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Volunteer abroad, Gap year


If you are looking for a summer job or a gap year, voluntary work abroad may be the perfect way to gain a valuable experience abroad. With a volunteer project you will get professional and personal experience, and improve your career. But an experience abroad will allow you also to learn about another culture and encourage personal development, co-operation, tolerance and open-mindedness.

There are many organizations that will help place you in the perfect work experience job. We will give a list of different organizations throughout this article, focusing on volunteer organizations.

You will find more information on summer jobs, holiday jobs or internship abroad in our other articles on the left column of this page. You will find also details on visa and health insurance in those sections.

What is a volunteer job

Volunteer service is offered by choice - it is not mandated or coerced. It contributes to the well-being of an individual or the community, and is usually coordinated by a non-profit or public sector organization, and in theory it does not pay any salary or wage.

Volunteer work is often equated with unpaid work, and people who contribute their time and energy freely to build a better community don't necessarily get the support systems and recognition they deserve. However regarding people working as volunteer during their summer holiday, they will get accommodation and often a small amount of money for their personal care.

The European Voluntary Service (EVS)

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) is a European Union programme, set up by the European Commission in early 1996. It offers young people (between 18 and 25) the opportunity to work as a volunteer for six to twelve months in a non-profit project abroad. Three partners are the key partners of an EVS project: the volunteer, the sending organisation and the host organisation.
The European Commission take in charge the travel costs for the young, the insurance (health, accident, public liability) and provides a monthly allowance from 140 to 220 euros.

How to proceed: Find a sending organisation that will assist you individually along the procedure (you can find contacts through you National Agency, your National Coordinator or international volunteer organisations). Start contacting potential host organisations through your sending organisation. Keep your fingers crossed and persevere in your search as the difficulty is not to find a suitable project, but to find a project ready to host you within the time limit you have planned.

You can have a look at the European database on accredited host organisations and the Youth organisations.

More information also on the website http://www.britishcouncil.org

Volunteering in Italy

Federation EIL (Experiment in International Living: http://www.experiment.org) is an international nonprofit membership association. It facilitates the work of its autonomous member organizations in 25 countries.
Federation EIL members promote the lifelong involvement of individuals in intercultural learning experiences through homestays, group travel, study abroad, language training, work exchange and other cultural immersion programs.

With EIL, you can also work as a volunteer in a developing country and participate in a wide range of projects around the world in areas such as health, education, community development, conservation and human rights.
To find out more about VIP – Volunteers for International Partnership, visit the website http://www.partnershipvolunteers.org

EVS (European Voluntary Service: http://www.experiment.org/volunteer_EVS.htm) is part of federation EIL. This organisation was founded by the European Union and places European volunteers, aged between 18 and 25, in projects such as youth, racism, elderly, physically and mentally disadvantaged, health, environment, heritage and unemployment.

Some of the benefits of becoming an EVS volunteer are:

Programmes include Live for one to four weeks as a member of a host family in your choice of country, educational group travel program, learn English, French, German, Japanese, Spanish, Italian, or other languages, academic courses, host an international visitor...

Insurance

Wherever you go, it is recommended to subscribe a travel insurance. It will cover any event that might occure when you are abroad. Morever this is mandatory for a lot of work in "exotic" countries.

We have selected below a series of companies to help you in your choice. Of course you might find others on the Internet.

You might also look at our other articles on Summer Jobs and Internship abroad on the left column of this page.

13/05/2005

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