You’re Retired? How to Volunteer Overseas

You’re Retired? How to Volunteer Overseas
Photo (cc) by bryansblog

Remember when you were young and idealistic, and wanted to make a difference in the world?

Now that you’re retired, you have your chance.

Baby boomers and members of the Silent Generation are flocking overseas to take part in volunteer vacations.

You’ll be in good company if you head abroad to volunteer. Those age 65 and older are the fastest-growing group of international volunteers, soaring nearly 75 percent, from about 73,000 in 2008 to 127,000 in 2012, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey. For those between the ages of 55 and 64, the number of people volunteering internationally jumped from about 102,000 in 2004 to 161,000 in 2012.

Where to look

So how do you find opportunities to volunteer abroad?

There are two good places to start – the Internet and a religious organization. In fact, of all those who volunteered abroad, regardless of age, nearly half were connected to a religious organization, the Census Bureau found.

You’ll find opportunities detailed online with organizations connected to Protestant, Catholic, Jewish and Islamic faiths, or perhaps with your own church, synagogue or mosque.

Your other option is to plop yourself in front of your computer to search out organizations, and you’ll come up with a wealth of opportunities. These were recommended by SavvySenior.org founder Jim T. Miller on The Huffington Post:

What to expect

Where you go and what you’ll be doing on your volunteer vacation depends on your own interests and skills. You can find opportunities in dozens of countries, from Poland to Peru.

You might be able to tap into the skills you’ve honed in your professional life, or choose something that simply appeals to you. Tutoring, general labor, mentoring youth and providing medical care are some of the most common ways that volunteers spend their time abroad, the Census Bureau survey found.

Once you’ve found something that piques your interest, you’ll need to fill out an application for that position.

In many cases you’ll work alongside locals as you do your tasks, so not only will you be able to share your skills with others, you’ll likely be developing new skills, while having the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture. Many programs also set aside time so you can take part in cultural activities.

What are the costs

It often will cost you a couple of thousand dollars to volunteer for a week or two abroad. Typically that will cover your accommodations, food and local transportation, and you’ll usually need to pay your airfare separately.

If it’s not included in the fee you pay to the organization, make sure to purchase travel insurance in case your travel plans go awry, and health insurance if your coverage doesn’t apply overseas.

While the costs of an international volunteer vacation may seem steep, because you’re volunteering with a nonprofit you’ll be able to deduct your expenses from your taxes.

Retirees, does the idea of volunteering in a foreign country appeal to you? Have you done it? Share your experience on our Facebook page.

Learn everything you need to plan your dream retirement

The Only Retirement Guide You'll Ever Need gives you the knowledge you need to retire on your own terms. Sure, you can pay a financial adviser, but this online course gives you total control to create a custom retirement plan around the things that make you happy.

You're going to get expert, personalized advice. You'll have access to the latest tools. And when it's complete, you'll be able to approach your retirement confidently and with peace of mind.

It's time to plan the best years of your life. Let's get started.

Read Next

16 of the Most Outrageously Overpriced Products
16 of the Most Outrageously Overpriced Products

Retailers mark up products by hundreds of times their cost — but you don’t have to pay the premium.

Ignoring This Retirement Number Costs Savers Thousands
Ignoring This Retirement Number Costs Savers Thousands

One-fourth of savers lack this bit of information — and it can prove costly when saving for retirement.

15 Ways to Stretch Your Dollars in Retirement
15 Ways to Stretch Your Dollars in Retirement

Getting older presents new ways to save money. Study these strategies to make your golden years more golden.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Comments

Trending Stories