School Group Volunteering Trips
It’s no secret that many of life’s important lessons take place outside of the classroom. That’s why a Projects Abroad group trip can be the perfect programme to complement your school curriculum and provide your students with a meaningful and educational experience unlike any other.
A group trip is a unique opportunity for students to experience the lifestyle and culture of a developing country, whilst giving back to the local community in a sustainable and worthwhile way.
Through practical, first-hand experience, students will learn the value of teamwork, leadership, communication and cultural appreciation. Students step outside of their comfort zone and leave with a deeper understanding of themselves, each other and the world around them. A group experience can create a strong bond among peers and offer valuable insight into different career paths.
Volunteering alongside their peers, students will learn how to live and work as a team and witness first-hand the difference that a small group of people can make.
"All of our goals were achieved and the experience far exceeded our expectations. We can’t fault the Projects Abroad team in any way. The team in Samoa made sure communication was open and checked with us on a daily basis to ensure the itinerary was meeting our requirements. Our students stepped up to every challenge without a single complaint and they have mentioned that they will take life long memories home with them"
Group Leader, JCS
Read the full fantastic story of Jindabyne Central School in Samoa here
Our volunteer projects across the globe allow you to travel with purpose and to develop meaningful connections with the places that you visit.
Each group trip is catered to your needs and we have dedicated support staff in each destination to ensure a smooth and professional experience.
An overseas volunteering trip allows students to:
- Experience working in a diverse team environment, with local staff as well as fellow students
- Experience cultural immersion in an environment vastly different to their home country
- Learn to be innovative whilst working in places with limited resources, be it educational or medical.
- Gain insight into problems that affect developing countries
- Understand the value of giving your time to help others
- Develop leadership skills, resourcefulness and creativity through daily challenges.
- Develop team building skills working alongside fellow volunteers
- Take part in a unique team bonding experience that will benefit the group long after their return
An overseas volunteering trip allows teachers to:
- Work with students in a non-school setting and develop stronger relationships with them as a result. This is a great opportunity to put Pastoral Care into practice.
- Make the most of an opportunity to be great models for their students, working alongside them on the project and demonstrating altruism and compassion.
- Develop their own leadership skills in organising a trip and leading their colleagues in the lead-up to and during the trip.
- Create and develop a charity programme within their school which can bring great benefits to their students as well as the community they are supporting overseas.
A group volunteer trip can benefit the school by:
- Establishing lasting relationships with organisations in developing countries
- Building a legacy of positive action in developing communities
- Developing a global outlook and understanding among students
- Developing a socially conscious and proactive student body
- Supporting underprivileged communities in a structured and worthwhile way
At Projects Abroad, we strive to provide safe, sustainable, educational and worthwhile overseas volunteering experiences. Our volunteers and interns range in age from young children travelling with their parents to retirees, from school students to practicing doctors and archaeologists.
Established in 1992, Projects Abroad has 23 years of experience organising volunteer placements in the developing world. It was founded in 1992 by an academic in the UK who, to this day, remains the Chief Executive. The organisation has long been a pioneer of worthwhile and educational travel, a leader in its field and today, we send over 10,000 volunteers a year to 29 countries across the globe.
We support and manage over 1000 individual placements including schools, children’s homes, rehabilitation and disability care centres, construction sites, conservation projects, hospitals, community health initiatives, micro-finance and human rights programmes.
Fundamental to this growth and success is the local infrastructure we establish in each country; fully employed and fully trained Projects Abroad staff allow volunteers to benefit from sustainable and worthwhile local partnerships as well as local knowledge and 24/7 professional support providing for their wellbeing.
We are proud to employ over 600 staff, mostly local people working in destination countries. Between them they provide on-the-ground support and guidance 24/7, ensuring a safe, educational and memorable experience for the volunteers. The responsibilities of our local staff are for the volunteers’ welfare and the support of the projects. We believe that local knowledge is the best knowledge and our staff play a key role in ensuring that your trip is safe, rewarding and productive.
"Meeting the children for the first time was an amazing moment, but seeing how people lived was quite a shock. I just tried to show them that I wanted to help them. I loved my placement, even though it was sometimes confronting, challenging and tiring, it was all worth it."
