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Volunteer abroad, Gap year in Dublin

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If you are looking for a summer job or are interested in a gap year, voluntary work abroad may be the perfect way to gain valuable experience. With a volunteer project you will get professional and personal experience as well as improve your career choices. But experience abroad will allow you also to learn about another culture and encourage personal development, co-operation, tolerance and open-mindedness.

There are many organisations which will help place you in the perfect work experience job. We will give a list of different organisations throughout this article, focusing on volunteer organisations.

You will find more information on summer jobs, holiday jobs or internship abroad in our other articles in the column on the left side of this page. You will find also details on visa and health insurance in these sections.

What is a volunteer job

Volunteer service is offered by choice - it is not mandated or coerced. It contributes to the well-being of an individual or the community, and is usually coordinated by a non-profit or public sector organization, and in theory it does not pay any salary or wage.

Volunteer work is often equated with unpaid work, and people who contribute their time and energy freely to build a better community don't necessarily get the support systems and recognition they deserve. However volunteers who work during their summer holiday should be provided with accommodation and often a small amount of money for their personal needs.

The European Voluntary Service (EVS)

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) is a European Union programme, set up by the European Commission in early 1996. It offers young people (between 18 and 25) the opportunity to work as a volunteer for six to twelve months in a non-profit project abroad. Three partners are the key partners of an EVS project: the volunteer, the sending organisation and the host organisation.
The European Commission is in charge of the travel costs for young people, the insurance (health, accident, public liability) and provides a monthly allowance from 140 to 220 euros.

How to proceed: Find a sending organisation that will assist you personally along the procedure (you can find contacts through you National Agency, your National Coordinator or international volunteer organisations). Start contacting potential host organisations through your sending organisation. Keep your fingers crossed and persevere in your search as the difficulty is not to find a suitable project, but to find a project ready to host you within the time limit you have planned.

You can have a look at the European database on accredited host organisations and the Youth organisations.

More information also on the website

Volunteering in Ireland

A lot of charities and volunteer organisations exist throughout Ireland, and opportunities depend on what you are looking for.
Many volunteer placements include free accommodation and food but make sure you establish this before beginning work.
  • Volunteer ( ) : Named VCI ,the national organisation with responsibility for developing volunteering in Ireland, both nationally and locally.
  • Volunteering Ireland ( ): This is the National Volunteer Development Agency create in 1997. They are an independent membership-based organisation that inspires, promotes, supports and facilitates voluntary activity in Ireland.
    Volunteering Ireland promotes high quality voluntary activity by encouraging organisations which involve volunteers to adopt good policy and practice, and by acting as a link between such organisations and individuals who wish to undertake meaningful voluntary work.

Camphill Communities

Camphill Communities run volunteer placements throughout the world. Volunteers work in communities with adults with special needs.

Callan Projects ( provides a database of links to various Camphill communities around the world

You will be expected to work for 6 days a week and it is usually preferred that you stay for at least one year.

Nobody in Camphill gets any wages. Each gives the benefit of their work to the community and is supported through the work of others. As a volunteer co-worker you will be given a room of your own, you will have your meals as a member of the household and will be supplied with the basic necessities of living.


Wherever you go, it is recommended that you take out travel insurance. It will cover any event that might occur when you are abroad. Moreover this is mandatory for a lot of work in "exotic" countries.

We have selected below a series of companies to help you in your choice.
Of course you might find others on the Internet.

  • Coverworks Worldwide Travel Insurance: Coverworks Travel Insurance was established to specialise in providing dependable and affordable cover for both the backpacker and for the independent traveller.
  • Insure & Go: Cheap cover online for gap years & backpacking, skiing, adventure travel, single trips & annual travel.
  • Go Travel Insurance: This is a leading provider of online travel insurance for UK & Irish residents
You might also look at our other articles on Summer Jobs and Internship abroad on the left column of this page.

Update 26/12/2007


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