European Solidarity Corps – Information in English

With Eastpackers, you can have a volunteering experience abroad for free. We finance this with a subsidy from the EU (Erasmus+), hence you will not have to pay to participate. In fact, you even get pocket money every month!

This EU program is called 'European Solidarity Corps' and it is a unique opportunity for anyone between 18 and 30 to gain experience abroad. The projects usually last between 5 and 12 months and you can volunteer with one of the 7000 approved organizations spread across all EU Member States and the EU's neighboring countries, including North Africa, the Balkans, Caucasus, Russia and the Middle-East.

Volunteering with the European Solidarity Corps includes:
– Free trip
– Free accommodation
– Free language course
– Free additional health insurance
– Free trainings (3)
– A personal mentor who is always there for you;
+ pocket money
+ compensation for food/drinks
+ reimbursement of any visa costs and vaccination costs

You can find a project in four different ways:

1 Sign up via the ESC website. Here you can leave your details and wishes. The organizations that are looking for volunteers can then contact you if you fit the profile they are looking for.

2. Go to the portal with all organizations that currently have an open vacancy. These are hundreds of organizations that are looking for volunteers for a specific date. These vacancies contain some contact details to apply.

3. Visit the website of our partners who have an open position. These organizations often work exclusively with Eastpackers and offer high quality guidance and an enriching learning experience. The placement can be quite fast with them.

4. Have a look at the large European database in which all organizations participating in ESC projects can be found. This is a database with more than 7000 organizations - not all of them currently have an open vacancy. So you first have to get in touch with them to ask if they have room for you and send an open application.

How to start?

The ESC offers many possibilities. It is sometimes difficult to get an overview of all the options available. The program is also quite popular because of the good financial conditions it offers, so it can be a challenge to find a project yourself.

Eastpackers will help you with this. You will have an intake interview, a personal mentor and a placement guarantee from us. We will help you until you find a project that suits you. We will then arrange your trip, insurance and preparatory training. During your project, we will also keep in touch with you so that you would always get help and support when needed.

You can only join the European Solidarity Corps if you are sent (and accompanied) by an organization from your own country. This way, the European Union guarantees the quality of the program.

Register first via the Eastpackers registration form



Do you want to know how some of the volunteers sent abroad by Eastpackers experienced their ESC time? Read their testimonials here.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Eastpackers do?

We offer the following services:

  • We help you make your choice for a country and type of project
  • We usually have current vacancies available with guaranteed placement
  • Personal in-take interview in the Netherlands (in 7 different cities) to discuss your wishes, talents and expectations and to answer all your questions about international volunteering
  • Skype consultations, email support or telephone assistance as much as you need
  • A personal supervisor who has a lot of experience with international volunteer work and is always there for you -before and during your project.
  • We make sure that you participate in a preparatory training day in the Netherlands free of charge. We also pay for your travel costs for this training.
  • We keep in touch with you during your project and offer our support if necessary
  • We keep in touch with the organization where you volunteer to make sure everything goes well.
  • We help you write a convincing motivation letter in English
  • We help you write a good resume in English
  • Letters of Recommendation for Host Organizations
  • Job interview training in English
  • We are available daily, including evenings and weekends.
  • Preparatory visit to the country, city or project of your choice (optional, additional costs)
Where can you volunteer?

With Eastpackers you can volunteer in more than 50 countries. These are all Member States of the European Union, but there are also many neighboring countries in Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, the Balkans, the former Soviet Union, North Africa and the Middle East. We are the only organization in the Netherlands that offers volunteering experiences with an ESC subsidy in neighboring countries of the EU.

How long does a project last?

When you volunteer with the European Solidarity Corps, you choose an impactful volunteering experience. You immerse yourself in a different culture, learn the language and discover local customs, travel around and really contribute to the work and objectives of a local organization. That is why volunteering projects often last between 5 and 12 months. That is an ideal time to make a real difference. And whether you go for 2, 6 or 12 months, all your costs will be reimbursed. Nonetheless, a longer project is often more fruitful and impactful at many different levels.

Do you have a vulnerable background or health issues, have you never been abroad or do you want to experience if volunteering is something for you? Then you can sometimes qualify for special, short-term projects of 2 to 5 months.

How does the grant work?

In Europe, more than 7,000 organizations are accredited (approved) by the European Union to send or receive young people as volunteers. Eastpackers is one of these organisations. Accredited organizations can apply for a subsidy for this. We only send volunteers and therefore do not receive foreign volunteers in the Netherlands.

All ESC projects are eligible for an EU subsidy. As a participant, you do not have to do anything for this. Your sending organization will arrange the subsidy. Most sending organizations can only send participants to countries within the European Union. Eastpackers is the only Dutch sending organization with an accreditation to also send volunteers to countries outside of the European Union.

We guarantee that you can always find a place within three months. In this way, we make international volunteer work not only affordable, but also extremely flexible.

What are the requirements?
  • You are between 18 and 30 years old
  • You are available for at least five months. In exceptional cases, shorter placements are also possible. Ask for the options available.
  • ESC is not an internship or part of a formal training, hence you cannot do an ESC project to comply with an obligation from your study program.
  • Start planning on time. You have more choice if you start looking for a project at least 3-5 months in advance.
  • You live in the Netherlands. Do you live in Belgium or another country? Then look for a sending organization in that country.
  • You can participate in a long term ESC volunteering project (more than 2 months) only once in your life 

Eastpackers guides you free of charge in all the steps before you leave, during your project and afterwards. You will get a personal mentor who is available 7 days a week. We are available daily from 09:00 to 00:00, we will send you exclusive vacancies every week and we offer a placement guarantee.

To prevent abuse of our efforts, we do ask for a deposit of €75 upon registration. This makes our registration fee one of the lowest in the Netherlands for comparable volunteer work.

You will also receive a full refund of your registration fee if you have completed a project of at least six months with Eastpackers as a sending organization or if you withdraw within 28 days after your registration. You are therefore not committed to anything and your registration is completely non-binding.

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