Volunteer in Cambodia
Our range of local partners is varied, from government bodies to grassroots charities, from international NGOs to nomadic families. The idea of ‘worthwhileness’ is a driving force behind all of our programmes, allowing both volunteers and host communities to take part in a constructive and rewarding experience, made possible through a constant flow of cultural exchange, understanding and respect. This allows our work at the placements to be guided by local needs and ensures that we serve communities in a sustainable and collaborative way.
Projects Abroad offers tailor-made group projects designed to suit the specific needs of both the group and the local community. We will ensure that your skills, preferences and qualifications fit the particular needs of the placement. There are no set start dates. Whenever you arrive and at whatever time, our staff will be waiting at the airport for you. This flexibility allows the projects to run sustainably throughout the year.
All Projects Abroad accommodation is clean and safe. In most destinations, volunteers will live with host families. These homes have all been approved by Projects Abroad and assessed based on criteria such as cleanliness, privacy and facilities. Shared accommodation is provided in some destinations and these apartments and houses are clean and comfortable.
Our prices include your placement, your accommodation, three meals a day, full medical and travel insurance, airport transfers, transport between your accommodation and work placement, project arrangements, unrivalled in-country support, as well as pre-departure advice and meetings in the build up to take off. The price does not include airfares, visas, vaccinations or spending money.
Challenging and rewarding; safe, sustainable and worthwhile, Projects Abroad group trips provide unique personal development opportunities and the chance for your school to reach out to developing communities.
Deciding on a destination and project for your group volunteering trip
Whether you are interested in Disaster Relief work in Nepal or Rainforest Conservation in the Peruvian jungle, we will work closely with you to find the placement that best suits your group.
We are proud to be flexible in our arrangements and we will work with you to find an itinerary that suits the interests and abilities of the students, while being productive and useful for the communities in which we work.
We offer programmes in 29 destinations, with projects including Teaching, Care, Building, Conservation, Medicine, Human Rights and many more. Take a look at the full range of projects and destinations available.
Recommended projects for group trips:
"It is an experience of a lifetime that will open your eyes to different ways of life. It helps you to become confident within yourself with no pressure. It is an experience and a memory that you will never forget or regret. Go to your destination with an open mind as everyday can be a roller coaster of emotions, both in your personal and volunteering life. Do what you can, with what you have and don’t doubt your ability to help."
Volunteer in Sri Lanka
Our commitment begins from the outset of planning the trip. Each group trip is tailored to the interests and talents of its members with the group leaders playing a large part in formulating the itinerary. Risk management is the foundation of this planning process.
The team planning the itinerary involves:
- Destination Country Director
- Destination country Head Office Coordinator
- Australian Office Director and Deputy
This team guarantees you extensive experience of managing volunteer projects, local knowledge and group leadership experience. Along with the itinerary, a thorough preliminary risk assessment report will be produced for you.
Through the Australian office, destination office staff and international Volunteer Advisers, we aim to ensure well-briefed volunteers and group leaders, covering:
- Realistic expectations – what the group seeks to achieve and contribute during the trip
- Being prepared – culture shock, homesickness, the first few days
- Travelling smart – being safe and responsible
- Cultural matters – understanding, respecting and adapting to local customs
- History and current affairs – understanding context
These and other matters are covered through face-to-face and online meetings, with a dedicated group liaison from the Australian office and relevant staff from around the world.
"Projects Abroad has given me one of the greatest, most rewarding experiences of my lifetime. I have now travelled and immersed myself into an entirely new culture, made a family with strangers who I now know and love. I’ve seen a part of the world I never thought I would, I’ve helped people I never thought I would have the opportunity to meet. In Sri Lanka I found a part of myself previously undiscovered, I found a yearning and a desire to leave my comforts and go out to travel the world."
Volunteer in Sri Lanka
Government Safety Advice
Projects Abroad follows the advice of government agencies to determine which destinations are safe for our volunteers to enter. We monitor travel warnings closely, including advice from Smart Traveller, a branch of Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. We will always comply with domestic advice to avoid travel in destinations deemed unsafe.
