Volunteering Abroad for University Groups
University groups that volunteer with UBELONG have the opportunity to make a lasting impact while being deeply immersed in a local community. You receive extensive support and mentorship, all at an extremely affordable cost.
“I knew I had to do my research to get my peers on board. UBELONG made that easy being such a trusted, respected and safe group to work with all over the world.” – Renee-Marie Laurent, University of Kentucky, UBELONG Mexico Volunteer from the United States – read her interview here.
What universities serve with UBELONG?
Over the years, UBELONG has welcomed hundreds of university groups onto our volunteer projects. Students have come from universities throughout the world – there are too many to list here, but some of the universities include:
- Bocconi University
- Cornell University
- Freie Universität Berlin
- Harvard University
- Helmut-Schmidt-Universität Hamburg
- Louisiana State University
- McGill University
- New Mexico State University
- Oxford University
- Princeton University
- Sciences Po Paris
- Universidad Complutense de Madrid
- Universidade Nova de Lisboa
- University of California San Diego
- University of Cambridge
- University of Kentucky
- University of Melbourne
- University of Michigan
- University of North Carolina Chapel Hill
- University of Wisconsin-Madison
- Washington and Jefferson College
The university groups who volunteer with UBELONG oftentimes join us over their school breaks, for example spring or summer breaks. Some are self-organized by students, while others are sponsored by a professor and/or a university department, for example a Study Abroad or Alternative Spring Break Office. Either way, we are glad to work with groups to cater to their specific needs – even before you apply, don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions.
University groups choose to volunteer with UBELONG for many reasons. These include our being a social organization dedicated to making lasting change in the communities we support, as well as the affordability of our trips.
The support and structure we offer students is also a critical piece of UBELONG’s value added to university groups. Thinking a group of students can “just show up” in a country and not only be safe and comfortable, but also in a position to make a really social impact is, simply, very poor judgement.
Having the support and structure UBELONG offers has important consequences for the success of a volunteer trip. This applies to safety, emergency management and logistical planning, as well as helping students adopt the proper mindset so they can go into a volunteer project ready to absorb, engage and make a real difference.
When, where and for how long can you go?
All of our volunteer trips are open to university groups. 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.
How do you apply?
Each person volunteering with UBELONG should submit their own application. In the “additional information” section of the application each person should let us know they are part of a group so we know you are all together.
A few of our locations at a glance
While all our volunteer locations across Africa, Asia and Latin America have had university groups join, here are four of our most popular locations for university groups:
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 a special energy. Cusco is a small city, yet it offers many rich cultural experiences, as well as excellent outdoor activities like hiking and rafting, which many university groups build into their itinerary.
However, beyond the glitter of its many tourists, Cusco faces serious social and environmental challenges. University groups volunteering in Cusco with UBELONG have the opportunity to create lasting change. Pick from projects in caregiving, education and more.
University groups can live in a wonderful Volunteer House located in the heart of the city, or they can spread out across host families.
Volunteer in Merida, Mexico
Especially for Canadian and American university groups, Merida is a popular location because it is so easily accessible for them. Merida is a beautiful, safe and manageable city, and the nearby beaches and Mayan ruins are a big draw for university groups.
The caregiving, education, environment, health and NGO support projects in Mexico are hands on, dynamic and perfect for university groups looking to make lasting change.
The Volunteer House is perfectly situated in the historical center of Merida, and volunteers love its laid back vibe, excellent decor and easy, walkable access to the heart of Merida. Learn more about volunteering in Mexico with UBELONG.
“Participating in an immersion experience that allows you to be a part of something big, something impactful, is hard to compete with. UBELONG provided the perfect way to offer this challenge to our students.” – Amanda Saha, University of Kentucky, UBELONG Mexico 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.
The caregiving, education and women’s empowerment volunteer projects are particularly popular among university groups serving in Morocco.
Volunteers live with local host families, which offers the perfect opportunity to live and experience life in Morocco in a very authentic manner. Learn more about volunteering in Morocco with UBELONG.
Volunteer in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
University groups 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.
Phnom Penh is a very dynamic city that combines comforts of the Western world with traditional Asian culture. Many university groups like volunteering in Cambodia because of the breadth of our programs there, as well as the city’s fast-paced nature.
For students interested in development and/or international relations, Phnom Penh is very appealing because there is such a large foreign NGO presence that students can explore while they’re there with UBELONG.
“Life changing and an experience I will treasure forever.” – Ashley Mills, University of California San Diego, UBELONG Cambodia Volunteer from the United States – read her interview here.
What we do not do: “voluntourism” and “factory volunteering”
We do not do “voluntourism” and “factory volunteering,” which are unfortunate ways of travelling that have been perpetuated in recent years by money-driven tourism companies. Some of these are even owned by private equity firms.
While these companies spend millions of dollars on slick advertisements and websites, we believe these companies have little interest in actually making a positive social impact. We believe their goal is to pump as many people as possible into local communities. They have little regards to whether their “volunteers” are making a positive social impact or not, and, in our opinion, they do not properly mentor and support the people who travel with them.
Whether you travel with UBELONG or not, please do your research as you look into providers. We believe that as a responsible traveller you have the duty to only support organizations that are socially minded.