Workaway: Volunteer Work Overseas

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You, Doing You!  (Who doesn’t love choices?)  Workaway, Volunteer Work Overseas


A few weeks ago I shared an exciting volunteer abroad program called WWOOFin’ it, about working at a sustainable farm overseas.  In a nutshell, participants live and work a few hours a day on a farm in almost any corner of the world.  They receive room and board in exchange.

I got a lot of great feedback from readers, who thought WWOOFing sounded like a lot of fun.  I did too.

But I would never sign up for it. 

Farm Workaway
Although it IS truly lovely on many WWOOF farms

It seems I have the world’s biggest black thumb.  I’m not kidding.  Several years ago I worked for a decades-old tree farm and plant nursery close to my home.  It was a fun job – and I only worked in the office, nowhere near the stock.  Even so, the flora could not withstand my digit of death, and the company went out of business only a few months after I started there.

So farm work is obviously out for me and, I suspect, a few of you.  Perhaps you can grow things, but you’d like to do something less strenuous.  Or maybe rural life isn’t your scene.  WWOOFing is certainly an attractive way to see the world for a song, but is there no one else who could use some help?

Enter Workaway!

Just like WWOOF, Workaway participants work 20-25 hours per week for a host or hosts abroad.  Workaway is also worldwide, operating in 170 countries!  In exchange, workawayers, like WWOOFers, are given free room and board.  There is no age limit once you hit 18.  And just like at a WWOOF farm, you will meet endlessly fascinating people from all over the world!

With Workaway, however, your work options are far more extensive.  Inasmuch as plants don’t like me, tourists do, so I was pleased to find the option to work guiding them at major tourist attractions or helping host them in a youth hostel.  I’d also enjoy working with children and/or the elderly, or teaching.  It’s all possible and you will have to work hard to narrow down the possibilities!

Teaching Workaway
Learning Fun!

Infinite Possibilities

In addition to these common tasks, you’ll find endlessly appealing and even unusual volunteer possibilities; one host I researched was looking for photographers, another for personal trainers, yet another for website builders.  You’ll find these types of volunteer jobs available worldwide!

I suggest you visit the website, click on host list, then select a continent and country of interest.  You will immediately see how many situations are available there!  But don’t click on them yet.  Click on the gray box for more info.  Now you can select the type of situation (business, school, etc.) that most interests you.  You can also filter out other criteria, and select hosts with high ratings.  I also like to click on “Types of Help” and select exactly what I want to do!   I was pleasantly surprised to see two dozen opportunities to help run hostels and related work just in the tiny country of the Netherlands!

Cool Vaulted Cellar

Safety & Insurance

Found some appealing situations?   Great!  But you’re not through with your research.  You’ve probably read host reviews; now read up on Safety, found under the Information tab on the upper right side of the homepage.   Emphasis here should be on how important clear yet thorough communication is with your host.  As noted in WWOOF, there is only so much the Workaway staff would be able to do for you if you’re stuck in an untenable situation.   Make sure you know what your options are if your placement is less than ideal.

Be sure to also click on Insurance, which is critical to your success as a Workawayer.  You need to keep yourself heathy, obviously, but you also will want to cover your gear (laptop, camera, etc.)

A little money on the side?

One potential caveat I would ask you to consider is that you are working part-time, in exchange for food and board only.  You will still need the funds for travel to your host destination as well as for incidentals once there.  Will you be able to afford to get away occasionally?  If you have a laptop with you and your host has good Internet, perhaps you could teach English for a few hours a week online for ongoing income?  Some companies that offer this type of employment and don’t care where in the world you are include VIPKid, DadaABC, and MagicEars.

Cute Kid Workaway
Learning English… Offline!

Now that you’ve got all your workaway and employment ducks in a row, get in contact with your future hosts by registering on the workaway site for $36.00 per person for year, or $46.00 per couple per year.

Review It!

Still unsure whether workaway is the volunteer abroad program for you?  Be sure to read the reviews of the program the program shares with you, but more importantly, google “workaway reviews” for critiques on non-workaway websites.

If you do go workaway, have a blast!  I hope you will share your experience with us here!

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23 thoughts on “Workaway: Volunteer Work Overseas

Add yours

  1. These are exciting opportunities. I can’t do these with littles ones around but maybe I could get someone to do it so I can experience it through them. 😉

  2. What a clear process for exciting overseas work opportunities you lay out for us. And thank you for including safety and financial considerations. This is an article for teens and their parents. Bravo!

  3. What a great way to work and learn about another country and their culture. This is a wonderful experience! Good points about insurance and incidentals.

  4. What a cool concept. I posted a blog a few months ago about the organization IVHQ. I love the idea of seeing the world, and giving back at the same time. Thanks for sharing about these organizations.

  5. To do work abroad is on my bucket list. I know it will be awhile before I am able to do this with younger kids, but I look forward to it when I later retire.

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