Each semester, BYU-I students volunteer with ILP all over the world. If you don’t think you can make a semester abroad fit in with your college plans, think again! Whether you want the chance to see the Eiffel Tower sparkling on a night in Paris, or want an adventure camping on the Great Wall of China with your new travel buddies ... or you even just want to add some great experience to your resume, we can help you make it happen.
Ready to find out which country you're going to?
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Every semester, there are BYU-I students who are traveling, volunteering and doing some rad things with International Language Programs. Go to school and also travel + volunteer ... here's how!
Go During Your Off-Track
One thing that a lot of BYU-Idaho students do is plan their ILP trip to be during their off-track. That way you can spend your semester break wandering around castles in Europe! Or maybe you're more of a hot weather kinda person and you find yourself doing humanitarian work in the Caribbean. We've got options for you.
If you're on the Fall/Winter Track —
You'll want to apply for ILP's "Summer" semester. Here's what it'll look like:
Your Winter finals in Rexburg will happen around the middle of April. Most ILP Summer groups leave around the first week of May, so you'll most likely have a couple of weeks to get packing before your trip! You'll go travel abroad and come home the middle of August and head home to see your family. Your Fall semester in Rexburg doesn't start until the middle of September, so that gives you about a month to hang out at home before school starts.
If you're on the Winter/Spring Track —
You'll want to apply for ILP's "Fall" semester. Here's what it'll look like:
Your finals will happen around mid July, giving you about a month to get ready, go home and give your mom a kiss, and pack for your ILP trip! Your ILP departure will happen around the end of August or early September, then you're back home the middle of August in time to spend Christmas with your family. Then your Winter track in Rexburg starts back up just after New Years.
We’ve got good news for BYU-I students! For all of ILP’s country locations, our fall semester fits perfectly with BYU-I’s school semester.
If you're on the Spring/Fall Track —
You'll want to sign up for ILP's "Spring" semester that runs from January-about the end of April.
(Heads up, ILP's "Spring" semester is essentially like BYU-I's "Winter" semester, sorry for the confusion!)
Here's how it'll work:
Your BYU-I finals will be the middle of December, you'll head home to spend Christmas and New Years with your family, and then get ready for your ILP trip that starts in January! You'll travel around with your ILP group, do some service, and fly back home around the end of April to start right back up with your Spring semester in Rexburg.
Your Spring semester usually starts the middle of April, so you might miss the first couple of weeks. Talk to your professors to let them know that you're on a volunteer trip and may miss the first few classes of the semester. It's completely up to them, but you'll want to be proactive about letting them know so that you don't lose your spot in the class just because you didn't attend the first day.
A Special Option for BYU-I Students
If you're worried about missing the first couple of weeks of school, we get it. Consider joining our volunteers in Ukraine! All of our country's have unique semester dates, but this one in particular is perfect for you.
We have one group of volunteers who are in Kiev, Ukraine from January until the middle of April, which means you’ll be home in time to start your BYU-Idaho spring track. We usually reserve spots in this group specifically for BYU-I students because we know this time frame works so well with your school schedule. That means you also usually get to travel with other students from BYU-Idaho, too! More friends/potential roommates for school after you return. This way you get a semester in Europe that works perfectly with your off-track!
*Just as a heads up, Jan-end of April is the schedule for most of ILP's programs. There are a few countries like China and Russia that return later (like end of May or end of June) and wouldn't be a good fit unless you're planning to take off Spring semester at school.
Defer A Semester
You can also decide to take a break from studying and defer a semester to volunteer abroad. Maybe you need your off-track to work and save up (that's what I did), so it makes more sense to just take a semester off of school that year.
BYU-I makes this easy; everyone can defer from BYU-I for one semester without having to reapply when you return. That's a great tool you can use for making ILP fit in with your college life. Thanks, BYU-I!
So for example, when I was a student at BYU-Idaho, I really wanted to do an ILP trip ... but I also needed to save up some money in order to do it. I was on the Winter/Spring track, so I went to school in the winter and told my academic advisor what I wanted to do. She helped me defer my spring semester so that I could go home, live with my parents (thanks mom!), work full time and get ready for my ILP trip. I volunteered in Mexico that summer with ILP and then came back in time for the Fall semester. The fall was my off-track, so I took that chance to just work full-time again and get myself ahead of the game to take care of tuition and housing and things for when I went back to Rexburg after the holidays. It worked out perfect for me!
Depending on your major, you might be able to get school credit for your volunteer service. Talk to your academic advisor and explain what you’re planning on doing during your semester abroad. Your advisor can see if that semester can complete any credits for your major. It really depends on your major, but it's worth asking.
We’ve even had students volunteer with us and complete a journal or blog to help complete a school internship requirement.
Take Online and Pathway Classes
Volunteers with ILP are only teaching part-time (up to 20 hours a week) which gives you plenty of time to explore a foreign country and take online classes at the same time. Take a look at your BYU-I grad planner see which classes are offered online, and plan to complete those while you're volunteering.
There are even BYU-Idaho online degrees if you choose to follow that route.
You can also use BYU-Idaho’s pathway program. This program combines online classes with groups of students around the US and the world; there are actually groups located in the areas where ILP volunteers are living in Europe! You could volunteer in Moscow, Russia and take a religion class with other BYU-Idaho students there. How cool!
Get On A Fast Grad Plan
While we think that a semester abroad is one of the best investments you can make for your education and future, it can be difficult to take a break from your schooling. If that’s the case, this is for you.
You can also apply for BYU-Idaho Fast Grad which allows you to go to school 3 semesters in a row. So, now you can defer one semester to volunteer in Thailand, come home, then take 3 semesters in a row with Fast Grad. If you do that you can volunteer and actually still graduate the same time you would have. If you have a goal to graduate by a certain date, it's definitely something to consider.
Join other BYU-I students on a semester abroad!
Get even more information by talking with an ILP representative too — they can help you figure out which semester and which country would be perfect for your schedule: