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About international youth volunteering

Group of youth volunteers in Red Cross t-shirts with arms raised

Find out what it means to be an international youth volunteer for the Red Cross.

What would I be doing?

There are a wide range of placements to choose from, all of which have a community focus. You could be volunteering with young people, refugees, people with disabilities or other vulnerable individuals. 

All of our placements are full-time volunteering roles which support Red Cross services in the UK and overseas.


Travel and volunteer allowance

Volunteers receive a monthly allowance to cover living expenses. They are also provided with a return flight to their host country. The programme is funded by the European Commission’s European Voluntary Service scheme.



Living arrangements vary but normally volunteers live in a shared house with other volunteers. Everyone usually has their own bedroom with a shared kitchen and bathroom.


Training and support

We'll arrange training, assign a supervisor to look out for your general well-being and provide ongoing confidential support and 24-hour emergency cover.



Volunteers are entitled to two days of holiday per month of service.



All volunteers are covered by a group insurance policy provided by AXA. This policy is designed to cover your medical needs during your time abroad.


Language learning

For certain placements, language training will be provided. However, this is not a language course and for the majority of placements at least a basic understanding of the language is required. In placements where language lessons are not provided, we can advise you on how to arrange your own. You can agree with your supervisor how to fit these lessons into your weekly timetable.



Every volunteer will get a Youthpass certificate, which proves your participation in the scheme and highlights your achievements.


Who can take part?

We’re looking for people who:

  • are between 18 and 30 years old
  • are legally resident in one of the following countries: Armenia, Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Iceland, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, UK
  • have ideally done some volunteering before
  • will bring commitment and initiative to their work
  • are friendly, flexible and open to new experiences
  • are serious about helping individuals and local communities
  • are willing to learn a new language or improve existing language skills (at least a GCSE or equivalent is required for certain placements)
  • are keen to spend eight to 12 months living and working in another European country.

We are always keen to hear from people who are from under-represented groups or who would not otherwise have access to such international volunteering opportunities.


What skills do I need?

You do not need any specific skills, as volunteers receive necessary training. All you really need is the motivation and commitment to make the most of this opportunity.


How do I apply?

If you live in the UK
If you live in the UK and want to go to another European country, you can choose from our youth volunteering opportunities abroad and then apply via our volunteer vacancies system when recruitment opens for each placement.

If you live in another European country
If you live in one of our European sending partner countries (currently Armenia, Belgium, France, Germany, Spain and Portugal), you need to apply through your own Red Cross National Society. Currently the project only runs with national societies in these countries, and therefore we cannot accept applications from the residents of any other countries.


Who do I contact with questions?

Please email the International Youth Volunteering Coordinator, Shabana Basheer, at

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Youth volunteering true stories

John, 24, volunteered with the Red Cross in Germany at an after-school centre for 360 children.

Morgan Mead describes her experience of volunteering in Iceland with people with mental health issues.

Sona Gevorgyan from Armenia volunteered with the Red Cross fundraising team in Surrey.