If you are looking for your chance to go abroad and experience a lifestyle and culture different from yours, then volunteering might be the best way to do this. There are really good programs, some of the best volunteer programs in the USA that could help you boost your experience living abroad. One of the best parts of volunteering for a program or a cause abroad is not just the fact that you get to go abroad, but also the fact that you have a purpose to stay there and experience life as a local. This is something that visiting as a tourist is going to take away from you.
reasons why you should consider volunteering
- This could help gain career experience especially if your program aligns with your career path
- You are ultimately serving a greater cause
- It is easier to gain exposure to multiple cultures, and also the opportunity to meet more people.
- You will be able to strengthen your language skills
- Some programs allow you to develop skills like leadership qualities.
Volunteer programs are really great for many reasons. It does not just have to be about cleaning a space or teaching children. It could be about saving and taking care of animals, learning about the ocean, having the opportunities to learn things differently. Bigger things could come out of just volunteering abroad, and that is why we have listed some programs that could give you a bigger idea about volunteering in the USA.
Also Read: How To Volunteer Travel In India?
The best volunteer programs in the USA
Hawaii Summer Program
Duration: 6 weeks
This could be one of the best volunteer programs in the US for you if you would like to volunteer in the islands of Hawaii. It is a great way to expose yourself to Hawaiian culture. Not to say, to be amongst the great oceans and mountainous landscapes.
This volunteer program offers you an experience with the eight Hawaii islands. You can immerse yourself in the cultural experiences and learn about Hawaiian food making techniques. Hawaii has a long history with different cultures and ethnicities assimilating. Even if cultural immersion sounds boring to you, you can always learn how to surf with lessons based on Kona, a district in Hawai’i Island. You could also snorkel the reefs of Kona and be amongst the diverse sea life.
High Mountain Institute Gap (HMI Gap) Semesters
Duration: 4 – 26 weeks
HMI Gap Semesters bring together outdoor adventure, environmental service and leadership development. They believe that the best kind of learning happens outdoors, amongst nature. They approach learning through experiential and field-based activities. This helps students explore cultural, environmental and ecological issues better. If this is an idea that also applies to you then HMI Gap Semesters might be on the list of the best volunteer programs in the USA.
Each course with HMI Gap Semesters is a deeper experience. It helps students advance their skills in rock climbing or wilderness travel. You could have experiences like climbing the sandstones in Utah or rafting through the beautiful blue waters of the Futaleufu river. The aim is to help students find a different approach to learning.
Volunteer on American Indian Reservation
Where? Rosebud, South Dakota
Duration: 1 week
This volunteer program in the USA lets you experience life in an American Indian community. The community is located in the plains of South Dakota. The Rosebud Reservation is located in one of America’s least wealthy areas. Most of the residents there happen to be unemployed. The percentile of this would be 85%. The resident is struggling to overcome their histories to ensure a better future. If helping them for the duration of a week sounds like a considerable usage of your time then this program might be the best volunteer program in the USA for you.
The duties included in this program would be to help with planning and organizing summer camps for children. Summer camps with a duration of 7 days.
Nature Conservation and Animal Welfare by Natucate
Duration: 2 – 12 weeks
This is simply one of the best volunteer programs in the USA to experience the USA’s natural diversity. If being amongst nature and exploring different geographical locations is your thing, then consider this program.
The aim is to protect the sensitive flora and fauna that needs your help to survive. As a volunteer of this program, you get the opportunity to tend to USA’s unique natural habitats. If helping out plants, does not seem worth it to you then you can also get yourself involved in Animal Welfare projects. You could help take care of mustangs in Florida or even protect farmed animals in California.
The host of the program is Natucate. They offer various educational wilderness courses, internships and voluntary service abroad.
Duration: 6 – 12 weeks
Volunteer at a Wolf and Wolfdog Sanctuary run by US military veterans. This is a one of a kind volunteer program in the USA to care for wolves and wolfdogs. These animals are situated in the Los Padres National Forest in Ventura County, California. This could also mean you get to experience the city life of Los Angeles which is less than two hours away.
This program runs all year round and so you can choose your own timings. The minimum stay is however 4 weeks. However, the minimum stay would not allow you the opportunity to actually have physical contact with the animals. This is because the staff will have to assess safety first.
The main duties for you would be
Habitat construction and maintenance
Along with your daily duties, you have various opportunities for hiking, sightseeing, shopping, visiting nature parks and more. You are allowed to enjoy your own leisure activities in your free time. However, this would be at your own expense. Working hours would be all Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 08:00 AM – 4:00 PM.
Duration: 4 – 12 weeks
If helping youth sounds like the best volunteer program in the USA, then this program in Chicago might be the one for you. It aims at helping kids who struggle due to the lack of support and resources. Schools happen to be insufficient when it comes to funding and resources to cater to their needs. This is where your help would be necessary.
With this program, you can provide support to schools, educational institutions and after-school programs. This program works closely with a variety of community organizations, and so you would be paired with the project where your skills could pose as a great asset. You can rest knowing that your skills would never go to waste with this program.
Your work would vary depending on the project that would be undertaken at the time of placement. This would mean that you may be working with public schools, community centres, and summer camps. You would be involved in tutoring children and teens, planning and design of space spaces and public schools and other assistance that may be required.
Huskies Caretaker and dogsled assistant
Duration: 4 weeks – 12 weeks
This could be one of the best volunteer programs in the USA that could help you get away from city life. If taking care of wolves sounded intimidating to you, then try huskies! With this program, you could be involved in caring, grooming and dog-sledging with beautiful dogs. However, this program is remotely located.
The daily responsibilities of a volunteer would be just spending a lot of time with the dogs and simply taking care of them. if you are a dog lover, then this experience would be a closet to heaven for you.
This program happens in Minnesota’s North Woods of USA. It is an excellent opportunity for you to be around and spend a few weeks, during the winter, around loveable huskies. Even though a winter program, volunteering in the summer has its own opportunities like hiking, biking, and wildlife viewing.
Wild And Exotic Animal Caretaker
Duration: 2 weeks – 12 weeks
If working closely with animals sounds like something you want to do, then consider volunteering at Wildlife Survival Sanctuary located in Pasco County, Florida. The main responsibility you have is, of course, to take care of animals. This program not only offers you opportunities to be around domestic animals but also wild ones. These animals needed a new place to inhabit when their original caretakers could not care for them.
However, this is an opportunity that might need a lot of your attention. It can be physically demanding.
You also have the opportunity to work aside other international volunteers and so broaden your experience as a global citizen. The facility is located close to a city called Brooksville. The other activities that you can engage in here are canoeing, kayaking, diving, underwater photography tours, bird and wildlife identification.