Volunteering Opportunities on IES Abroad Programs

This person does not have a headshot photo
Ashley Houston
March 23, 2016

With spring break quickly approaching, we have heard students talking about alternative spring break trips that include volunteer work. That got us to thinking about all the incredible volunteering opportunities available on our study abroad programs!

Here are a few of our favorites from the last year:


Our Granada Center offers a vast variety of opportunities for students to volunteer—from a one-time commitment to a more structured long-term placement. Highlights from our Granada student volunteers in 2015:


  • Fundraising—students raised money for the Solidarity Run and all of it was donated to buy school materials and create grants for children attending the Ave Maria school.
  • Health & Hygiene—students volunteered at a kindergarten in Barriada de la Paz. They helped feed and take care of children from families who have little economic resources.
  • Educational Programming—once a month students volunteered with the Ciudad de los Niños school to prepare morning activities for students that are in a low social class.
  • Teaching English—students visited schools in the heart of the city to teach English and support bilingualism.
  • Fitness Education—students volunteered at schools to help students improve their physical skills through games and activities in English.
  • Hospital Work—students spent time playing games and helping students at the hospital with their homework.
  • Environmental Work—students worked with a local organization to plant trees.
  • Food Bank—students created a food collection campaign and gathered resources for a food bank.
  • Refugee Support—students worked with Granada Acoge to help children and teenagers from immigrant families with their homework and social skills.
  • Human Rights—students volunteered with APDHA (Asociación Pro Derechos Humanos De Andalucía).
  • Arts—students volunteered at the Museum San Juan de Dios – Casa de los Pisa, which houses one of the most valuable collections in Granada.



Our Center in Beijing ran a new volunteer project in Fall 2015 called “The Dreams of Young Scientists” to further engage with the community. Students divided in groups and rotated going to a local Haidian District community to teach Chinese kids how to do a scientific experiment.

Students from the Fluency Through Film course in Beijing made a documentary about the volunteer project. The project went so well that the Haidian government paid for a copy of the documentary. Watch it below:


  • Hospital work—students on the Language & Area Studies program volunteered with the elderly.
  • Teaching—students volunteered in kindergarten classes.
  • Farming—students on the Environmental Studies & Sustainability program spent a day volunteering on the farm. Watch this student video about the experience:

Other Centers with one-of-a-kind volunteer opportunities include:

Cape Town

  • Tutoring—students volunteered at two local high schools through a program called Ubunye, where they mentored and tutored on different subjects.
  • Teaching—students volunteered through Africa Jam to teach poetry to elementary school students.
  • Fundraising—students raised money to buy rain boots, clothing, and blankets to give out at The Egoli Informal Settlement. They also prepared and handed out food on Mandela Day.


  • Teaching—students volunteered at a high school in an underprivileged suburb of Istanbul.
  • Health—students assisted at a center for physically challenged people.
  • Research—students volunteered with an association that conducts research on the Middle East and Africa.


  • Cooking—students made breakfast for the homeless and a special Ramadan dinner.
  • Hospital work—students delivered gifts and spent time playing with sick children at a local hospital.
  • Environment—students participated in a beach clean-up with local university students.

What volunteer work will you pursue when you study abroad? Apply for a program now!

This person does not have a headshot photo

Ashley Houston

IES Abroad News

Read More

IES Abroad regularly publishes news stories, articles, student stories, and other helpful study abroad content. Stay up to date on the latest from IES Abroad by reading our recent posts.

View All IES Abroad News