Volunteering Abroad for Seniors

If you are a senior looking to use your talent and life experiences to volunteer abroad and make a difference, then you have come to the right place. Volunteering abroad with UBELONG is about doing meaningful work that is challenging, hands-on and grassroots.


“My entire experience was life changing, even at 53.” – Shellee Peck, UBELONG Vietnam Volunteer from the United States – read her interview here.


Every year we welcome many senior volunteers over 50 years of age. About 10 percent of UBELONG Volunteers are 50 years and older, and that portion is growing as more and more folks learn about volunteering abroad with UBELONG. We encourage you to visit our news section and meet some of the people 50 years old and up who have volunteered abroad with UBELONG.

Whether you’re looking for a meaningful way to travel abroad and give back during your retirement or are still working and intending to use your vacation time to volunteer, UBELONG is there for you. We are a social organization based in the United States that offers seniors throughout the world an affordable and easy way to volunteer abroad in a manner that is safe, supportive and rooted in making a real difference.


When, where and for how long can you go? 
All of our volunteer trips are open to people 50 years and older.  You can volunteer with UBELONG from 1 week to 6 months and pick from our volunteer projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Depending on the country you pick, you can start any week of the year, or any other week.


What can you do?
There are over 100+ volunteer projects to pick from in areas like animal care, caregiving, education, business, healthcare and more. 



Can you go alone? Or with others?
Yes and yes. You can join us individually or with a significant other. We also have many families and groups of friends and colleagues join our volunteer trips as well. We are flexible.

And, as we understand that people 50 years and older may have different needs than our volunteers in their 20s, 30s and 40s, we are glad to offer the following extra resource for volunteers 50 years and older:

  • As long as the private rooms are not already taken, couples, for example husbands and wives or pairs of significant others, are welcome to room together in a private room, in most locations at no additional cost. If you are traveling alone, you might also be able to stay in a private room for an additional cost, depending on availability. Simply let us know when you apply that you would like your own private room and we will try to accommodate you. Please note that in certain locations, for example the Amazon, Ecuador and Galapagos, Ecuador, our supply of private rooms is very limited.


How do you apply?
Each person volunteering with UBELONG should submit their own application. If you are coming with others, in the “additional information” section of the application each person should let us know who is part of their group so we know you are all together.

See our full how to apply section here.


A few of our locations at a glance
While all our volunteer locations across Africa, Asia and Latin America have had people 50 years and older join, here are some of our most popular locations for seniors:


Volunteer in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
People over 50 years old can pick from a variety of volunteer projects in Cambodia, including volunteering in an animal shelter, microfinance organization, school, clinic and various NGOs that work across areas like women’s empowerment and land rights.

In Phnom Penh you can live in a Volunteer House or with a local host family. Please note that, at the Volunteer House, we do not offer private rooms.



Game on for Mike, a retired corporate lawyer from the United States!


Phnom Penh is a very dynamic city that combines comforts of the Western world with traditional Asian culture. Many seniors like volunteering in Cambodia because of the breadth of our programs there, as well as the city’s fast-paced nature and access to many offerings, for example excellent restaurants, coffee shops and touristic sights. Phnom Penh also has a large expat and foreign NGO network that many senior UBELONG Volunteers tap into when they arrive. Learn more about volunteering in Cambodia with UBELONG.



Volunteer in Hanoi, Vietnam
Hanoi is a very popular location for senior UBELONG Volunteers. Hanoi is Vietnam’s bustling capital city, yet it still maintains a very traditional and more mellow vibe compared to other Asian cities like Bangkok or Ho Chi Minh City.

Volunteers in Hanoi have many opportunities to serve on a very grassroots level tackling challenges related to children’s education and urban poverty. They live in the Volunteer House, which is located in the center of town. Please note that at the Volunteer House in Hanoi, we do not offer private rooms. 

Hanoi has all the amenities of a big city and offers an incredible array of activities, including art shows, great restaurants, museums and countless opportunities to walk around and experience Vietnamese culture at its finest. Learn more about volunteering in Vietnam with UBELONG.


“I have so many wonderful memories, it’s hard to choose just one. Every time I look back on the pictures of my time there I get a huge smile.” -Deborah Chamberlain, UBELONG Vietnam volunteer from the United States – read her interview here.


Volunteer in Rabat, Morocco
Rabat is a fascinating city. It combines Morocco’s old-world charm with great beaches and a year-round mild climate. The Moroccans are famous for their friendly and welcoming demeanor, and many seniors enjoy their time volunteering in Rabat because of all the conveniences this modern city offers.

The caregiving, education and women’s empowerment volunteer projects are particularly popular among seniors serving in Morocco. Living with host families offers the perfect opportunity to live and experience life in Morocco in a very authentic manner. Most host families in Morocco offer private rooms. Learn more about volunteering in Morocco with UBELONG.



A team of volunteers from Minneapolis volunteering in the women’s empowerment project in Morocco.


Volunteer in Merida, Mexico
Especially for Canadian and American seniors, Merida is a hugely popular destination for seniors. Merida is a beautiful, safe and manageable city, and it is easily reached from Canada and the United States.

The caregiving, education, environment, health and NGO support projects in Mexico are dynamic and perfect for seniors who are looking for a meaningful, hands-on volunteer opportunity to share their talent and make a difference.

The Volunteer House is perfectly situated in the historical center of Merida, and seniors love its laid back vibe, excellent decor and easy, walkable access to the heart of Merida. Depending on availability, private rooms are available in Merida. Learn more about volunteering in Mexico with UBELONG.



Volunteer in Quito, Ecuador
As one of the most popular cities in the world for North American retirees, Quito is a bustling city in the Andes Mountains that offers a wonderful mix of traditional Andean heritage along with modern-day comforts and amenities. Volunteers in Quito have the opportunity to serve with people from disadvantaged backgrounds while also maintaining a comfortable and connected life.

Senior volunteers enjoy living at the Volunteer House in the residential neighborhood of Tumbaco, one of the safest and most convenient parts of town. The house is run by a wonderful local family. Depending on availability, private rooms are available. On the weekends, many UBELONG Volunteers enjoy Quito’s many opportunities to hike, visit traditional art shows and simply get lost in the beautiful traditional neighborhoods downtown. Learn more about volunteering in Ecuador with UBELONG.



Barbara, from Monona, Wisconsin, with some of her students in the teaching English project.


Volunteer in Cusco, Peru
There’s simply no place in the world like Cusco. Nestled high in the Andres Mountains, and the jumping off point to Machu Picchu, Cusco has an incredible energy. Cusco is a small city, yet it offers many rich cultural and dining experiences, as well as excellent outdoor activities like hiking and rafting.

However, beyond the glitter of its many tourists, Cusco faces serious social and environmental challenges. As a volunteer with UBELONG you have the opportunity to create lasting change. Pick from projects in caregiving, education and more.

In Cusco live in a Volunteer House perfectly situated in the center of town, or live with a friendly local host family. Depending on availability, private rooms are available in Cusco.

Learn more about volunteering in Peru with UBELONG.



Gertrud (second from left), from Germany, volunteered with UBELONG for 6 weeks on the medical projects. Here she is with UBELONG’s local team and fellow UBELONG Volunteers.


Helpful links:
All the locations and projects where you can volunteer
Meet some of the people aged 50 and over who have volunteered with UBELONG
How to apply with UBELONG
Apply to volunteer abroad with UBELONG



Grayce, from Minnesota, volunteering in the Galapagos Islands.