career breaks & volunteer holidays

Volunteering can be an excellent opportunity for a career break abroad or a very different holiday - it allows you to experience a completely different way of life while applying your skills to a worthwhile cause.

Volunteer on a Career Break Abroad at a Wildlife Care Centre

“I loved my time in South Africa! First hand experience of working on a game reserve - from darting animals to clearing swathes of bush by hand - was great! The experiences provided exactly the invigorating contrast to regular office/desk-based life that I was looking for, and a great insight to conservation work... I certainly haven't rushed back to quit my job, pack up and ship out, but it's been a great step back from day to day life and a chance to take stock of my objectives and priorities. I'd recommend a career break to anyone who gets the chance - but you may find 3 months isn't enough!” Pippa Goodman

What is a Career Break or Sabbatical?

A career break or sabbatical lets you take an extended leave from work - usually 2-6 months - with the option of returning to your previous position at the end of it. Some employers offer a career break or sabbatical scheme as a general perk to employees, or as a way of dealing with a situation of being temporarily overstaffed. Other employers offer it on the condition that employees use the sabbatical to gain new skills and further personal development. If your employer does not yet offer a career break or sabbatical scheme, it is always worthwhile suggesting it!

Why volunteer during a career break?

Many people opt to take a career break to get a fresh perspective on things and volunteering abroad can open your eyes to a completely different way of life. Compared to just taking a two week holiday, a sabbatical affords you the time to experience a country “from the inside”. Volunteering lets you do just that by becoming directly involved, working alongside local people and making a valuable contribution. Volunteering in your career break can present you with rewarding challenges, as you adapt to a new environment and learn skills you would never have imagined.

Which projects are suitable?

African Conservation Experience work with a range of different projects amd most of them are good options for a career break abroad or a volunteer holiday. What it really comes down to is what you are looking for. If you are just looking for a “holiday with a difference” rather than an extended volunteering experience, you could sign up for a two week Game Ranger Guide Course or Wildlife Tracking Course. The courses are also an excellent way to start an extended experience at one of the other projects - they’ll give you a fantastic foundation knowledge which will enrich your further experience.

For longer volunteering breaks, you could join any of the wildlife management, wildlife care & rehabilitation or marine conservation projects. The projects all vary in their set up and living conditions - some of them can be quite rough and basic. If this is an important consideration for you, chat to one of our team about what your needs and expectations are and we’ll advise you on which project we think would suit you best.