• Travel
  • Volunteer and Adventure
  • Volunteering

How to plan for year-long volunteer programs

Article by GVI


Posted: February 10, 2023

Year-long volunteer programs offer a unique and life-changing experience that can be truly transformative. You could spend twelve months living and working alongside local communities, contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Consider the benefits of volunteering for a year

But why should you consider a year-long volunteer program? Let’s take a closer look at the benefits.

Personal growth and development

Volunteering abroad can be a challenge, but it can also be incredibly rewarding. One of the biggest benefits of a year-long program is the opportunity for personal growth and development. By living and working in a foreign country, you’ll have the chance to learn new skills, immerse yourself in new cultures, and gain a deeper understanding of the world around you. You’ll also have the opportunity to cross-cultural exchange with local communities and make lifelong connections.

Career advancement

A year-long volunteer program can also help you advance your career. Not only will you gain valuable work experience in your chosen field, but you’ll also have the opportunity to network with like-minded professionals from around the world. When you return home, you’ll be able to demonstrate your dedication, cross-cultural competency, and a commitment to making a difference, all of which are highly valued by employers.

Have a lasting impact

One of the most significant benefits of a year-long volunteer program is the opportunity to make a lasting impact. By living and working in a foreign country, you’ll have the chance to contribute to meaningful causes and build relationships with local communities. Whether you’re working on a wildlife conservation project, community development initiatives, teaching, or healthcare, your work will have a direct impact on the lives of the people you serve.

The next step: Choosing the right program

When it comes to choosing a year-long volunteer program, there are several factors to consider. The first step is to identify your personal goals and interests. What do you hope to achieve through this experience? What are you passionate about? Once you have a clear understanding of what you’re looking for, you can then evaluate program alignment with your career aspirations. 

Program focus

Consider the type of work you want to do, and choose a program that aligns with your interests and skills. For example, if you’re passionate about wildlife conservation, a wildlife conservation program may be a good fit for you. Similarly, if you’re interested in teaching, a teaching program could be an excellent choice.


Think about the location of the program, and what kind of cultural experience you’re looking for. Are you interested in working in a bustling city, or do you prefer a more rural setting? Consider the local culture, language, and climate, and choose a program that you’re comfortable with.

Support and resources

It’s important to choose a program that provides the support and resources you’ll need to succeed. This might include things like on-site support, orientation, language classes, and access to local resources and networks. Organisations like GVI offer a range of support and resources to help you make the most of your experience.

A closer look at GVI’s year-long volunteer programs

With programs ranging from several months to a full year, GVI provides a unique and fulfilling opportunity for individuals who are seeking to make a difference while also gaining personal and professional growth. 

GVI offers a wide range of programs focused on wildlife conservation, community development, teaching, and healthcare. Each of these programs offers unique benefits and experiences, and all are designed to help participants make a real difference in the world.

For example, GVI’s wildlife conservation programs offer the opportunity to work with endangered species and help preserve their habitats. Community development programs allow participants to work directly with local communities on projects that help to improve their quality of life. The teaching program provides the opportunity to work in a school or community centre, helping to educate and empower the next generation. And the healthcare program offers the chance to work in a medical facility or provide health education to communities in need.

Regardless of which program you choose, GVI offers comprehensive support, including training, accommodations, and 24-hour support from their in-country staff. And with past participants raving about their experiences and the impact they were able to make, you can be confident that a year-long volunteer program with GVI will be a life-changing experience.

Preparing for your year-long volunteer adventure

Embarking on a year-long volunteer adventure abroad requires careful planning and preparation, especially when it comes to finance, packing, and visas. Here are some key considerations to keep in mind as you get ready for your life-changing experience.

Financial sustainability

A year-long volunteer program can be expensive, so it’s important to have a solid plan for financing your time abroad. This might include saving money, seeking out scholarships and grants, or finding ways to earn money while volunteering. It’s also important to budget for living expenses and any unexpected expenses that might come up during your time abroad.


When packing for a year-long volunteer program, you want to strike a balance between bringing what you need and not over-packing. Make a list of the essential items you’ll need, such as comfortable clothing, a first aid kit, and any personal items that you can’t live without. It’s also important to consider the local climate and culture, and pack accordingly.


Obtaining the necessary visas and other legal documents can be a complex process, but it’s an essential part of preparing for a year-long volunteer program. You’ll need to research the visa requirements for the country you’ll be volunteering in, as well as any other legal considerations, such as travel insurance and vaccinations. GVI can help you navigate this process and ensure that you have everything you need to stay safe and legal during your time abroad.

With careful planning, you’ll be well-equipped for a life-changing year-long volunteer adventure abroad. Start your journey today!

what’s up next?
Nepal’s Traditional Food: A Culinary Journey through the Himalayas

Discover the rich and diverse flavours of Nepal's traditional cuisine, from momos to dal bhat, and learn how to experience it while volunteering in Pokhara with GVI.

You might also like these articles

Discovering the Best Beach Towns of Costa Rica: A Guide to Surf, Sand, and Sun
Read the article
Bioluminescence in Costa Rica: A Natural Wonder to Behold
Read the article
Endangered Tree Species: Why They Matter and How to Save Them
Read the article
Costa Rica Food Culture: A Delicious Journey Through the Land of Pura Vida
Read the article
Peak Climbing in Nepal: An Adventure of a Lifetime
Read the article
Volunteer and Adventure
Discovering the Rich Customs of Nepal: A Guide for Travelers
Read the article
Celebrating Cambodian New Year: A Guide
Read the article
The Importance of Citizen Science to Protect the Ocean
Read the article
Volunteer and Adventure
Madagascar’s Iconic Baobab Tree
Read the article
Volunteer and Adventure