International volunteering and other opportunities

UCL Study Abroad is delighted to present a range of summer opportunities for our students. Browse your options below!

International volunteering partnerships

Please find information on our international volunteering partners and their respective offerings below.

If you are accepted onto one of the programmes below, you may be eligible for funding via the Turing Scheme. If so, Study Abroad will contact you directly after your place has been confirmed by Think Pacific, Gotoco or Raleigh International to provide information on funding available and the next steps you will be required to follow.

Think Pacific - Volunteering in Fiji

Think Pacific is a UK social enterprise and registered Fijian charity, which works with local government partners to achieve ethical, responsible and sustainable development in remote Fijian communities, whilst allowing university students to have a safe, structured and rewarding experience.

Their projects are a two-way process, improving the life-skills, global understanding and personal development of both Fijian Youths and international youths through collaborative learning and volunteering.

On a one month or two month team expedition, international volunteers live at the heart of a Fijian village, experience challenges, teamwork and cultural differences and work side-by-side with Fijian youths to discuss, explore and implement sustainable projects to tackle a range of social issues. Topics include public health, mental health, sports development, enterprise start up, employability and life skills which achieve the aims of Fiji’s National Development Plan.

In partnership with the Fijian government Think Pacific's overall goal is to increase access to information, advice and opportunity for youths in rural Fijian communities, whilst empowering young people (Fijian and international) to become more self-confident, culturally astute and empathetic leaders, who can tackle local and global challenges.

Watch the video below to find out more about Think Pacific:

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Registration fee: £195.00

One-month programme: £1,695.00

Two-month programme: £3,295.00

Students are encouraged to fundraise over the course of the year to reach their targets. Think Pacific will provide resources and guidance to participants to assist in this effort. The programme fee does not cover flight costs, but eligible participants are encouraged to apply to the Global Experience Bursary for additional support. Please note that the Global Experience Bursary will only provide a contribution to your costs.

How to apply

To apply, you will have to complete a short online application. Following submission of the online application, Think Pacific will contact you to arrange a phone call so one of the team can have a chat with you about your application and discuss the programme in greater depth. 


Aslam Bin Norhan from Psychology and Language Sciences participated in the programme over the summer of 2018. Watch his testimonial and hear about his experiences in Fiji below:

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Further information on Think Pacific can be found at the following links: 

Information Session

Think Pacific will be on campus again in February. Join us for the information session to learn more about the opportunities available.

Date: 10th February 2022

Time: 4pm

Location: Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building.

Sign up via Eventbrite.

Gotoco - Volunteering in China

Please note that due to current COVID restrictions in China, opportunities are being offered in other countries.

About Gotoco

Gotoco is a social enterprise devoted to providing students with impactful and affordable global work experience and adventure travel opportunities. Gotoco is committed to promoting cultural awareness and quality English education through a variety of projects that link Europe and North America to China.

Growing out of their experience on summer camps in Yangshuo, Guangxi in 2011, the Gotoco team has built up an extensive network of summer camp partners all over China. Danny and Richard, two of Gotoco’s co-founders, first met on their Chinese Studies course at the University of Oxford and formed a strong friendship with Lisha, the third co-founder, on their year abroad in Beijing in 2012.

Danny, Lisha and Richard founded Gotoco to make international cultural exchange, travel and TEFL certification more accessible and affordable, and to provide students with unforgettable summer experiences.

You can find lots of 5* reviews from past Gotoco’ers on Trustpilot and Go Overseas.

To find out more, watch the videos below:

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There are no fees to participate. Accommodation and food are provided by the camps, and TEFL certification is fully funded. Students are expected to cover their own travel and visa costs. You can find full information regarding costs on the Gotoco website.

Eligible students can also apply for the UCL Global Experience Bursary to help with the costs.

How to apply

To apply, you will have to complete an online form via the Gotoco website.

You will be asked to provide general application information, and to upload your CV/resume and photo. Successful candidates will have an online interview with prospective projects in China before Gotoco lets you know where you’ll be heading next summer. Gotoco will confirm your place on their programmes as quickly as possible.

Final location details are usually confirmed from March-June as this is when the summer camps confirm their teams.

Further details

For more information please visit the Gotoco website.

Raleigh International (part of Raleigh internation will be closing at the end of 2022) 

Study Abroad are delighted to announce a new international volunteering partner for 2021 and beyond. We will now be working with Raleigh International who provide international volunteering opportunities in Costa Rica, Nepal and Scotland.

About Raleigh International

Raleigh International is a youth-driven organisation supporting a global movement of young people to take action that creates solutions to the world’s most urgent problems.

Raleigh empower young people with the skills, experience, and connections to be leaders of change. One of the ways they do this is through Raleigh Expedition, an international volunteering programme for 17-24 year olds from around the world.

Volunteers on the programme are supported in creating long-lasting change through hands-on projects that help to tackle environmental issues, improve access to water and sanitation facilities and increase access to educational facilities. Expedition teams work in remote, rural locations alongside local communities – the marginalised ‘last mile’ of development that many other charities do not reach.

