Work and Travel in Reunion
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN REUNION FOR TRAVELLERS
Reunion Island is situated in the middle of nowhere. It’s hundreds of kilometres east of Madagascar in the middle of the Indian Ocean. It’s difficult to travel in Reunion Island and it’s expensive to get there in the first place.
It takes a real adventurer to make it there. In order to stay longer on this French island, and stick to a budget, many travellers choose to take advantage of volunteering opportunities on Reunion Island.
Our travel guide to Reunion Island will show you some of the opportunities available.
1. Join an Organic Farm on Reunion Island
Work on Reunion Island is limited because of its tiny economy and limited number of people. Most people work on farms. These farms tend to focus exclusively on the local economy, rather than for the import/export concerns common to larger countries.
There’s a big emphasis on sustainable, organic farming. Whether on the side of a mountain or close to the shoreline, you’ll have the chance to gain first-hand experience of farming in this tropical climate.
You’ll learn a lot about what it takes to work and travel on Reunion Island and acquire a variety of new skills in the process.
2. Support Families in Getting Out of the Slums on Reunion Island
Poverty is a major problem, which you’ll soon discover as you travel in Reunion Island. The slum of Grande Fontaine has become notorious as the epicentre of poverty and misery on the island. Serious efforts are being made to help relocate families out of this slum.
You can work on Reunion Island with charities dedicated to aiding families rise out of poverty. Whether it’s providing access to education or merely offering a helping hand to families in getting through the day, you’ll be making a big difference.
It’s also the perfect opportunity to make real connections with locals in the process.
3. Participate in a Forest Restoration Project on Reunion Island
One of the volunteering opportunities on Reunion Island that will allow you to see more of the spectacular landscape here is reforestation.
Reunion Island’s dry forest has been devastated during the previous decades and it’s become harder than ever to find volunteers because there are so few travellers here. Your help is needed, and you know your work is going to ultimately lead to a rejuvenated forest and a better environment for both locals and visitors.
The work is hard and involves staying in remote areas, so you should be prepared to deal with the isolation before you work and travel on Reunion Island.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR REUNION
Reunion Island is a French territory. However, it operates its own distinct visa policy for many nationalities. All countries inside the European Union (EU) are entitled to land on the island and stay and work for as long as they want, in accordance with the freedom of movement policy. For more info click here.
North Americans, Kiwis, Australians, South Koreans, and Japanese citizens are automatically entitled to visit Reunion Island without a visa for three months. South Africans, in this case, are entitled to also visit the island without a visa, which is not a policy that applies to all French territories for citizens of this country.
Chinese citizens and Russian citizens must apply for a formal visa at a French embassy in advance of travel. For more info click here.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN REUNION
Travel on Reunion Island and you’ll notice that there are two distinct seasons, the dry season and the rainy season. This can heavily influence the type of work on Reunion Island that you’ll have access to during your stay.
The spring season is the dry season. This is the best time of year to visit the island because the humidity levels are relatively low and you’ll be able to take advantage of a variety of outdoor projects.
The most popular project is reforestation because it’s the best way to get into the more remote areas, which are often inaccessible without professional help.
Another option during the dry season is farming. Since you’ll be spending so many hours outside, the conditions will be far more tolerable than at other parts of the year.
The summer season is a continuation of the dry season, so you should refer back to the ‘Spring’ section for further information on some of the available volunteering opportunities on Reunion Island.
The autumn season is a mixture of both the dry season and the wet season. We recommend returning to the urban areas in preparation of the high humidity levels and the intense rains.
This is a perfect time for any native English speakers to look into English teaching jobs. Schools are increasingly making English part of their curriculums. Since tourism is the backbone of the island’s economy, it’s becoming more important for workers in the tourism industry to have these skills.
It’s also a great way to meet locals and practice your French.
The rainy season can make it difficult to work and travel on Reunion Island. Your best option for work in winter is to focus on poverty alleviation. Working in the slums will give you the chance to help out local families and to aid them in turning their lives around.
Another option could involve working in the education sector. However, if you want to work in anything other than English teaching you should have a good working knowledge of French.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN REUNION
If you’re ready to make your way to this remote part of the world, you should be aware that the citizens of Reunion Island are nothing like their counterparts in mainland France. They bring together a combination of the French language and African friendliness.
Foreigners are not common here, so you should be prepared to get a great deal of good-natured attention. Remember, people here don’t have much contact with the outside world and the majority of them will never leave the island during their lifetimes.
So if you’re ready to visit this isolated island, there’s never been a better time to get started!