2020 applicants
Study Abroad

Volunteering and other opportunities

Find your global experience

Discover the perfect opportunity to spend a summer volunteering abroad. We've got a range of programmes to suit your needs and give you the best experience possible. In this section we also share other opportunities.

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Volunteering abroad is a great way to get experience and give something back. We have a range of opportunities on offer.

The providers below are our "preferred providers" meaning that we have assessed their programme and built a relationship with them. We believe that their programmes are unique, offer good value for money and we regularly collect feedback from students to make sure we can confidently recommend the programme to other students.

If you are aware of a programme that you'd like to see added to our list - please contact us via stpabroad@essex.ac.uk.

Volunteering providers

Wildlife Sense - Greece 

Wildlife Sense is a sea turtle research and conservation organisation based on the beautiful island of Kefalonia, Greece. Its mission is to protect endangered sea turtles and their natural habitats, offer a unique learning experience to the volunteers who join its efforts, and promote public awareness.

How does it work?

Essex is partnered with Wildlife Sense to provide this incredible opportunity. Wildlife Sense host two programmes which allow Essex students to receive a €50 discount. You can take part in the programme on different dates, but you won't receive the discount, and you may not be in a group with other Essex students.

What will I be doing?

As part of a team, you will survey the beaches of Kefalonia to find and protect sea turtle nests. You will cycle to the beaches in the early morning, walk along the sand looking for fresh turtle nests, then mark, measure, and protect all nests that were laid during the previous night. The primary goal is to protect sea turtle nests against accidental damage and monitor their progress throughout incubation to the hatching stage. Learn about day to day tasks in the Wildlife Sense Guide.

More details are available about the what to do on the the island of Kefalonia and what you might need to pack and prepare for trip.

How long does the placement last?

Volunteering placements with Wildlife Sense are for two weeks.

Are there any requirements?

  • 18 years of age or older
  • Comfortable riding a bicycle on hilly terrain (3-10km)
  • Attend all training sessions (first 3 days of volunteering period)
  • Communicate effectively in English

Previous experience is not necessary as training will be provided

How much does it cost?

The programme fee is €450 if you take part in the Essex Abroad and Wildlife Sense programme dates. If you choose to go at a different time, the programme fee is €500.

The programme fee includes airport transfers to and from Kefalonia airport on the programme start/end dates, accommodation in shared apartments, researcher t-shirt, use of bicycles, ongoing training and field leader support.

Remember that you'll also need to factor in:

  • Return flights to Kefalonia, Greece
  • Food costs (you can opt in for a shared vegetarian food kitty at €20 per week which is paid on arrival, you cook your own meals with the other volunteers)
  • Personal expenses

When you apply, you'll be asked to pay the full fee within 7 days. You can ask to pay in instalments - to arrange this, contact Wildlife Sense.

When does it take place?

Essex Abroad has organised two programmes with Wildlife Sense. You can apply to volunteer outside of these dates, but you won't receive the discounted programme free.

  • 7 - 21 June 2020
  • 13 - 27 September 2020

How can I apply?

Applications should be made directly to Wildlife Sense. For Essex Abroad programmes, select Argostoli as the destination and 2 weeks as the duration when you apply. To receive the discount input the discount code below in the 'how did you hear about us?' box on the second page of the application.

Discount codes

  • 7 - 21 June 2020 - 7JUNEESSEX
  • 13 - 27 September 2020 - 14SEPESSEX

Preparing to go

For each of the Essex Abroad programmes, there will be a chance to meet other Essex students who are taking part in the volunteering programme. We work closely with Wildlife Sense to make sure that you are included in important communications with information such as travel insurance and fundraising support.

Think Pacific - Fiji

Think Pacific is a Fijian charity and UK social enterprise, working in formal partnership with the Fijian Government to develop grassroots education, sports, and health projects for young people living in remote villages of Fiji.

Think Pacific is the largest student volunteer program in the South Pacific Islands, guiding hundreds of university students each summer through a life-changing journey. Their programmes are creating hugely positive outcomes in Fiji, facilitating local empowerment and local skills training, increasing jobs, and access to information and expanding opportunities for young Fijians.

How does it work?

On a Think Pacific Expedition, you’ll join a team of approximately 20 like-minded students from all over the UK and take on the immense experience of living in a traditional village and contributing to Fiji’s National Development Plan.

Each project is guided from start to finish by Think Pacific’s Expedition Leaders and each day is busy with dynamic activities and initiatives as you work with Fijian youth groups, children, and rural communities to deliver aims on behalf of the Fijian Ministry of Health and Fijian Ministry of Youth and Sports.

You’ll gain over 120 hours of practical work experience in areas of health, education, sports, and youth development, whilst building your own personal development through challenging team-based activities, remote living, and cultural immersion.

Where could I go?

Think Pacific only operates in Fiji, they are a registered Fijian charity with over 80 staff based in-country. They are the Fiji specialists and believe that it’s their unique focus, knowledge, and understanding of these incredible 330 islands that make their projects so special.

How long do the placements last and what do they involve?

Think Pacific’s Youth and Sports Development project is 4 weeks or 8 weeks duration.

Projects include a 2-night resort briefing and training, just under 4 or 8 weeks living in a traditional Fijian village and a final beachside debrief to celebrate and reflect on your achievements, new friendships, and experiences.

Work alongside local youth groups in areas of public health, sports development, life skills, and mental health promotion, opening the first discussions of health and well-being and helping Fijian teenagers and young adults develop their confidence, skills, knowledge, and experience.

