Volunteer in Switzerland Opportunities for English speakers

Issue: 1 / 2015
For newcomers and long-time residents alike, volunteering is a way to get involved with inspiring causes and to connect yourself with a like-minded community.

Don't let language barriers slow you down! From cultural events, to sporting events, to charity work, there are many opportunities for English speakers to volunteer in Switzerland.

Don't hesitate to reach out to Swiss events and organizations that interest you. They often have volunteer positions for English speakers, even if they are behind the scenes. If you have even a small second or third language ability, that can go a long way. Contact the organizations you are interested in directly to find out the specifics for their volunteers.

This article is a starter list to give you some inspiration about your opportunities in Switzerland. You will certainly find even more opportunities for English speakers as you begin to look around. Please share your findings in the comment section so we can add them to the list!

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All Switzerland

ICVolunteers – international non-profit specializing in communications and conference support

Salvation Army – international evangelical charity organization  

Swiss Volunteers (DE/FR/IT) – the platform for anyone wishing to get involved in Swiss sport

WWF (DE/FR/IT) – committed to maintaining global biodiversity



Centre Point Basel – helps to integrate English speakers into the local community

Basel Connect – promoting integration of expats in the greater Basel region

Swiss Indoors – October tennis tournament (note: basic German skills are required to volunteers at this event)



Elena Nikitina volunteers at Centre Point Basel, which helps to integrate English speakers into the local community.

"A voluntary job is not only the best way to discover a new environment, this process inspires you for new ideas and may (as in my case) even lead to a job opportunity."



Sarah Schroth volunteers at the SHNIT International Short Film Festival Bern.

"It's amazing to see a small city like Bern come to life around an interesting, international festival like SHNIT. I met so many awesome people volunteering. It was a lot of work, but definitely worth it!"

Photo: © Alejandro Garcia



Shnit International Short Film Festival (DE) – annual international short film festival held in October


100km in Biel – annual marathon through Biel (note: volunteer jobs are limited so get in contact early before the June event)



Morat-Fribourg (DE/FR) – city run between the two cities in October

Kerzerslauf (DE/FR) – March city run in Canton Fribourg



Morat-Fribourg run

The success of this fun city run relies each year on the help of many volunteers, who help with many different aspects of the event.

Photo: © Morat-Fribourg



Serve the City Geneva (STCG)

Melissa (right), an STCG volunteer, makes pancakes at the La Corolle centre for people with light handicaps. With her is Anne (left), one of the residents of the several houses run by L'Arche in the Geneva countryside.

Photo: © STCG



Simply Theatre – Youth acting academy and professional theatre in Geneva and Zurich

Serve the city – partners with many existing organizations serving the poor and marginalized

Cancer Support – provides a welcoming and supportive environment for cancer patients and their loved ones to share their experiences

Geneva International Film Festival – Film festival held in November (note: they prefer volunteers who can speak basic French)


Chernobyl Children's Summer Camp – a non-profit organization offering a fun yearly camp for children from the Chernobyl region



Kevin and Shirley have been supporters of the Chernobyl Children's Summer Camp in Switzerland for nearly 10 years and last year he volunteered for a week at the camp itself.

From Kevin: "I couldn't have asked for a more rewarding week volunteering, peeling and cutting vegetables in the kitchen at the Chernobyl Children's Summer Camp in Vaud. Introducing the kids to Swiss culture was amazing. I'll be back next year!"



Carolyn Luond (right) has been volunteering at Room to Read for five years. The organisation has centres In Rhein Main and Zurich and offers literacy skills and gender equality to millions of children in developing countries.

"I personally volunteer with Room to Read because I believe that learning to learn (and becoming a lifelong learner) is the key to raising people out of poverty."



Lucerne Film Festival – international film festival in November

International Comix-Festival Luzern – annual art festival held in March



Swiss Mountain Film Festival – an August film festival paying tribute to the mountain areas of Switzerland and the world (note: they prefer a bit of German and/or Italian skills as well)



Zugerberg Classic (DE) – mountain bike and running race held in May



Zurich Film Festival – one of the largest film festivals in Switzerland, held in September/October

Wintherthur Short Film Festival – held annually in November

Simply Theatre – Youth acting academy and professional theatre in Geneva and Zurich

Room to Read – focusing on global literacy and gender equality in education

Zurich Marathon – annual marathon, team run and city run held in April (note: some basic German is necessary)


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