“‘The best way to find yourself
is to lose yourself
in the service of others.”
There are countless opportunities to engage in meaningful international public service! Here are the resources that come highly recommended by the most estimable Everyday Ambassadors: a database of quality volunteer/internship programs, and a list of additional ‘service searches’ you can conduct according to your passions and preferences.
Readers are encouraged to add to the list via the comment section, and after a thorough vetting process, Resources will be regularly updated with additional opportunities.
Volunteer with AFS in one of 80 countries; open to teenagers, young adults and teachers seeking an intercultural experience abroad. AFS’ actual human network of support is impressive – a strong community of people dedicated to creating a two-way exchange. Check out their variety of programs here.
Each year, AmeriCorps offers 75,000 opportunities for adults of all ages and backgrounds to serve through a network of partnerships with local and national nonprofit groups throughout the United States. Remember – Americans can be Ambassadors in their own country! It’s about crossing comfort zones. Apply here.
Interested in the Latin America region? AMIGOS has been hosting young adult volunteers abroad for nearly 50 years, and opportunities focus on youth leadership training and community development. AMIGOS boasts healthy relationships and productive collaborations with local agencies and organizations. Apply here.
CFHI runs global service learning programs for medical and other health science students that focus on cultural competency in the health setting. Apply here.
You’ve likely seen their signature red jackets around much of urban America. At City Year’s 23 locations across the United States, teams of diverse young people called corps members serve full-time in schools for 10 months working to improve student attendance, behavior and course performance in English and math. Apply here.
Founded in 1932, EIL is so longstanding that the Peace Corps based their program from this original concept! EIL offers 3 -5 week summer volunteer programs in 30 countries around the world, open to students who have completed their 9th, 10th, 11th, or 12th grade year, but have not yet entered college or university. For French- and Spanish-speaking countries, language study is a requirement – we love it! Apply here.
For a highly immersive international service experience – for students, professionals, and retirees – FSD engages short-term volunteers in long-term projects, deeply connected with community partners and focused on building local capacity. And be ready to commitment – participants receive orientation, a family homestay, language training, and more. Very highly recommended. Check out their programs here.
GCY recruits and trains a diverse corps of high-potential high school graduates as GCY Fellow through intensive programs in the U.S. and abroad, and supports Fellows through apprenticeships in Asia, Africa, and Latin America during a bridge year between high school and college. Apply here.
GHC provides opportunities for young professionals from diverse backgrounds to work on the frontlines of the fight for global health equity in year-long fellowships. Apply here.
“Connecting people with communities in need” through international volunteer placements, for individuals interested in promoting ‘local solutions to local problems.’ Apply here.
Sights set on Asia? This excellent program provides stipends, language training, and individualized professional placement in Asia for 15-18 Luce Scholars each year, and welcomes applications from college seniors, graduate students, and young professionals in a variety of fields who have had limited exposure to Asia. Find out more about the application process here.
The grandfather of American everyday ambassadorship! Unlike other programs positioned entirely to ‘help others’, PC volunteers provide technical assistance and aim to “promote a better understanding of Americans on the part of the peoples served” – and vice versa. Learn more here about the countless opportunities PC offers.
The Ambassadorial Scholarships program promotes international understanding and friendly relations among people of different parts of the world. The scholarships sponsor undergraduate and graduate students, as well as qualified professionals pursuing vocational studies. While abroad, scholars serve as goodwill ambassadors to the country where they study and give presentations about their own culture to Rotary clubs and other groups. Back home, scholars share with Rotarians and others the experiences that deepened their understanding of another culture. Learn more here.
Spark MicroGrants proactively reaches out to under resourced communities who are isolated from traditional aid. Spark offers them an opportunity to do their own development project, transforming beneficiaries into change makers and developing new youth leaders in the developing world. Apply here to be a Spark Intern in East Africa.
TFA is committed to recruiting dedicated recent college graduates of all backgrounds to teach for two years in urban and rural public schools. They train and develop these corps members so that they have an immediate positive impact on their students, and foster the leadership of our alumni as they address this problem from all sectors. Apply here.
For teens and young adults looking for an alternative to traditional high school and college experiences – try UWC! UWC schools “deliver a challenging and transformative educational experience to a diverse cross section of students, inspiring them to create a more peaceful and sustainable future.”
- Echoing Green’s “Work on Purpose” Program gives an excellent listing of Resources and Opportunities for anyone intent on living a life of service.
- Idealist: The most comprehensive listing of volunteer opportunities on the internet, PLUS employment opportunities in prominent and innovative public service settings.
- International Volunteer Programs Association: An association of NGOs involved in international volunteer work and internship exchanges, with placement organizations who fit their ethical bill, and phenomenally helpful tips on volunteering abroad.