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17-24

Raleigh Expedition

Life changing volunteer abroad programmes for young people on our Raleigh Expeditions in Costa Rica and 
South Africa.

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What is Raleigh Expedition?

Raleigh Expedition is a truly unique international volunteer experience for young people (17-24). You can take part in different projects, equip yourself with new skills, create lasting change and work with communities to take urgent action on the world’s most important issues.

Whether you are taking a gap year or want to do something meaningful in your summer, join young volunteers from across the world and a community of thousands of Raleigh Alumni.

“33 years on from Expedition I still feel the positive impact.”

Terry | Raleigh Alumni

Where can I join an Expedition?!

We currently offer two different countries for our Expeditions.

READ: Which Expedition is right for me?
Green map vector of Costa Rica

Costa Rica

Costa Rica in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, home to national parks, volcanoes and stunning landscapes. Be culturally immersed in an indigenous community while on projects supporting access to education, and conquer a whopping 250km trek across beautiful rainforest and mountain areas.

Learn more about Costa Rica projects
Green map vector of South Africa

South Africa

There is nowhere better than Greater Kruger to walk in the footsteps of the world’s most spectacular wildlife. Become one with local community life and the African bush on community and environment projects, and experience South Africa’s highest mountains whilst trekking the incredible Drakensberg Mountains.

Learn more about South African projects

What makes Raleigh Expeditions unique?

Volunteering with Raleigh International is an immersive, one-of-a-kind experience. Described by our volunteers as “absolutely life-changing”, it’s a journey you will never forget. Don’t expect tourist hotspots, five-star hotels and 24/7 wifi (we are all about the digital and alcohol detox); instead, expect a memory-making adventure full of fun, rewarding experiences and real world connection.

Be with people your age

Apart from team leaders and staff, you will be grouped with people aged 17-24. This is unique to Raleigh.

A community environment like no other

We're no phones programme so you can share the experience fully with the same group during your trip. Learn to support each other and make friends for life.

Varied experiences

You will have the opportunity to take part in up to three phases contributing to community and environmental projects allowing you to gain more skills and experiences.

Diverse and Inclusive

Volunteers join diverse teams of young people from across the globe as well as volunteers from the country you are based in.

Real adventure

We're booze-free and adventure filled. Raleigh Expedition is an exciting and fun experience that will push you out of your comfort zone (in a safe environment!).

Future ready

Gain the skills, confidence and perspective to play a leading role in building a better and more sustainable world for everyone.

Over 25 and looking for a Venturer Manager role?

Our Venturer Managers (VM) are the driving force behind the Expedition and are vital to ensuring the programmes run smoothly and effectively. You can apply for these roles on the main application page.

Volunteering is a life changing experience. You not only learn life lessons and help make an impact on the world but also gain experience.

AnnaRaleigh Alumni

Need more information about Expedition?

Book a call

Not decided yet and need help? Arrange a call with us at a time that works for you and we’ll answer your questions.

Join an online info event

Have your questions answered, meet other volunteers and find out what Expedition is really like from an alumni.

Download a guide

Find out all about Raleigh International and Expedition in our helpful information guide.

How does a Raleigh Expedition work?

Three project phases of an Expedition

You can get involved in up to 3 phases: Community, Environmental and Trek. For further information of what a 10-week Expedition could look like, download a Guide.

01. Community Project

Help find sustainable solutions to issues such as poverty, low levels of education and food insecurity.

Our community projects contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN: GOAL 2: Zero Hunger; GOAL 3: Good Health and Well-being and GOAL 4: Quality Education.

This could involve providing safer places for children to study by constructing school buildings in indigenous communities or aiding their education through teaching assistance and building playgrounds. Some of our projects involve setting up and maintaining co-operative farming initiatives to supply extra meals for children and the communities.

You will also take part in planning action days and raising awareness activities with the community on topics such as waste management and climate action.

02. Environmental Project

Play a crucial role in physical conservation efforts within national parks and private reserves.

Our environmental projects contribute to the following Sustainable Development Goals set by the UN: GOAL 15: Life on Land  and  GOAL 13: Climate Action.

Your tasks can include the following: removing invasive plant species, clearing debris like old fences and wires, building protective boundaries, and conducting snare sweeps to protect wildlife from poaching. Additionally, volunteers plan action days for local communities in the surrounding areas, working closely with local rangers and organisations to raise environmental awareness and promote sustainable practices.

