International Opportunties

Are you interested in travelling and want to do something a bit more than sitting on a beach? There's some fantastic opportunities that allow you to get to see and explore places in a completely different way!

We have two recommended international volunteering partners who provide a great variety of opportunities abroad. Both of these organisations receive funding from the Scottish or UK government to support the work they do and regularly conduct impact reviews with organisations in partnership countries to ensure the work they do is supporting international development in a sustainable, long-term, and empowering way.

Due to the funding these organisations receive, you will be asked to contribute significantly less, financially speaking, to your experience than most other internatinal volunteering organisations.

Xchange Scotland is a youth-led charity developed by returned Scottish volunteers with the support of others committed to making positive change in society. They provide inspiring opportunities around the world and around the corner. Xchange Scotland provide volunteering opportunities for students both in Europe and the rest of the world!

VSO is an international development charity that works through volunteers in some of the poorest countries to make lasting change. Through their volunteers, partners and supporters they reduce poverty by enabling people to influence the decisions that affect their lives. By working closely with partner organisations, volunteers provide the right support to help ensure that local development efforts deliver impact and value for money. 


If you are a UK, EU or EEA national and have been living in the UK for at least 12 months (with a UK address) you will be eligible to apply to any of these positions.

If you are an International student from outside of the UK, EU or EEA then you will not normally be able to apply for these positions unless you have indefinite leave to remain in the UK and have been living here for at least 12 months (with a UK address). You might be able to join a similar scheme in your home country upon your return however, and a list of such offices around the world can be found here:

International students may be permitted to volunteer abroad with other providers that we don't list here, and you should approach organisations to ask about this on a case-by-case basis.

Short Term Opportunities (2 - 12 weeks)

Xchange Scotland's International Volunteer Programme (IVP)

From Mexico to Mongolia, there are a huge number of diverse and exciting short term international volunteer projects to choose from.

By working with organisations in amazing networks – the Alliance – we are able to send volunteers to over 50 countries worldwide on international volunteer projects abroad. These partnerships mean that volunteer costs are kept to a minimum and that the projects are locally-led and are what the communities really need…

How long: 2-4 weeks; longer projects available too
Where: Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas
Cost: £250 + transport to the project, visa costs & travel insurance
Project themes: Social, Environmental, Educational, Cultural, Construction, Archaeological, and more!
When: Throughout the year, but opportunities tend to be advertised around April/May
Who can apply: Anyone over 18 who is resident in Scotland.
Training Provided: Dependent on project

ICS is a development programme that brings together young people from the UK and developing countries to volunteer in some of the poorest communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

UK volunteers work side-by-side with local volunteers in developing countries, staying with host families in the local community.

How long: 10-12 weeks on placement
Where: Asia, the Americas
Cost: You will need to fundraise a minimum of £800 with support from the ICS
Project themes: Business & Enterprise, Education, Health, Civic Rights, Environment
When: All year round. Applications are recommended at least 3 months in advance of your preferred departure date.
Who can apply: Anyone aged 18-25
Training Provided: Yes

Long Term Opportunities (3 months - 2 years)

Xchange Scotland's European Voluntary Service (EVS)

EVS helps young people aged 17 to 30 years to collaborate from 6 to 12 months in another country while working in a non-profit organisation

EVS aims to improve young people’s skills and introduce them to different cultures and people from across the world. It also can be a key opportunity to learn a new language.

How long: 6 months to 1 year
Where: Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America
Cost: Some travel costs, depending on the project.
Project themes: Culture, Education, Young People, Journalism, Environment, Agriculture, Arts and lots more!
When: Throughout the year
Who can apply: Fully funded places are available for UK students from 17-30 yrs. European students not from the UK can apply to their home nation - find your country in the European database
Training Provided: Dependent on project 

As an ICS Team Leader you’ll spend three or six months overseas offering pastoral support to small groups of volunteers aged 18-25 from the UK and the country you’re in. You’ll have a local counterpart to share responsibilities as you guide your teams through their time in country.

There’s a project management element to the role but the most important thing is the wellbeing of the ICS team and doing everything you can to help young people from different backgrounds work well together.

How long: 3-6 months
Where: Asia, Africa, Latin America
Cost: You will need to fundraise a minimum of £800 with support from the ICS
Project themes: Business & Enterprise, Education, Health, Civic Rights, Environment
When: Throughout the year
Who can apply: Anyone aged 23-35 years. All Team Leaders need to have some experience of leading and supporting diverse groups of young people. Some placements will require strong Spanish or French language skills.
Training Provided: Yes
VSO is the world’s leading independent international development organisation that works through volunteers to fight poverty in developing countries. Our high-impact approach brings people together to share skills, build capabilities, promote international understanding and action to change lives and make the world a fairer place.
How long: 1-2 years
Where: Africa, Asia, Latin America
Cost: Volunteers will be expected to fundraise some money, the exact amount will vary depending on where you’re from, and VSO will discuss a realistic fundraising target with you. VSO provide support from dedicated volunteer fundraising officers.
Project themes: Health, Livlihoods, Education, Governance
When: All year round, applications should be made 3-5 months before departure to accommodate assessment, training, medical checks and obtaining visas.
Who can apply: Experienced professionals over the age of 18. Some roles may require membership of a professional body or a professional qualification in addition to applicable experience.
Training Provided: Yes

Hannah Markley
VP Reps and Volunteers
VP Reps and Volunteers

Hannah is ENSA’s Vice President Reps & Volunteers. If you need any information or advice about anything relating to being a rep, campaigns or volunteering, contact Hannah and she will tell you all you need to know.

Email Hannah

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