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Volunteer abroad, Gap year in New York City


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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, improve career choices, and it will allow you to learn about another culture.

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

What is a Volunteer Job?

Volunteer service is offered by choice, it contributes to the well-being of an individual and a community and it is usually coordinated by a non-profit or public sector organization. These positions rarely offer any salary or wage.

Volunteer work can be a good way to gain new skills and experience while learning more about another country and acquiring some local language skills. Volunteering internationally offers a native's perspective into a country, a chance to work with people from around the world, and unparalleled experiences.

Volunteer Programs in NYC

In the United States, there are many short-term or one-time volunteer opportunities. Coat drives, eco-food drives and non-profit special events, need people to help only for the length of the event. This kind of volunteering is usually informal with helpers filling out a simple registration and then pitching in. They do not offer any kind of visa support but are a good opportunity to fill your time and add to your skillset if you are waiting for work authorization.

There are also longer volunteer abroad experiences that will help with the visa process and may provide food and housing. These often require some fees to compensate for these costs. Opportunities like these can be hard to find in NYC.

Volunteer organizations that offer opportunities in New York State:

  • City Year: 10-month program for 17-24-year-olds to work in a service teams of 6-12 members. The volunteers work as tutors, mentors and role models to improve schools and neighbourhoods. City Year has 17 locations with some of the most popular, like New York City, filling up quickly. There are four times throughout the year to apply and applications are submitted on-line.
  • New York Cares: Offers a multitude of different volunteering possibilities on any given day. Spend an afternoon at a local shelter or soup kitchen, devote some time to working with underprivileged children, get involved with a community revitalization project or have Sunday breakfast with a senior battling Alzheimer's disease. Their site has an easy to use membership website in which to sign-up and follow upcoming events.
  • New York City Wildlife: A program that takes Earthwatch volunteers and trains them on site sample wildlife and habitat quality. Projects like tracking mammals, catching frogs and salamanders in nets or pitfall traps, taking water samples, identifying birds, and surveying native and invasive plant species are all underway during different parts of the year. Volunteers must be over 18 years old and pay program fees of $700 - $3,000 for a 1 to 3-week research expedition (not including airfare, mandatory medical evacuation insurance, passport and/or visa fees).
  • Lattitude Global Volunteering: Not-for-profit organization which offers voluntary work placements overseas for 17-25 year-olds in a transition year before going on to further education, training or employment. Lattitude's goal is to have a positive impact on the communities in which they volunteer. There are several different areas of interest including medical, environmental, schools, and community development. Depending on your country of residence and the project you are interested in, costs and time away vary, but there are several scholarship programs. Flights and accommodation are usually included.
  • Workaway.info: The biggest worldwide database to find volunteer programs around the world.
  • Gooverseas: Created by a community of travellers inspiring, Gooverseas empowers people to spend meaningful time overseas
  • Worldpackers: Together with WorkAway, this platforms allows you to find volunteer positions in any field and length of time around the word in exchange of accommodation (and sometimes daily meals). There's a $35 yearly fee aprox. no matter how many volunteer positions you wish to enrol.

Insurance Abroad

Wherever you go, it is recommended that you take out travel insurance as it can cover any event that occurs while you are abroad. Many volunteer programs handle insurance in their program fees. If they do not, compare around for rates and coverage before contracting any Healthcare & Medical Insurance.

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

  • Coverworks Worldwide Travel Insurance: Coverworks Travel Insurance was established to specialise in providing dependable and affordable cover both for 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: A leading provider of online travel insurance for UK & Irish residents
  • APRIL International: Apply online for free quotes on repatriation assistance and expatriate and foreign health insurance.
  • AXA PPP healthcare: With over 35 years' experience in the international health insurance market, AXA PPP healthcare are dedicated to looking after the healthcare insurance needs of people who are living, working or retired in the US. Their International Health Plan has been developed and tailored to meet your needs as an expatriate and they have produced three different levels of medical insurance cover.


Update 13/02/2020


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