Alternatives to the Peace Corps

United Planet Offers Many Opportunities to Volunteer Abroad -- From 1 - 52 Weeks!

When you choose to volunteer abroad with United Planet, you become part of a movement to build a better world. We hope you will join us in a journey that will open your mind, your heart, your world.

As an international non-profit organization, United Planet (UP) strives to create a world in which all people understand, respect, and support one another. United Planet's global network of leaders and volunteers fosters cross-cultural understanding and addresses shared challenges to unite the world in a community beyond borders.

United Planet’s Volunteer Abroad program provides an incredibly fulfilling experience for volunteers and valuable support for international communities through local partnerships and:

  • Language immersion
  • Cultural activities
  • Learning excursions

Volunteers of all ages, nationalities and backgrounds are invited to join 1-52 week volunteer abroad programs in over 40 countries worldwide in:

Why volunteer with United Planet?

Are you looking for an alternative Peace Corps experience? United Planet’s volunteer abroad programs may be exactly what you are looking for! The Peace Corps is a terrific program, offering U.S. citizens a chance to become intimately involved in another culture while providing the local community with valuable training and resources. However, the Peace Corps program, which is fully-funded by the U.S. government, does require a 27 month commitment. Unfortunately, not everyone is able to spend two years volunteering abroad.

A United Planet volunteer abroad program offers an alternative to the Peace Corps.  United Planet’s Short-term Quest programs give you a taste of what the Peace Corps is like, which may help you decide whether you’re ready for a longer volunteer commitment. Even during a brief period of time in a host country, you can immerse yourself in a different culture, acquire improved language and cross-cultural communication skills, and impact a community project. Volunteering abroad for any length of time also affords great personal growth while building leadership skills. Some of UP’s alumni later go on to join the Peace Corps or other service learning programs—a testament to how much they enjoyed the United Planet volunteer abroad experience.

Flexibility: Options to the Peace Corps

United Planet’s Quest programs are a great Peace Corps alternative as they offer flexibility in terms of time commitment from 1-52 weeks:


For those who want a longer volunteer abroad experience, but are unable to commit to the Peace Corps, United Planet’s Long-term Quests, from 6 or 12 months, provide a great opportunity to get to know a different culture intimately and make an impact at the community level.  United Planet’s Long-term programs are perfect for gap semesters, bridge years, and those looking to gain experience in a particular field or transition between different careers!

A college degree is not required. Please read more about United Planet’s Long-term Quests in over 30 locations!  If you are looking for a 1-12 week volunteer abroad Peace Corps alternative, please read more about United Planet’s Short-term Quest programs in 16 different locations.

Requirements for Applicants

Since the Peace Corps is funded by the U.S. government, the application and placement process can be long and time-consuming, involving background checks, a medical review, and a time lag between the initial application, acceptance, and date of departure.  Applicants must be U.S. citizens and over 18 years of age. United Planet Short-Term programs are open to those ages 16 and up (depending on the country) and available to all nationalities. United Planet can also accommodate families and volunteers traveling together.

Shared Mission

United Planet shares the Peace Corps’ mission to create responsible global citizens of all volunteers and to foster cross-cultural understanding in a community beyond borders.


“I believe in the positive results that stem from international volunteer experiences – for the volunteer and the host community. That is why after serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in the South Pacific, my career choices led me to United Planet. United Planet’s Quest volunteer abroad programs offer the same cultural immersion and essential volunteer work that the Peace Corps offers, just for various lengths of time. I would not trade my Peace Corps experience or my work with United Planet for anything!”

-Theresa Higgs, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, Niue Island, South Pacific ’00-’01, and Vice President of Global Operations at United Planet