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Frequently Asked Questions

What does ICYE stand for?

ICYE stands for the International Cultural Youth Exchange, formerly called International Christian Youth Exchange. ICYE is an international, non-profit youth exchange organisation promoting youth mobility, intercultural learning and international voluntary service.

Who can participate in the ICYE programme?

Only for young people? Any age limits apply?

ICYE exchanges are open to all young people, regardless of their origin and status, between the ages of 18 and 30, with or without qualifications, after secondary school or during your university studies or (un)employment.

To make our programme more age-inclusive, many ICYE National Committees are developing tailored made programmes for volunteers over 30. To find out more about maximum age limits and conditions of participation, please contact the ICYE Committee in your country – click here

Can young people from all over the world participate?

Young people residing in a country where there is an ICYE National Committee or Partner Organisation can participate in our programmes. Please check under the section “ICYE in the world” if your country is listed. If so, contact our member Committee for more information about the programme’s aims and conditions of participation. If not, we regret to inform you that, in absence of a sending organisation, it will not be possible for you to participate in our exchange programmes.

Can I work and earn money through the ICYE programme?

No. In line with the aims and objectives of our programme, ICYE participants are volunteers who serve for a period of six to twelve months, or shorter periods, in a voluntary service organisation, without any financial remuneration. Only a monthly stipend – which varies from country to country – is provided for participant’s out of pocket personal expenses.

How is ICYE structured?

ICYE is a Federation of Full and Associate Member National Committees. National Committees are autonomous bodies. They develop and run the programme according to the needs of the youth of their countries, and following policies and guidelines prepared and adopted by the General Assembly (GA) of the Federation. The General Assembly is the highest decision-making body of the Federation. It meets every second year – one delegate of each ICYE National Committee attends. In between General Assemblies, a four-member Board of Managers acts and decides on behalf of the GA. The ICYE International Office, located in Berlin, Germany, carries out and co-ordinates activities and programmes. ICYE Regional Associations provide support on programme development and training to National Committees in Africa, the Americas, Asia/Pacific, and Europe.

What does the participation fee covers?

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 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 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.

What will I get out of my "ICYE experience"?

Through ICYE’s long and short-term exchange programmes, young people can be part of a unique international educational experience that combines intercultural learning with voluntary service opportunities. By living aboard with a family or residential project and working in local community development organisations, ICYE volunteers are provided an intercultural experience providing opportunities for learning, self-awareness and global education. Our participants acquire cross cultural skills and problem solving abilities, for their personal and professional development. ICYE helps them to share their experiences, hopes and dreams, and make life-long friendships with people from another country as well as with other international volunteers.

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