Raleigh has over 36 years’ experience of delivering responsible, international volunteering programmes. More than 50,000 people from over 100 countries have taken part in their programmes and initiatives.

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How does it work?

Raleigh runs summer Expeditions for 4 and 5 weeks in Costa Rica, Nepal and Scotland. The programmes are ideal for people that want to make a meaningful impact in a short space of time, while exploring a new country and culture.

On a Raleigh Expedition, you’ll join a team of like-minded young people (aged 17-24) from all around the world and get involved in the issues you care about.

Read more about the Cost Rica Expeditions.

Read more about the Nepal Expeditions.

Read more about the Scotland Expeditions.

On Expedition you will:

  • Work on sustainable projects that create lasting change in remote communities. All project work will contribute to achieving the United Nations’ Global Goals for Sustainable Development (SDGs).
  • Work alongside host country volunteers to ensure maximum long-term and sustainable impact.
  • Live in a homestay in a rural community and immerse yourself in new cultures.
  • Take part in an exhilarating Adventure Leadership trek which offers the chance to develop leadership, communication and team working skills; test your mental strength and resilience, as well as provide time for personal reflection.
  • Be part of an experiential and immersive learning experience that will include team reviews, debriefs, journaling, 1-2-1s, leadership opportunities and active learning sessions.
  • Develop essential teamwork, active citizenship, language exchange, and intercultural skills and knowledge that can benefit you when applying for future jobs.

Where could I go?

Raleigh currently run Expeditions in Costa Rica, Nepal and Scotland. Raleigh has offices in each country with a team of staff ready to keep you safe and ensure you create maximum impact whilst you volunteer.

These countries have been chosen because they have large youth populations and volunteers can make the greatest impact. They face issues relating to water and sanitation and are heavily affected by climate change. Raleigh work in rural areas because the people that live there are often the most marginalised. They tend to have poorer access to basic services, lower education levels and a worse standard of living than those in urban areas. Women and children are often the most disadvantaged.

How long do the placements last?

Raleigh run four and five week Expeditions over the summer.

How much does it cost?

Four week Expedition: £2,250

Five week Expedition: £2,590

As a charity, Raleigh talk about fundraising rather than costs, and encourage everyone to do some fundraising for their Expedition. There are also several Trusts and Foundations that offer funding for young people to engage in international volunteering.

When you sign up for Expedition, you will be assigned a Volunteer Coordinator who will prepare you for your programme and support you with reaching your fundraising target.

The fundraising targets will include in-country training, airport transfers, project equipment, health insurance, food, and accommodation. You will need to arrange your flights, visas, and vaccinations.

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

Four and five week Expeditions run throughout the summer and are very popular amongst university students. You are advised to apply for these programmes several months in advance to guarantee your place, and to give you sufficient time to fundraise and plan for your trip.


Take a look at Raleigh International’s website for more information or attend one of their Expedition information events to find out more about the programme and the impact you could make volunteering overseas. You can also watch our recent Raleigh info session and complete this form online to receive more information from Raleigh.

Or if you’re ready to take action, apply now!

Other international volunteering opportunities 

These are our first international volunteering partnerships, but we anticipate that we will add to this in future. In the meantime, if you are considering an alternative international volunteering opportunity, the Students' Union Volunteering Service has some advice and useful links to get you started.

Other international opportunities

Generation UK - China

Think of China and you can’t help but be drawn into its rich history – the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terracotta Warriors. But the focus in China is very much on the future, and now it’s established itself as a truly global economy, there are plenty of opportunities to experience this dynamic and vibrant country.

Through Generation UK, the British Council has opened up a range of opportunities in China, giving you the chance to experience this unique country while gaining valuable skills for the future.

Internships in China

Give yourself the edge when it comes to applying for jobs through a two-month internship in China. You can choose your own work sector, which of six booming cities you want to work in and a start date that suits you.

Study in China

Learn Mandarin and get a deeper understanding of China by studying at a Chinese university with a Generation UK scholarship. Scholarships are for five to 12 months of study, in various locations across China, and in a combination of different subjects.

Teach in China

With year-long, paid placements and light teaching hours, becoming a Language Assistant is a unique way to experience China and develop essential transferrable skills. Experience of working in China is in huge demand in the workplace and as well as the language, you will develop a great cultural understanding of this fascinating country.

Research in China

Complete your doctoral study in China! UK PhD students and supervisors can spend a period of study of three to 12 months at higher education institutions in China with the UK-China PhD Placement Programme. Grants cover flights, accommodation, insurance, tuition, and a living stipend.

For more information visit the Generation UK - China website.

Short summer and winter courses in Russia

Please note: Due to the ongoing invasion of Ukraine these placements are likely to be disrupted. The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises against all travel to the whole of Russia due to the lack of available flight options to return to the UK, and the increased volatility in the Russian economy.

Deepen your subject knowledge and gain international experience through a short-term summer or winter course at a university in Russia.

UK students can apply to undertake a short-term course in Russia, spanning a range of disciplines including architecture, aerospace science, energy, technology science, management, and law. Courses are delivered in English.

UK students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level are eligible to apply.

Russian language skills are not required as the course delivery is in English.

For more information please see the British Council Website