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Zaytoen Domingo is a content writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa. She is currently enrolled in the Masters program in English at the University of the Western Cape. After graduating with an Honours Degree in English and Creative Writing, Zaytoen completed a skills-development program for writers and became an alum of the GVI Writing Academy.

Over 50s volunteering overseas is a unique opportunity to broaden your cultural understanding, experience adventurous destinations, and have a positive impact in the world. Here are seven of GVI’s top volunteer travel programs for adults. 

Who said you had to be fresh out of university to volunteer abroad? Mature travellers are busting this stereotype and bringing their considerable skills to bear on international volunteer programs. The option to volunteer abroad for adults is a great way to travel with purpose. You’ll be able to learn more, and have more of an impact than you would on a traditional holiday. 

Remember that age is a benefit, not a barrier. When you volunteer abroad over 50, you will bring your life experiences to your chosen project.

Volunteering opportunities for older adults

Volunteering abroad is a chance to challenge yourself — at any age. 

GVI’s volunteer programs don’t have an upper age limit, meaning you can join us in your 50s and 60s. We also have options for adults over the age of 65. 

Our international volunteer opportunities for older adults are a chance to expand your horizons and pursue your travel dreams while making a tangible impact in the world

Your contributions as a mature volunteer are particularly valuable,  as you’ll bring with you years of experience as well as passion. 

Don’t worry about not fitting in. You’ll have the chance to forge meaningful relationships with people from all around the world, of all ages. 

Whether working with children and young adults, connecting with mature community members, or sharing stories with other volunteers, you’ll instantly feel like part of our global community of like-minded and dedicated people. 

Here are some of the best volunteer abroad programs for adults. 

1) Teach English and assist with community development projects in Costa Rica

Teach is a great way of volunteering for over 50s.


The most popular volunteer ideas for adults often have a community development focus. Teaching English and working on community development projects in Costa Rica is a great opportunity for older volunteers to make an impact. 

Based in Quepos, near Manuel Antonio National Park, you can help to provide educational support to local schools or give free conversational English classes to local community members. 

While volunteering, you’ll have the chance to learn Spanish and explore Costa Rica’s Pacific coastline. 

2) Contribute to a women’s empowerment project in Laos

Volunteering opportunities for older adults on a women's empowerment program.


Women’s empowerment initiatives make great volunteer programs for adults. Through GVI’s program, you can work directly with women in Laos, supporting education and income projects.  

You can help to empower women and girls by teaching English and leading life-skills workshops. Providing better access to education means increased employment opportunities and financial independence for women in the local area. 

3) Volunteer on a public health project on the coast of South Africa

South Africa volunteering for over 50s.


Travel to Gordon’s Bay, a small coastal community near Cape Town, and assist with a project to facilitate healthy lifestyle habits

As a volunteer, you could help to guide sports lessons or after school programs. Your role will be to cultivate awareness of the health benefits of exercise and encourage a regular fitness routine. 

You could also work with younger students at a local creche, teaching good hygiene habits such as brushing teeth and washing hands. 

South Africa is an exciting destination for volunteering holidays for over 50s. In your free time, you can explore Cape Town’s iconic attractions. Take the cable car up to Table Mountain or hop on a boat to Robben Island. Or venture further afield and go on a wildlife safari in Kruger National Park. 

4) Teach English and assist with early childhood development in Cambodia

volunteer work ideas for adults in Cambodia.


Early childhood development is the perfect overseas volunteer work for over 50s. When you volunteer in early-years education in Cambodia, you can help children from the local community grow and tap into their full potential. 

Teach English, or facilitate creative games and arts and crafts, to assist with fundamental early childhood education. 

During this program, you’ll be based in Siem Reap Kampong Cham, only twenty minutes from the iconic Angkor Wat temple complex.  

5) Volunteer to improve the health and well-being of a community in Thailand

Run a public health workshop while doing overseas volunteer work for over 50s.


GVI’s global public health project in Thailand is a chance to immerse yourself in a small coastal community and have an impact on the lives of children and young adults. 

Public health volunteer work abroad for older adults typically includes activities such as carrying out nutrition and hygiene workshops, or helping to promote physical fitness in local schools.

The local region of Phang Nga is famed for its beaches and turquoise bays, so in your free time, you’ll be able to explore Thailand’s rich natural heritage. 

6) Visit South Africa and Seychelles and contribute to conservation projects

Volunteer work ideas for adults include wildlife conservation.


Travel to the tip of the African continent, and an island in the Indian ocean when you embark on this marine and wildlife conservation expedition

As well as seeing stunning locations, you’ll learn about conservation initiatives taking place to protect both marine and terrestrial environments. 

Your duties could involve learning to track animals across the South African savannah to learn more about their behaviour, or carrying out mangrove surveys on one of the Seychelles islands. As far as volunteer work ideas for adults go, this is one of the most exciting and adventurous programs. 

7) Help to establish water security in Fiji

Assist with water conservation while volunteering in Fiji.


You could play a part in making traditional coastal villages in Fiji more sustainable. Help to address issues around water scarcity, water sanitation, and hygiene

Your tasks could include installing rainwater harvesting systems, helping with waste management practices, or even building veggie gardens. You might also take part in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) awareness workshops in local schools. 

During this project, you’ll be staying metres from the beach. You’ll get to enjoy views of calm blue waters, palm trees, and dazzling sunsets. 

GVI makes volunteering overseas for over 50s possible. Explore more volunteer programs abroad for adults today. 

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