Work, Intern, Volunteer Abroad
Work, Intern and Volunteer (WIV) programs are generally non-academic and not for credit. There are many reasons to consider participation on a WIV program instead of, or in addition to, a conventional study abroad program. They are almost always less expensive than study abroad programs, and the application process is simpler.
As you research program options, you will notice the distinctions between work, intern, and volunteer programs are not always clear. Similar programs can sometimes be grouped differently. Rather than focusing your search by program type, try looking through a few of the categories listed here as you might find the program you're looking for under a heading you didn't expect.
Choosing a Program
The IVPA Principles and Practices are criteria developed by the International Volunteer Programs Association (IVPA) to give prospective volunteers a reliable basis on which to choose worthwhile program experiences. Once you identify a program of interest, ask as many questions as necessary to gain a thorough understanding of it. The more you know, the better your chances of being prepared for the experience and not being disappointed once you arrive on site. Some questions you may want to consider asking the program staff include:
- How far in advance do I need to apply?
- When will I be notified of my placement or acceptance?
- What does the program fee cover? What additional expenses can I expect that are not included in the fee?
- Can I contact past participants?
- What is the daily and weekly work schedule?
- Who will be my coworkers and supervisor?
- What kind of supervision or guidance will I receive?
- How much can I expect to be paid weekly or monthly?
- Where will I live and with whom will I live?
- Will I receive pre-departure information?
- Is there an in-country orientation?
Then ask yourself: Are my expectations realistic? Can this program provide the kind of experience I am looking for?
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