ICYE in the World
More than 60 years of
approach to volunteering and to
make our programme more age
inclusive, ICYE is developing a
dedicated Over 30s programme for
older volunteers. For more
information, contact the ICYE
office in your country.
Become an ICYE Long-Term Volunteer
Long-term Voluntary Service
ICYE’s main programme is the long term exchange of young people, aged mainly 18 to 30, with or without qualifications, who want to live in another country with a family or a in a residential project, and work as volunteers in a wide variety of voluntary work placements. Opportunities for older volunteers are available in most countries.
Each year ICYE exchanges over 900 hundred long-term volunteers between different countries, for periods ranging from six to twelve months.
Be a volunteer abroad!
- 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;
- providing material assistance and emotional support to HIV positive children and adults in specialised centres, respectively in Kenya, England, Germany and Russia;
- promoting artistic and animation activities with rural children in Honduras and Mozambique, Nepal, and Uganda;
- working in ecological projects in Costa Rica, Mexico and New Zealand;
- organising activities and providing assistance to disabled people in France, Italy and South Korea;
- promoting human rights and peace keeping actions in Germany
Through ICYE, young people aged 18 to 25 (up to 30 in certain countries), with or without qualifications, after secondary school or during their university studies or (un)employment, have the opportunity to live in another country with a family or a in a residential project, and work as volunteers in a wide variety of voluntary work placements.
To be a volunteer with ICYE means to integrate in the life and work of the hosting 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.
European Voluntary Service and Governmental Volunteer Programmes
Since 1996, ICYE has been directly involved, both at international and national level, in launching and implementing the Youth In Action programme, 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.
Who can volunteer? Any special requirement? NO!
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 the best year of your life !
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 600 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 at the top of this page.
What does a year with ICYE involve?
Before Your Departure
Our world-wide 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 “pre-departure weekend” where you can meet fellow-volunteers and share excitement 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 to help you get by. After the orientation, you will be off to work and to move into your new home. You will be either living with a family or in a shared living situation 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 join with your ICYE hosting committee to evaluate your first six months. Sometimes this may be combined with a conference on an issue relevant to your host country.
The last official meeting for the 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.
Upon your return home, your sending national committees will organise a “returnees residential weekend” together with other returning volunteers as well as incoming foreign 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.