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ICYE Long-term Voluntary Service

ICYE’s main programme is the long-term exchange of young people, aged mainly 18 to 30, who want to work as volunteers in a wide variety of voluntary work placements with or without qualifications, live in another country with a family or a in a residential project.

Opportunities for older volunteers are available in most countries.

Each year ICYE exchanges over 900 long-term volunteers between different countries for periods ranging from six to twelve months.

Be a volunteer abroad!

  • Formal and non-formal Education

    Working alongside street educators and local volunteers in providing shelter and food, and running literacy classes, vocational training with street children in Colombia, Ghana and India

  • Minorities

    Working with Roma communities in Finland, with LGBT in Bolivia, and with people living with HIV/AIDS in Mozambique

  • Social Inclusion and Human Rights

    Working with citizen defence organisations in Costa Rica, with refugees in Italy, with women organisations in Honduras and Switzerland

  • Art & Culture

    Promoting artistic and animation activities with rural children in Honduras and Mozambique, Nepal, and Uganda

  • Enviroment

    Working in ecological projects in Costa Rica, Mexico and New Zealand

  • Special Needs

    Organising activities and providing assistance to persons with disabilities in Ecuador, France, Germany and South Korea

Explore our projects world-wide

Find your project among over 800 volunteering
opportunities in more than 40 countries

Long-term Projects

Project Type:

Countries:

ICYE in the World

Click on the world map to go to ICYE in your country

The ICYE Experience

To be a volunteer with ICYE means to integrate in the life and work of the host organisation and wider community. Volunteers are encouraged and supported to get involved in the planning and managing of distinct activities, take part in staff meetings, and to take on responsibilities according to their skills and interests, as well as the needs of the project. An important aspect of the voluntary service experience is the volunteer’s active participation in the life of the community in which he/she lives and works.

Voluntary service placements offered by ICYE include social work projects dealing with children and young people at risk, with the elderly, the disabled, rural and health development projects, human rights organisations, peace associations, ecological projects, women’s groups, migrant workers’ support groups, fair-trade shops, and solidarity projects.

Being an ICYE Volunteer

ICYE exchanges are open to all young people between the ages of 18 and 30 (and above 30 in certain countries), with or without qualifications, after secondary school or during your university studies or (un)employment, ICYE can offer you a life-changing experience!

There is no such thing as a ‘typical’ volunteer. ICYE volunteers should be:

  • flexible, communicative, and open to new experiences,
  • willing to learn new skills
  • broad-minded and self-reliant
  • committed to inter-cultural understanding

ICYE Volunteers don’t need:

  • Specialised skills or work experience
  • Existing foreign language skills
  • Experience of international travel

Volunteers with disabilities are asked to submit applications early – at least six months prior to the start of the programme. This enables ICYE to make appropriate arrangements with the National Committee in the country of your choice. Please note that Personal Assistants must be recruited and funded by you, or an appropriate organisation.

To find out about the type of voluntary service opportunities offered in the distinct countries, have a look at the ICYE Database of Long-Term Voluntary Service Placements, where you can browse through more than 800 available organisations.

To find out more about: the destinations you may be interested in; whether or not you can apply for one or more specific host projects; the price and other conditions of participation, please contact the ICYE office in your home country or check the website of ICYE in your country using the drop down list on the home page.

Before Your Departure

Our worldwide network of ICYE staff and co-workers carefully select and prepare programme participants before departure. Each ICYE national committee organises information and recruitment days and a “pre-departure weekend” where you can meet fellow-volunteers and share excitement, expectations and fears about the experience abroad.

Your Stay Abroad

Upon arrival you will attend a one-week “orientation camp” during which you will have the chance to learn more about the people and culture of the host country, the local ICYE and your work placement. You will also receive an introductory language course. You will live with a family or in a shared flat, and work as a volunteer in a local project for 6 or 12 months.

The “mid-year camp” is a chance to catch up with other volunteers and evaluate your first six months with the ICYE hosting committee. This may be combined with a conference on an issue relevant to your host country.

The last official meeting for volunteers is the “end-of-stay evaluation”, where you will discuss your experiences and prepare to return home – which is often the hardest part! After the evaluation you have a free month before returning to your home country. Most volunteers take this opportunity to travel and see more of the country.

Returning Home

Upon your return home, your sending national committee will organise a “returnees camp” together with other returning volunteers as well as incoming international volunteers. You will also be invited to join ICYE’s membership scheme in your country that will give you access to national and international events, meetings and seminars.

European Voluntary Service and Governmental Volunteer Programmes

Since 1996, ICYE has been directly involved, both at the international and national level, in launching and implementing the Youth in Action Programme (2007-2013), and as of 2014 the  Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union, particularly the European Voluntary Service (EVS), a programme set up and funded by the European Commission (EC) to promote youth mobility and international voluntary service.

ICYE is also involved at various levels in the implementation and further development of government funded volunteer programmes such as the “Weltwärts” programme of the German Ministry of Cooperation and Development.