The projects encompass creating and restoring healthier ecosystems by tackling invasive plant species, addressing soil erosion, and managing habitats. You can also contribute to reducing human-wildlife conflicts through education, snare-sweeping, and technical solutions. You will contribute to waste management initiatives aim to mitigate pollution in water systems, national parks, and adjacent communities.

03. Adventure Leadership

Take on a challenging adventure leadership trek through rainforests and up mountains.

This will take you on a journey of personal growth that will continue for the rest of your life. No matter your trekking experience, everyone starts and finishes the trek together – come rain or shine! Supporting one another, not giving up and sharing your achievements together will be some of your Expedition’s most memorable and defining moments.

In addition to embarking on awe-inspiring treks spanning up to 260km across stunning landscapes, volunteers will take on essential roles during trek. This includes being a part of the Day Leader and Navigator ROTA, where they lead the strategic planning and execution of trekking objectives, such as reaching designated food drop-off points, all while ensuring the team’s welfare under the guidance of Volunteer Managers. Furthermore, participants will contribute to the cleaning and cooking ROTA, actively participating in the daily expedition routines.

The Raleigh Impact

Over the years Raleigh has made some significant impacts on communities, the environment and people

100
Over 100,000 people now have long-lasting access to safe and accessible hygiene facilities and access to toilets, handwashing and drinking water.
74
of volunteers feel happier after being without their phones during Expedition. 63% said they had improved mental health.
65
Volunteers have built or rehabilitated more than 65km of trails and conservation infrastructure
500
Over 500 rural households supported to protect income from environmental challenges.

Why choose Raleigh?

Raleigh International are committed to transformative volunteer experiences with long-lasting cultural and environmental impact. Our projects are developed alongside local communities to ensure our work is ethical, responsible, and relevant to the needs of these communities.

With over 40 years of experience running Expeditions for young people, Raleigh International offers real adventure without compromising safety.

  • Raleigh is a global community of over 55,000 alumni and supporters from over 100 countries
  • Volunteers have contributed to over 100 million volunteering hours on 600+ Expeditions.
  • We have worked alongside 198 rural communities reaching 100,000 people
“The togetherness and the acceptance, the hard work and the culture is (Raleigh’s) intrinsic value.”

Joanna | Volunteer Manager

Raleigh Expedition Locations

We currently offer two different countries for our Expeditions

Costa Rica

Volunteer in one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, home to national parks, volcanoes and stunning landscapes. The country’s national motto, ‘pura vida’ (pure life), is more than just a saying but a way of life. 

View Costa Rica ExpeditionSign up now

South Africa

The Greater Kruger area lies between Mozambique, Eswatini and the world-famous Kruger National Park. This area encapsulates Africa at its heart. It is a wildlife haven with natural beauty unlike anywhere else. 

View our South Africa programmesApply for your space

Expedition Length

With 3 different expedition lengths you are sure to find a programme that fits.

Read more about the different Expediton lengths and what’s involved.

10 WEEKS

The 10-week programme is the most immersive of our Expeditions. You will take part in all three project phases, in three locations and with three different groups.

Prices from £4,395$5,970$5,570$5,570

7 WEEKS

If you don’t have as much time, the 7-week programme is a great option. You will take part in two different phases – one trek and one project – in two different locations, with two different groups.

Prices from £3,930$5,380$4,980$4,980

4 WEEK SUMMER EXPEDITION

These special Expeditions run only between June and September. 4 weeks will allow you to participate in one full project and a shorter trek. Perfect for a summer break.

Prices from £2,585$3,680$3,280$3,280

“My experience on my Raleigh Expedition has given me foundational skills and confidence in my next life choices.”

Marie | Raleigh Alumni

WHO

Who can go on a Raleigh Expedition?

WHEN

When can I go on an Expedition?

Sign up now

How will Raleigh Expedition benefit my personal development?

Through a Raleigh Expedition, you will gain new knowledge and unique experiences. These support University applications and personal statements as well as help develop character and invaluable life skills.

Personal development

  • Leadership
  • Initiative
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Self-awareness
  • Mental resilience
  • Endurance

Professional and educational development

  • Problem solving
  • Committment
  • Communication skills
  • Team working and collaboration
  • Planning

Culture learning

  • Understanding of global issues
  • Cultural understanding
  • Experience and learn different languages

Raleigh volunteers go on to make a difference long after Expedition. 7,625 young people have developed entrepreneurship skills and started more than 2,000 micro-enterprises which give them sustained, safe, fair and dignified work opportunities.

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