Projects Abroad

This item appears on page 74 of the November 2009 issue.

The service organization Projects Abroad (347 West 36th St., Ste. 903, New York, NY 10018; 888/839-3535,, which specializes in volunteer vacations and short-term assignments, began as a way to help young people during their “gap” year (between high school and college) but now accepts volunteers between the ages of 16 and 75.

Projects are offered at 24 destinations, as diverse as Ethiopia, Romania and Argentina. There are programs for teaching, care work (orphans, disabled), medicine, conservation, culture & community (from art and dance to building projects), coaching sports, journalism, law & human rights, archaeology and veterinary medicine.

No foreign-language skills are required and no special qualifications are needed, but projects will make use of any applicant’s medical or professional training.

Projects run from two weeks to three months. Volunteers each pay a set fee that covers lodging (usually with a host family), complete board, travel & medical insurance and a support/teaching team. Volunteers pay for their own airfare and any extra travel they do on their own. 

Fees can run from $1,995 for two weeks’ coaching school sports in India to $6,585 for a 3-month stay learning the Russian language in Moldova.