Applications for UniVol 2021 are closed!

The UniVol programme is a collaboration between VSA and Otago, Victoria, Massey and Auckland universities. The programme, which has been operating since 2007, provides a great opportunity for selected candidates to volunteer overseas while contributing to capacity building and international development. It also provides amazing personal and professional development opportunities for selected candidates.

The UniVol programme gives graduates a unique opportunity to expand their horizons through volunteering – living and working with partners in the wider Pacific for the experience of a lifetime – transforming their lives as well as the lives of others.

As part of the UniVol programme you will work alongside a local counterpart for 10 months to share your knowledge and skills. All of our assignments are locally identified and are designed to support the local needs of our partner organisations. UniVols work in a variety of roles which include youth work, marketing and communications, administration, IT and computer training, hospitality and tourism, sports development, vet assistance and monitoring and evaluation.

Due to the wide range of assignments available on the UniVol Programme, VSA will consider applications from different academic disciplines and backgrounds.

If you’re adventurous at heart, a resilient problem solver and comfortable collaborating with a broad range of people, we’d like to hear from you.

If you are accepted on to the programme you’ll be offered a 10-month overseas placement with one of VSA’s partner organisations during the academic year, beginning in 2021. 

You will be eligible if you are:

  • enrolled in your final year of university studies (bachelor degree or higher) in either Development Studies, Geography, Marketing, Communications or related disciplines at the following participating universities: Otago, Victoria, and Massey. We will also be accepting applications from students at the School of Social Sciences, University of Auckland.
  • a New Zealand citizen or permanent resident
  • aged 30 years or under on July 31 2020

Please note: partners or dependent children cannot accompany UniVols on assignment.

Key dates:

  • Applications close: Sunday 28 June 2020

  • Interviews:  1 and 2 September 2020

  • Pre-departure briefing: 11-15 November 2020

  • Departure: January/February 2021


Applications are now closed


Find out more:

To find out more, download the 2021 UniVol brochure or see our FAQs

Email inquiries to  

Univol 2021 Brochure (3.5 MB)

VSA’s response to COVID-19
Although we have temporarily put our deployment of volunteers on hold due to COVID-19 restrictions and uncertainties both within New Zealand and across the wider Pacific, we’re continuing to recruit and build our talent pool of prospective volunteers so we can return to supporting our partner organisations and communities in the wider Pacific as soon as we can.
The Volunteer Recruitment team is continuing to work through all our current applications and keep in touch with applicants.

Recruitment will continue although our usual processes will be amended where necessary to ensure social distancing requirements are maintained, such as a greater emphasis on carrying out interviews remotely.
Meanwhile, Programme Managers are working with partner organisations and on updating assignment descriptions. This work will help us determine which skills and experience our volunteers will need once we begin to redeploy people in the Pacific.

UniVol stories - Transforming your life and the lives of others

Laura Todd - Grants and Project Assistant, Bougainville 

Alexandra Linnell - Roving Academic Support Coordinator/ Student Learning Support Coordinator, Papua New Guinea

Issy Hall - Youth Development Assistant (Health), Cook Islands

Lauren Griffin - Tourism Assistant, Samoa

Kate Kan-Shaw - VSA volunteer in Samoa

On Assignment with VSA: Hugo Egan in Timor-Leste

Why I Volunteer - Thoraya Abdul-Rassol's blogs 

Thoraya's Barefaced Story - NZ Festival

Finn Egan's takeover and Instagram video

Bougainville Chocolate Festival 2018 

Kayt Bornnimann's takeover and Facebook video 

Bougainville UniVols

10 years of UniVols 

Celebrating Student Volunteer Week 

Putting theory into practice: UniVols in the spotlight

Bougainville Safe House Study 


More about volunteering

International Volunteer Day 2019

International Volunteers Day 2019 - Kiribati

United Nations announces critical volunteering action plan

VSA features in The Spinoff:

A genuine difference

We need to talk about voluntourism