Volunteer at the BEST hostel in the USA!
Hostelling International Chicago thrives on the work of its volunteers who serve travelers from around the world and around the country. You can help to enhance the experiences of our travelers as well as getting involved with the mission-based programming that we bring to our Chicago community.
You can make a difference at HI-Chicago!
As an HI-Chicago volunteer, you will have the opportunity to meet travelers from around the world, share your knowledge and appreciation of Chicago ‘s rich resources, learn more about the Chicago area, and meet other volunteers and make new friends. Come meet people from around the world and help them to explore what makes Chicago such a fantastic place to live and visit.
Volunteer opportunities are divided into two service areas:
You connect travelers to Chicago. Chicago Guides take hostellers out to summer festivals, free days at the museums, improv comedy shows, pub crawls, ethnic restaurants, you name it! Choose from our monthly calendar or plan your own outing. Staff will publicize the information and put out a sign up sheet. You meet your group of travelers at the hostel and bring them to the activity.
Minimum commitment: 2 events per month.
Chicago Specialists – Information Desk
At the info desk in the hostel, Chicago Specialists are on a mission to “Go beyond the guidebook!” You will provide the most up to date inside information about everything Chicago. Show travelers how to take the CTA all over town. Recommend a great cheap restaurant in a fun neighborhood. You can make the difference for our international travelers. You should have a passion for Chicago – whether you know everything or are still learning your way around.
Minimum commitment: One 2-3 hour shift per week
Downtown Walking Tour Guide
Our volunteers have developed exceptional walking tours of downtown Chicago. If you’d like to learn from the pros, you can shadow tours on Saturday mornings with Tom Judge, Monday mornings with George Redfearn, Tuesday mornings with Dennis Le Beau, or Wednesday mornings with Karen Dennis. Or, you can work with the volunteer coordinator to develop a tour that is all your own.
Minimum commitment after training: Two tours per month, ideally one per week.
Interested in helping the hostel?
Community Outreach and Education
Community Wall Project Leaders
Teach local youth about community and culture through a community wall project, part of an international effort by Hostelling International to teach cultural understanding. We partner with Girl Scout troops and community based youth organizations, like Boys and Girls Clubs, to create paintings of community which are hung in the hostel for travelers to see. Leader commitments vary from once a week to twice a month. Ideal position for artists and people with painting skills.
Cultural Kitchen Volunteer
Assist in giving local youth the opportunity to learn about other cultures through exploration of food and culture. You do not need any expertise with children or cooking to make a difference with Cultural Kitchen. Volunteers join the groups in the afternoon at 4:00pm and help the students prepare and cook the food for the meal. This evening session runs from 4:00pm until 8:00pm. We ask volunteers to commit to one session per month, and we welcome you to help with more sessions, time permitting.
Community Service Liaison
Help the hostel connect service-minded groups with community service organizations in the city. Church groups, alternative spring break groups and others ask the hostel for assistance in connecting to service. You will contact community service organizations to find out about opportunities for groups staying at the hostel. Minimum commitment: 4 hours per week.
Interested in helping the hostel? Please Contact us directly.
For detailed information about internships at Hostelling International Chicago, please go to the internship section.