This is not a commonly used option, but you can use it to get a roof over your head for a few months up to 2 years. I have one friend who combines this with house-sitting and couch surfing. If you go with Australian Volunteers Abroad I am told that the stipend is better than unemployment benefit, and living conditions are cheaper, so if you are fit to work and enjoy hard work, it can be a better living option than unemployment in Australia.
It has the added benefit of bringing some meaning into what can be a frustrating and empty life trapped long-term on unemployment benefits or pension.
The best way to approach this is to get onto the Australian Government volunteer program web site. “Assignments” are posted on the website and you can arrange for email alerts when the assignments are posted
Then you proceed as if you are applying for work. It will take some time, so make sure you have somewhere to stay in the meantime.
Take the time to cruise around the site, read about projects and people’s first hand experiences. It is a serious commitment that could be very rewarding if undertaken in the right spirit.
Some of the charities also arrange for volunteers overseas, although often for shorter times.
How you can help us and other readers
Have you volunteered abroad? Please tell us your experiences and your tips and tricks on the contact form at the bottom of the page, and let us know what we have missed. This website is in its early days and we rely on those in the know to make it the best it can be.