UPDATED May 16, 2022


In accordance with updated travel guidelines by the CDC, our “cautious and conscientious” approach in scheduling volunteers to return to our partner communities has enabled us to resume work in most countries. Our primary concern is protecting the health and safety of our generous volunteers and the local children and families we serve. Volunteers must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. U.S. citizens considering traveling abroad should review the US State Department Travel Advisory for their destination(s).

No transfer fee if you register now and reschedule within two years of the original service program start date.

Global Volunteers’ Considerations for Resuming Service Programs in the U.S. and Abroad

In collaboration with our local community partners, and in response to volunteer surveys, focus groups and personal conversations, we began opening programs in 2021 according to health and travel guidance and advisories from trusted authorities including the US State Department, US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization with these contingencies:


  • Community partners’ requests for program resumption
  • U.S. State Department travel advisory level for each country
  • The host country’s entry status and quarantine rules
  • Local government health and safety regulations
  • The partner community’s ability to adhere to COVID-19 protocols
  •  Logistical arrangements, such as lodging, meals and transportation. Note: Because all volunteers will be vaccinated for COVID-19, social distancing is not required among volunteers but is encouraged.
  • Ability for volunteers to provide a genuine service within COVID-19 restrictions.

“The only concern I had about returning to Tanzania was how soon I could get there.”  Leslie Apony, 2-time Tanzania volunteer

“I just want to say that for, for me, the reason I began doing this in the first place was I wanted to give something back. What actually, I got out of it was the human connection.  And never more than this year, have I needed or wanted the human connection that I’ve gotten from this program every single time. I’m ready for that again.”  Ken Higgins, 4-time volunteer

“As soon as I saw the Peru Program was open, I registered myself, my son and my good friend to return and help the children recover from the effects of the pandemic.”  Casey Brooksby, 2-time Peru volunteer


First, all communities have asked that we send only fully vaccinated volunteers. Consequently, only those individuals who have been fully vaccinated may volunteer during this time.

Second, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) offers very specific guidelines for vaccinated individuals interacting with unvaccinated people. As the science about living alongside the virus evolves, the guidelines continue to change. Global Volunteers will follow the guidelines in place at the time of your service program.

Global Volunteers’ mantra is “safety trumps everything.” This means we do everything reasonable to create a safe environment for you and all volunteers. However, as is the case during all Global Volunteers service programs, each volunteer is responsible for their own safety and must likewise help protect the safety of their teammates and the local people. Global Volunteers will require all volunteers to comply with the CDC’s COVID-19 guidelines and to honor and respect the local communities’ COVID-19 requirements. We ask you to bring your own hand sanitizer, masks, and other personal safety resources. Your team leader will have supplemental resources on site.

If a government (U.S. or host country) requires a COVID-19 test before departure, most international airlines are accommodating their passengers with these tests. Where airlines do not provide this service, Global Volunteers will assist volunteers in getting a test at a local facility. Each volunteer is responsible for their own expenses related to COVID-19 testing.

First, in all circumstances where a host country’s sudden actions would delay your returning home, Global Volunteers’ policy is to assist you in finding appropriate accommodations and help you rearrange your travel when possible. Any expenses you incur because of a quarantine or other conditions that impact your ability to return home are your responsibility.

Second, the U.S. government has never denied American travelers’ re-entry into the U.S., and there is no reason to believe that this policy may change now. However, if this is a serious concern for you, we recommend you postpone your service until a later date.

The CDC reports that it is extremely unlikely for a vaccinated person to contract or transmit COVID-19. However, if you or any volunteer shows COVID-19 symptoms, you will be referred and transported to a local medical facility. Because you are responsible for any medical costs incurred, we recommend you confirm with your health insurance company before leaving home that your medical expenses would be covered. We also recommend your purchase a supplemental travel medical insurance policy.

Volunteers who previously registered for a service program which was canceled due to COVID-19 and then transferred to a service program scheduled for 2021 or 2022, may apply their contributions to another service program beginning before December 31, 2023.

No fee will be charged for new service program registrations that are rescheduled within two years of the original service program date.

Service Program refunds are based on the cancellation date:

Over 60 days: $350 deposit is not refunded. 100 percent of balance is refunded
60 to 30 days: $350 deposit is not refunded. 55 percent of balance is refunded.
Less than 30 days: $350 deposit is not refunded. 25 percent of balance is refunded.

For more details, please see our  Policies, Terms and Conditions page.

No. We don’t require additional medical or travel insurance; however, we always strongly recommend that each volunteer purchase such an insurance policy. Please read the fine print on these insurance policies because some policies include exceptions/exemptions for COVID-19.

Families have endured diminished resources during an extended period of stress. Your presence in partner communities is needed now more than ever.

women's cooperatives in Tanzania

We strive to wage peace and promote justice by connecting volunteers in meaningful and impactful service to children and their communities. Our work has continued during the pandemic through frequent online consultations with our U.S. and international staff – who are in place to scale up our field operations as appropriate. Volunteers’ continued support has helped families and children endure the hardship of diminished resources during this extended period of stress.  Your presence in their communities is needed now more than ever.

On-Site Safety and Security Precautions During the Pandemic

In addition to our standard health and safety practices at all lodging and work sites, our local staff, partners and team leaders are taking these additional precautions to prepare for volunteers’ return:

Mandatory mask use and physical distancing

Face masks and physical distancing will be required at the work sites, according to local precautions.  Volunteers teaching conversational English should bring with them transparent masks, such as ClearMask which permit natural, empathetic communication and eliminates barriers of cloth masks. Physical distancing will be enforced during meals and team meetings.

Enhanced Sanitation

Soap and clean water for handwashing, and antibacterial spray and wipes are available at the lodging, dining and work sites.

Single Accomodation Option

Where possible, volunteers can purchase a single supplement (with options for rooming with members of your household).

Team Health Checks

The team leader routinely monitors the health status of team members. Any COVID-19 symptomatic volunteer will be isolated from the team and local people until they are evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Healthcare Facility Access

On all service programs, team leaders and volunteers are advised of the distance to, contact information of, and procedure for accessing nearby healthcare facilities. Additional instruction will be conducted during orientation and provided in volunteer preparation materials.

US Citizen Services Registration

Volunteers will be provided instructions for individual registration with the U.S. Embassy prior to departure from the US.

Call 651-407-6100 to speak to a service program expert!