1,280?)
Amizade Global Service-Learning
Their programs can be as short as 14 days, or as long as 6 months. One of the great things about their programs (apart from the fact that they require no previous experience or specialist skills) is that your time volunteering can earn you university credits, meaning you can volunteer during a semester and not fall behind.
Their mission is (among other things) to “Encourage making a difference through community-driven service.”
Their programs cover 9 countries (across 4 continents), and include constructing libraries in Ghana, teaching English in schools in Mexico, Building community centers and teaching art in Brazil and mentoring youths in Northern Ireland.
- 9 Questions You Should Ask Yourself Before Joining the Peace Corps
- The Best Volunteer Abroad Programs for Travelers on a Budget
- How to Find the Right Teacher Exchange Program
- Why Should You Pay to Volunteer Abroad?
- 6 Great Gap Year Ideas
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