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Start Dates for Projects Abroad

Volunteer teaching in Sri Lanka

Generally speaking, you can start any project on any day. When you apply, you will specify the start and end dates. Our projects run year round and have volunteers arriving almost every day.

Since our projects sometimes depend on the local holiday calendar, there are brief occasions when normal project work is suspended. For example, schools often close for long winter/summer holidays. During these times, we arrange for alternative work projects that are similar in substance to our ongoing projects, but address the short-term, direct needs of the local communities. For example, during the summer holiday (January – early March) on our Peru Teaching Project, volunteers run a teacher training course for local ESL instructors.

If you would like to arrange your start and end dates around the local holidays, please call us at 1 877 921 9666 or email us at In addition, you will also have the opportunity (after you are accepted into the program) to speak with your Volunteer Advisor about local holidays.

How do travel dates work?

For all of our Standard Projects, your project starts the moment you begin travelling from your home country to your chosen destination. You will be fully covered by our insurance during this time, until you return home. If you would like to extend your trip for independent travel before or after your volunteer placement, you have the option of extending your insurance cover. If you would like to do this, please let us know when you apply.

Group Trips for Students

Teaching in Peru

There is one exception to our “any start date” policy: We arrange various group trips for students of many different ages. Since these are group trips, everyone starts and finishes on the same dates – which are outlined clearly on their respective webpages.  Our High School Specials are for high school students.  Our Global Gap program is a year-long program for students taking a gap year between high school and university. Our Alternative Spring Break Trips are for university students.

Seasonal Group Trips

Projects Abroad also has another exception to the ‘any start date’ policy: Our Winter Break Trips are structured programs for volunteers of all ages (including students and professionals) which take place between 1-4 weeks. Like our other group trips, everyone starts and finishes on the same dates. These dates are clearly outlined on the project pages.

Group Trips for Volunteers Over 50

Our Grown-up Specials are worthwhile short-term group trips for established professionals and retirees over the age of 50. Each trip has set dates, so all participants arrive and leave at the same time, and work together in the community for 2-4 weeks. In addition, the programs all follow a set schedule designed by local staff to maximize volunteers’ impact in the short time they are abroad.

When should I apply?

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis, so there is no firm deadline for applications. Some countries and projects require at least three months to process an application, arrange for visas, and advise you properly on how to prepare. Other countries can be processed in as little as three weeks.

Whenever you are thinking of travelling, we encourage you to apply as early as possible. Having more time to prepare makes it easier for you to fundraise, and for us to advise you on preparations. It also makes more options available for tailoring a program to your individual interests and preferences.

What if I want to go very last-minute?

If you decide to go with us at the last minute, give us a call at 1 877 921 9666 to see how quickly we can arrange everything for you - depending on the project, we can sometimes work miracles.

What is the minimum duration of a project?

It depends on the project. Most have a minimum duration of 4 weeks, but some are available for shorter durations. Check our prices page to see if a shorter trip is possible for your project of interest.

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