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Volunteer abroad, Gap year in Edinburgh

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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 Scotland

Voluntary work can be desirable if you are unable to gain legal work in the UK. (You would still need an entry visa if you require one). Although unpaid, board and lodging is usually provided.

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.

The best websites for finding opportunities in Scotland are


Camphill Communities
Camphill Communities run volunteer placements throughout the world. Volunteers work in communities with adults with special needs. Participants are given a room, meals, and basic necessities of living. Volunteers are expected to work for approx. 6 days a week with a preferred stay of at least one year.

Edinburgh Cyrenians
Volunteers with Edinburgh Cyrenian Trust work in communities for homeless young people. They help with activities for residents and carrying out domestic tasks. These may include: health improvement service (drive vans, deliver and sort food), residential care service housemates (provide peer support), fund raising (assist with individual, corporate and trust fund raising), farm community (produce organic crops). Volunteers are expected to pay for travel expenses, but are provided food, accommodation and about 30 GBP for weekly salary.

British Trust for Conservation Volunteers (BTCV)
Organizes working breaks and conservation holidays throughout England for environmentally concerned volunteers.

Community Service Volunteers (CSV)
Largest voluntary placement agency in the United Kingdom. It places volunteers in socially worthwhile projects alongside British volunteers from 4 months to a year. Volunteers receive pocket money of 30 GBP a week. North American volunteers must apply via Alberta Overseas.

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 traveller 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 8/04/2011


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