ICYE in the World
“My work and the whole experience during my exchange year were hard, difficult, funny, satisfactory, but above all it made me grow-up. It was the best experience in my life, I will never forget it.”
Mirko Medrano (Bolivia to Norway)
“Help someone, it doesn’t matter where, whom or when, what matters is what you’ve done.”
Mu-Jen Wang (Taiwan to Germany)
“It’s so good that the ICYE staff it’s not only there to help you or prepare you, it’s also there for be your friend.”
Karla Bolaños (Costa Rica to France)
“I’ve seen how spoilt we Europeans are, but we haven’t found happiness in all these things. I have met happy people who share the little things they have. That makes life better.”
Nicole Lanz (Switzerland to Kenya)
“I was born and grew up in Japan, an island. Now I could make a lot of foreign friends through the ICYE program. They give me many opportunities to know their county and the world.”
Kayoko Negi (Japan to Sweden)
“I truly believe ICYE is doing an excellent job, it is obvious that the organisation is concerned with the exchangees’ well being and go to extreme lengths to provide support.”
Phillippa Herbert (United Kingdom to Uganda)
“Like we always say: “what you get from people is always too much; what you can give is always too little.”
Cheng-Yu Wei (Taiwan to Belgium)
"ICYE gave me a lot interesting experiences. I thank ICYE programme. I think ICYE need to let more people know about this programme."
Byung-Min Kang (Korea to Germany)
"This year has been incredible, particularly in terms of self-growth."
Preethi Gundaram (United Kingdom to Bolivia)
Why volunteer with ICYE?
Quality Assessment and Assurance
In order to safeguard and guarantee the quality of its programmes across the Board and in all member and partner countries, ICYE has adopted a set of Programme Minimal Conditions to be met by all National Committees and Partners.
Feed-back on the quality and significance of the programme is solicited from ICYE volunteers and hosts through regular evaluation sessions and questionnaires. Risk prevention and crisis response measures ( i.e. 24/7 emergency numbers) are also integral part of the ICYE Quality management system.
High degree of Satisfaction from ICYE Participants
The (ongoing) evaluation involving hundreds of ICYE participants of the 2008-2009 programme year confirmed the high degree of our international volunteers’ satisfaction with regard to the programme educational aims and services. The high standards of programme delivery were not only maintained but also exceeded in many aspects.
In 2009-10, 98% were satisfied with the preparation provided by ICYE for their year abroad – notably, of these, 82% rated the preparation between excellent and good. The long-term volunteer experience abroad itself was rated by 96% as an overall positive – of these 84% rated it between excellent and good!As of the 2010-11 Programme Year, ICYE international volunteers can fill the Evaluation Forms Online - after the on-arrival orientation, mid term and final evaluation seminars.
Why are we different?
ICYE works differently to many Gap Year organisations and some of these reasons are listed below.
* There are many international volunteering organisations that send volunteers worldwide but very few that also host volunteers in community projects in the sending countries. ICYE strongly believes in the importance of reciprocal exchanges and inter-cultural learning. The ICYE Federations enables volunteers from developing countries to experience living in another culture as well as facilitating placements for volunteers from other European Countries abroad.
* It is a Federation of local ICYE Organisations: volunteers are exchanged only between countries where there is an existing ICYE Member or Partner Organisation. In order to be a member of the Federation partners have to be a registered charity in their country or a not-for-profit organisation. ICYE partner organisations are run by local staff and volunteers. This helps ensure better project relations and in-country support for volunteers, as well as providing employment and work experience for local young people.
* All ICYE Members and Partners are registered NGOs that are run by volunteers for volunteers.* Sustainability: The ICYE Federation was founded in 1949 and has been helping volunteer around then world ever since. The majority of the projects that each ICYE member country works with will host volunteers on a regular basis from one exchange year to the next. This helps provide continuous support for projects and also means that work can be continued and built upon from one year to the next.
Why pay to volunteer?
Why should you have to pay to volunteer? The answer is that volunteering in a developing country is different from volunteering on weekends in your town. Volunteers who travel abroad need accommodations, food, emergency health and evacuation insurance in addition to in-country transportation and orientation to ensure their safety while living abroad.
Besides of organizing, supporting, and guiding you as a volunteer through every aspect of your trip, you are free to choose your start date and the length of your stay. Options are available for spring, winter or summer break. All Short-term and Long-term programmes include excursions and cultural activities. Language lessons are also included in most destinations allowing you the opportunity to learn a new language or brush up on existing skills.
What are you paying for?
First of all, it should be clarified that you are not paying to volunteer. You are paying for the following elements of a reliable preparation and support system that will ensure a successful volunteering experience. The main programme services are:
- pre-departure arrangements and preparation
- health, accident and third party liability insurance / 24-hour medical assistance
- pick up at the airport and on-site orientation on local culture, history, and customs
- selection and preparation of voluntary service placements and host families
- introduction to your host family and voluntary service placement
- on-going support and assistance to volunteers and hosts / 24 hours ICYE emergency phone numbers
- evaluation of your experience and drop-off at the airport at the end of your stay.
In addition, part of your participation fee is used for:
- Programme Development: our in-country staff carefully selects, inspects and trains voluntary service placements for quality and risk assessment
- Constant contact and safety system: the ICYE staff in-county and, if needed, in the sending country are always there to provide logistical and emotional support,and to efficiently manage any emergency situation which may emerge
- Administration and staff salaries: your fee is also used to partially cover the administration, staff salaries, training and running costs of the ICYE sending and hosting country offices. As for many other non-profit organisations, in absence of public or private grants and donations, ICYE relies on programme fees to sustain itself and grow.
ICYE staff go a long way to make sure that your volunteering experience unfolds in a safe and stimulating environment and benefits the local community.
Where do you pay the programme fee?
The ICYE participation fee has to be paid to the ICYE Sending National Committee. Please click here to find out where you can apply and request more information about the terms and conditions for participation, and programme fees.