The Australian Office
Your first point of contact is our dedicated team at the Projects Abroad Australian office. The team is a bridge between volunteers and overseas staff, and can provide you with comprehensive information about our projects and safety procedures, and can advise you on which project would best suit your skills and interests. The great thing about our Australian advisors is that they have all had extensive experience living and volunteering overseas, and you can always chat to them about what to expect from such a unique and rewarding experience.
As an organiser of a tailored group trip, you will be supported by our Australian team throughout the process. They will discuss options of destinations and projects to suit your group’s particular needs. They will also provide you with a detailed budget, tailored itinerary and safety information specific to your school or organisation’s standards. The team are always happy to meet and chat with trip organisers, staff and participants, before, during and after the experience. An Australian staff member will also accompany your group overseas to ensure that everything runs smoothly in-country.
Planning Sessions and Pre-departure meetings
Your group trip starts long before you board the plane, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.
In the lead up to your trip away, Projects Abroad staff will meet with group trip organisers to discuss and finalise itinerary and budget. Staff will then present an outline of the itinerary to potential participants to gauge interest.
After the group members have been confirmed, there will be a series of pre-departure meetings and communications with the group as a whole to discuss a range of topics, including:
- Cultural and destination information (food, accommodation, placement)
- Addressing parent concerns
- Personal safety
- Our expectations of participant behaviour and conduct
- How to prepare for placement
- Packing advice
- Fundraising ideas
All participants will be given access to their personalised ‘MyProjectsAbroad’ online portal. This portal will provide project and destination specific information, including:
- Emergency contact information for in-country staff and local emergency services
- Your Volunteer Coordinator’s contact details
- Insurance policy
- Visa information
- Arrival procedures
- Full itinerary
- Country guide (incl. Food, culture, safety & travel advice specific to your destination)
- Packing list
- Invoice and payments
- Fundraising tips
- Accommodation information
- Placement information and resources
- Feedback forms
- Travel blog
- Project-specific Facebook group access
International Volunteer Advisor
The Volunteer Advisor is there to help volunteers at any point during the preparation process. If you have concerns or need advice about anything related to your placement or destination country, it’s simply a case of calling or emailing your personal advisor for a chat.
For organisers of group trips, there will be opportunities via Skype and email to get to know the Projects Abroad overseas staff before departure. Our overseas staff are employed full-time by Projects Abroad, and work at the Projects Abroad Office in your destination country. They will be there in-country to support your group throughout the trip. They are a wealth of local knowledge and are always happy to discuss host families, local safety tips, food, weather and culture in more detail.
Flights, Visas, Insurance and Other Documents
We have a dedicated team of experts who are in contact with you in the lead up to your trip away.
The Travel Team can book airfares on your behalf, including domestic and international flights, and they will be on hand to make changes if need be. Once your dates have been confirmed, they will also arrange for your airport transfer.
The Insurance Team will confirm the start and end dates for your comprehensive medical and travel insurance policy, which is provided by us as part of your project fee. They will provide you will your full policy statement after dates have been confirmed.
The Admin Team will provide you with the latest visa information appropriate to your destination, including advice about your nearest consulate and any supporting documents that you will need to provide. They will also get in contact to advise you about any police checks or medical checks required for your particular placement, and the appropriate channels to do so.
In the lead up to, and upon arrival, we take every care to ensure the group is comfortable, well-informed, active and safe. This includes:
- Risk assessment review – project sites, accommodation, transport and documentation will all be reviewed in the days leading up to arrival
- Pre-arrival preparation and review – all activities and arrangements are checked and the itinerary reviewed
- Meet and greet – local staff will collect the group from the airport and take them to their accommodation
- Orientation – a thorough initial briefing including:
- Safety procedures and tips, preventing illness
- Tour of the local area
- Itinerary review
- Transport arrangements
- Problem solving
- Communications – local phones will be provided to group leaders
- Group coordinator – a dedicated coordinator to accompany the group at all times to act as problem solver, translator and advisor
- Full time local staff – in addition to the group coordinator, the assistance of our full local team when required, 24/7
We believe that our in country support is unrivalled in their experience, commitment and skills. The group is supported at all times by local people, supplemented by western staff in many countries, whose first priority is the welfare of the volunteers.