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How old do I have to be to volunteer abroad?
How old do I have to be to volunteer abroad?

Wondering if volunteering is just for young people? Or can you participate as a minor? We've got something for every age! 🙌

Jan Schreindorfer avatar
Written by Jan Schreindorfer
Updated over a week ago

Are you wondering what the age requirement are of a specific volunteer program? This article will answer all your questions concerning the minimum and maximum age requirements of our volunteer programs.

It’s usually the organizations on our platform that decide about the age requirement for their volunteer programs. You will find out if there’s a minimum age requirement for the program on the volunteer program's page underneath the "Program Requirements" subcategory.

Volunteer World, however, developed its own age requirements based on legal and ethical standards. Please note that volunteer programs with an educational or childcare focus have always a minimum age requirement of 18 years. No exemptions are granted in these cases.

Minimum age restrictions

We recently introduced the option to filter programs by selecting your age if you are a minor. You can do so by clicking on the blue "More filter" button in the top right corner of the program overview and moving the slider to your age (at the time of travel).

If you are under 16 years old

We offer a limited number of volunteer programs for under 16-year-olds on our platform. If you meet the program requirements, you will need the permission of your legal guardians.

Moreover, we strongly advise that the legal guardian accompanies the minor in this situation. Remember, that there may be exceptions for some programs if you are accompanied by your parent or guardian.

If you are under 18 years old

If you are under 18, and meet the program requirements, you are more than welcome to apply for volunteer programs on our platform. Please keep in mind that you will need permission from your legal guardian to volunteer abroad.

We advise the legal guardians to genuinely consider whether the minor is prepared to volunteer abroad alone and if in doubt, to accompany the minor.

There are many programs on our platform that accept minors. Some welcome volunteers with a minimum age of 16, while others primarily accept over 17-year-olds.

If you are over 18 years old

The majority of our programs have a minimum age of 18 or older. If you are at least 18 years old, you don't need permission from your legal guardian or need to be accompanied by them. Remember, to participate in education and childcare volunteer programs, you need to be at least 18 years old. Also, programs that require high physical work are only possible if you are over 18 years old.

Maximum age restrictions

Our volunteer programs do not have a maximum age limit. We only recommend working abroad if you feel physically strong and highly motivated to do volunteer work. We recently introduced the category 50+ to indicate programs that are suitable for more mature volunteers (over 50 years). You can select this category by clicking on the blue "More filter" button at the top of the program overview and tick the box "50+" in the "Suitable for" section. The project coordinator can give you detailed information about the average age of their volunteer program.

If you are volunteering with your family

Many programs are happy to welcome volunteering families. However, this raises also the question of the age requirements. When minor volunteers are accompanied by a legal guardian, the minimum age is often flexible and you often have the possibility to volunteer with your children starting at a certain age. There is a large category of volunteering opportunities suitable for volunteering families. However, please ask the project coordinator for more details on this possibility. If your children are quite young (mainly under 12 years old), you can find programs that are specifically suitable for volunteering families with young kids.

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