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Volunteer abroad, Gap year in Madrid

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When looking for a summer job or interested in taking a gap year; a voluntary work abroad position may be the perfect way to travel while gaining valuable experience.

By taking part in a volunteer project you will get professional and personal experience and improve your career. It will also allow you to discover new cultures and to encourage your personal development and open-mindedness.

There are many organisations that can help you finding the perfect volunteer experience position. In this section, you will find a list of different organisations focusing on volunteer programs, as well as information about visa requirements and insurance recommendations.

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 it is usually coordinated by a non-profit or public sector organization. Usually, volunteers do not receive any salary or wage for their work.

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 regarding people working as a volunteer during their summer holiday, they will most likely get accommodation and often a small amount of money for their personal care (pocket money)


A lot of charities and volunteer organisations exist throughout Spain and online, and opportunities depend on what you are looking for. Many volunteer placements include free accommodation and meals, but make sure you establish this before beginning work.

  • The biggest worldwide database to find volunteer programs around the world
  • Gooverseas: Created by a community of travellers. Gooverseas empowers people to spend meaningful time overseas
  • Worldpackers: Its programs are usually focused on some working hours on exchange with accommodation and meals
  • WWOOF: In order to work in Spain as a volunteer in agriculture, you can enroll with the International WWOOF Association. This organisation helps those who would like to volunteer on organic farms internationally. When you join a WWOOF organisation, you will be put in contact with host farms. It is then up to you to contact the host farms that interest you and make your own arrangements with them. Workers are provided with board and accommodation and must pay an annual membership of £10
  • Federation EIL (Experiment in International Living- EIL is an international nonprofit membership association. It facilitates the work of its autonomous member organizations in 25 countries. Federation EIL members promote the lifelong involvement of individuals in intercultural learning experiences through homestays, group travel, study abroad, language training, work exchange and other cultural immersion programs. With EIL, you can also work as a volunteer in a developing country and participate in a wide range of projects around the world in areas such as health, education, community development, conservation and human rights

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 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 take in charge the travel costs for the young, the insurance (health, accident and public liability) and provides a monthly allowance from 140 to 220€, depending on the destination.

To apply for a project: Find a sending organisation that will assist you individually 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. Try to find a suitable project, which is ready to host you within the time limit you have planned.

You can have a look at the European database on accredited host organisations to find both you sending and hosting organization.

Insurance Abroad

Wherever you go, it is recommended that you take out travel insurance. It will cover any event that might occur when you are abroad. Many volunteer programs already handle visa arrangements and include insurance coverage in their program fees or as part of their compensation.

In case they do not include them, we have selected below a series of companies to help you in your choice.

Consult the section on "International Healthcare & Medical Insurance" to find out more about your options, or compare companies on our services site, Expat-Quotes.

Work Visas & Permits

Since Spain is a EU member, the EU and European Economic Area citizens do not need a working visa. Those coming from countries outside the EU will need to obtain both a residence permit and a work permit.

Please refer to "Passport & Visa" section of the guide for full details.

Update 8/06/2018


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