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.

Career break volunteer bonding with a little vervet

“So three months flashed by, I saw amazing things, I learned a lot about animals and conservation, but also about myself. I met some great people, shared some wonderful experiences.... I will get another job, and in the meantime I have memories that will endure for a lifetime. If you reading this are on the cusp of taking the plunge, just do so.” Lucy Marris

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.