Dress Code for Volunteering Abroad

People usually judge you according to the way you dress. This is true not only back home but also on your volunteering trip abroad.

Your host country will almost certainly be more conservative overall than your own. Please recognize this and dress accordingly.

If you don’t, locals will lose respect for you and not as many doors will open for you.

Some countries and towns are more conservative than others.

For example Muslim locations like Indonesia as well as the city of Mombasa in Nairobi.

So what are the dress code rules?

Dress casually but smart

For Women: No cleavage, bare shoulders, short-shorts or form-fitting clothes.

For Men: Never go shirtless, including at your host family’s place.

Here are some work-specific dress-code guidelines:

Teaching & Office Internships

  • Formal shoes, long pants / dress, and polo shirt or blouse
  • Dresses should not be above the knee
  • No flip-flops, shorts, or t-shirt with prints

Medical Volunteers

  • Formal shoes / sneakers / clogs; long pants, and polo shirt or blouse
  • No flip-flops, shorts, or t-shirt with prints
  • Bring scrubs (top and bottom)
  • Bring your own stethoscope and mask(s)

Orphanage Volunteers

  • Flip-flops are fine
  • Also wear shorts, pants / jeans / capris, and t-shirts