Work with children on education programs, after school clubs; extra-curricular activities, sports coaching, and games.

You don’t need any specific skills to join the project as full training, learning materials, and daily guidance is provided by the Think Pacific team, but you do need to come with a learning mindset and a desire to understand Fijian culture and traditional lifestyle and throw yourself into a range of new activities and initiatives.

Living in a Fijian homestay is a truly astounding experience. Each team visits a different village to support the government's aims. The warmth and kindness of the local people is profound. You’ll return with a family and a second home in Fiji.

Throughout each project, you’ll achieve the ‘TP Award’ gaining personal growth, professional enhancement, teamwork, and leadership skills and expanding your international experience and cultural intelligence – all the things employers are looking for from young and ambitious graduates.

How much does it cost?

If your application is successful, you'll be asked to pay a non-refundable acceptance fee of £195 which guarantees your place on the program.

The placement fee varies depending on which program you take part in and how long your placement is. As an example, a 4-week placement is £1,300

The placement fees cover all briefing, workshops, training, transport, materials, homestay accommodation with three meals a day, activities, and excursions such as jungle treks or waterfall visits and 24-hour support. In addition, you'll also need to factor in finances for flights, visas, and insurance.

When do the placements start and when do I need to apply?

Projects run throughout the year. Summer placements are very popular and can get booked up months in advance, so it's best to get your application in and secure your place as soon as you can.


Visit Think Pacific for more details and information on how to apply. Keep an eye out for talks we'll be doing with Think Pacific.

UmPhafa - South Africa

UmPhafa is a Private Nature Reserve in South Africa. In collaboration with Colchester Zoo, they offer internships to people who have a passion and an interest to learn about African Wildlife Conservation and Reserve Management. The internships are run by the Reserve Management Team which ensures that interns are mentored by our most senior and experienced staff members. It is a fantastic and rare opportunity to work alongside a team with many years of experience and gain creditable work experience whilst knowing that the contribution is having a direct influence on the wellbeing of the flora and fauna on the reserve.

How does it work?

Essex is partnered with Colchester Zoo to provide this incredible opportunity. You will apply directly to Colchester Zoo and go alongside a group of Essex students. 

What will I be doing?

Over the two weeks, you will be involved in every aspect of the reserve's management, including animal studies, game counts, reserve maintenance, field patrols, data collection, and night drives. You will also have opportunities to explore the local landscape and get immersed in the local culture.

More details are available about the project in the information pack.

How long does the placement last?

Volunteering placements with UmPhafa run for two weeks.

How much does it cost?

The programme fee is £700 and includes accommodation, three meals per day, airport transfers to/from Durban, orientation, internet access, and excursions.

Remember that you'll also need to factor in:

  • Return flights to Durban, South Africa (you will be responsible for booking your own flights)
  • Getting to and from the airport in the UK
  • Personal expenses
  • Personal kit (specific clothes and equipment)
  • Vaccinations
  • Visa fee (if applicable)

When does it take place?

30 March - 13 April 2021

How can I apply?

Applications are open now. To apply, download and complete the application form. In your application you should state that you heard about this opportunity through Essex Abroad.

Interviews will take place during January 2021 at Colchester Zoo.

Student stands on a promenade whilst watching a large turtle swim in a bay
"Essex abroad enabled me to have one of the best experiences I’ve ever had to date; research, conservation and education has never been more fun"
Sasha Murray volunteered with wildlife sense summer 2019, greece

Other resources and opportunities

Please note these are external opportunities which have been recommended to us by students and university staff. They have therefore not been assessed in the same way that our preferred partner opportunities have. Make you read and understand all the terms and conditions before making any commitments.


Americamps give you the chance to work and earn a salary at one of many American summer camps.  Americamps state they offer the highest salary whilst also providing meals and accommodation whilst you work.


AIESEC is a global youth-led organisation striving to achieve peace and fulfillment of humankind’s potential. Together with partner organisations, AIESEC facilitates cross-cultural exchanges in the form of volunteering experiences and professional internships.

BUNAC Summer Camp USA

Summer Camp USA is your chance to spend the summer living, working as a camp counsellor, and travelling in America. Boost your CV with the most fun job you'll ever have while making friends for life, learning new skills, and getting a unique slice of American culture.


Drop’pin@EURES is the place where companies and organisations can promote and showcase their youth opportunities designed to help young Europeans take their first steps into the labour market.


ErasmusIntern provides an integrated market place that aims at bringing together internship providers and students seeking an internship opportunity abroad.

Eurodesk UK

Eurodesk raises awareness on learning mobility opportunities and encourages young people to become active citizens. Opportunities for learning, internships, volunteering, and grants are available.

European Youth Portal

Information and advice on how to start volunteering. Plus search for opportunities and organisations which are actively looking for volunteers.

European Solidarity Corps

The European Solidarity Corps is the new European Union initiative that creates opportunities for young people to volunteer or work in projects in their own country or abroad, benefitting communities and people across Europe.

International Citizen Service

International Citizen Service (ICS) is a once-in-a-lifetime, UK government-funded programme that brings together young people from the UK and developing countries to volunteer in some of the poorest communities in Africa and Asia. They offer 10 to 12-week placements and, currently, you only need to fundraise £800 to take part in a programme.

Essex abroad
Find out more

We run lots of different sessions throughout the year to provide you with essential information about going abroad. From first year and second year briefings to funding chats and country low-downs, we've got it covered.

Get in touch
Get in touch
For more information about a summer abroad
Telephone: 01206 872198