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Volunteer abroad, Gap year in Zurich

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What is a Volunteer Job?

Volunteer service contributes to the well-being of an individual and the community, and is usually coordinated by a non-profit or public sector organization. These positions rarely offer any salary or wage. Volunteering internationally offers a native's perspective into a country, a chance to work with people from around the world, and unparalleled experiences.

Volunteering in Switzerland

There are a plethora of opportunities to volunteer within Switzerland.

Application depends on the organization. Most groups require a formal application, a personal statement, and some kind of deposit. There are periodic deadlines, so check the organization's sites to find out the deadline.


Mountain Forrest Project - The foundation has a non-profit purpose: to promote the maintenance, care and protection of the forest and the cultural landscape in mountain regions, especially through care and restoration during work assignments and by encouraging the public's understanding for the forest's concerns.

ICV Volunteers - Provides motivated individuals with unique short- and long-term opportunities to volunteer in local, national and international settings.

AIDS Hilfe Switzerland - AIDS organization in Switzerland.

Swiss Red Cross Kanton Zurich - The Red Cross is an international company that has roots in Switzerland. Help their mission of international aid.

International Work camp Volunteer - Exchange of volunteers for short term sessions in workcamps. Work is usually either building, planting, digging, painting, gardening, re-storing, cleaning, constructing, weeding or working with children, elderly or others with special needs, taking part in art or social related projects.

Travel for Teens - Volunteers teach and take cooking and dance lessons, performing valuable service work to help local communities, and converse with the people. Programs up to 8 weeks.

Volunteers for Peace - Offers placement in international volunteer projects in more than 100 countries around the world.

Long-term Volunteer Quest - As an international non-profit organization, United Planet (UP) strives to create a world in which all people understand, respect, and support one another. Programs are available for 6 months and 1 year.

The European Voluntary Service (EVS)

The European Voluntary Service is a European Union program that 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 organization and the host organization.
The European Commission take in charge the travel costs for the young, the insurance (health, accident, public liability) and provides a monthly allowance from 140 to 220 euros.

How to proceed: Find a sending organization that will assist you individually along the procedure (you can find contacts through you National Agency, your National Coordinator or international volunteer organizations). Start contacting potential host organizations through your sending organization. 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 organizations and the Youth organizations.

More information also on the website

Insurance Abroad

Travel insurance is one of the best protections a traveler can purchase. Investigate coverage, rates, and compare companies.

You might also look at our other articles on Summer Jobs and Internship abroad on the left column of this page.

Update 18/08/2011


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