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Can I Meet My ILP Group Before I Leave?

Posted by Lindsay Hall on 5/18/18 2:23 PM

semester abroad in china

So, you've applied, been accepted, assigned and now you get to see the ever anticipated ILP group list. Remember in 3rd grade when you'd run to see who was in your class when they posted the list on the door? Anyone else?

Seeing the names of the people you'll be spending the next semester volunteering abroad with is great, but not as satisfying as you thought it'd be. You can Instagram stalk them (check. done. what's next?).

You may now be wondering if you can meet them before you leave...

The short answer is yes! Of course. Jump at the chance if you can meet your group before you leave to volunteer in China, Russia, Costa Rica or which ever one of these ILP countries you're assigned to! It's really common for most volunteers to meet their group at the airport on departure day while flying out to their new home, but you may have the chance to meet them before that.

Hopefully by now you're getting pretty excited to leave and you may be wondering what a typical day in the life of an ILP volunteer looks like -- there ya go! 


While there are probably a million different ways to go about meeting people if you're creative enough, here are a few ways we think are best:

How can I meet my ILP group?

  • Set up a lunch date
  • Plan ahead for pre-departure training 
  • Do a game night
  • Set up a Skype/Facetime date
  • Send out a fun questionnaire
  • Make a Facebook group

Set up a lunch date 

This one could be tricky to get everyone to -- especially if your group doesn't all live in the same area, but it's worth a shot. Often many ILP volunteers are from the Provo, Utah area (because that's where ILP is based) but you can always check to see if anyone else lives near you.  Everyone loves food and it's something to bond over!

Plan ahead for pre-departure training

While ILP has a few different training dates each semester, it would be a great idea to plan ahead with your group and all try to get to the SAME one. If you can all make it to the same one, that will give you two full days of getting to know each other while learning what you will be doing for the next few months of your life!

volunteer in mexico

Do a game night

Nothing brings out people's personalities quite like a good game night. Invite them to your apartment (consider some of these decorating tips to impress them), get some pizzas and have fun!

Set up a Skype/Facetime date

If you or some of your group members don't live near each other, the next best thing is meeting them face-to-face over the phone. Set up a time and day for everyone to get on and make a big conference call. It could be a little awkward trying to get the conversation started, so try some of these games to break the ice!

While we're on the topic of Facetiming ... you may want to Facetime home while you're volunteering abroad. Did you know about this international phone plan through T-Mobile ILP recommends getting? You're welcome! 

summer volunteer

Send out a fun questionnaire 

If you can't meet up or Facetime, you can email out a fun questionnaire to break the ice for when you meet at the airport. You can get to know each other's likes and what you have in common! While it's not ideal, it'll at least give you an idea of each person's personality! 

Make a Facebook group

I totally recommend this one (especially for you ILP head teachers) for multiple reasons.

  • One --  you can add all the members of your group, so everyone knows who is who.
  • Two -- you can start up conversations without having to schedule times and trying to work around schedules.
  • Three -- You can see each other's profiles and get to know each other that way. 
  • Four -- you can organize your semester! Make plans with where you want to vacation, who's bringing what supplies, etc. 

Another way you can get to know your group members is to add them on the rest of their social medias (while you're there, go ahead and follow the ILP Instagram -- maybe your pictures will end up there)!

go abroad

Want more advice on how to get to know your group, where you should vacation, how to save money...Check out the rest of the ILP blog!

If you have some questions, go ahead and text with one of our awesome ILP representatives (that button below will help ya out)!

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Topics: Semester Preparation, ILP Basics

Exploring The World For Over 25 Years

Hi! We are ILP, a non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. Check out our tips for making the most of your time traveling and living abroad.

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