Just like with anything we do in life (whether in the States or Canada or somewhere abroad), there are risks. It's all about putting yourself in the best position to lessen those risks.
There are many ways to travel the world. You could do a bit of solo travel and do a backpacking trip, you could do a study abroad and go with your school, or you could volunteer with an organization (like ILP!). No matter which way you choose to travel, it's important to do your research and know how you can best keep yourself safe.
How does volunteering with ILP compare to other travel options?
Check out how our program works right
One major reason to volunteer with an experienced program like International Language Programs is that we have years of experience to help get your bases covered for maximizing your experience and minimizing your safety risks. You're probably excited researching where you can vacation and what the cute kids you teach are going to be like, but meanwhile we're checking up on the safety aspects.
ILP directors use multiple "watchtowers" when making decisions about the program. Here's how ILP is helping you keep yourself safer while you travel the world.
ILP Code of Conduct and Safety Rules
All ILP volunteers agree to abide by the ILP Code of Conduct, and Safety Rules when they apply. Know that YOU play a key role in your own safety by choices you make when living abroad.
There is no place that ILP spends more energy than keeping our volunteers safe. This process begins by selecting applicants who we believe to be able to display good judgment and agree to abide by the Code of Conduct and Safety Rules. We are fortunate to have had each of our volunteers return home safely since we started our program in 1992 and are eager to keep that record going!
ILP Head Teachers are peer-age leaders who have previously taught at least one semester with ILP, who stood out as exemplary teachers, and who demonstrated good social skills and team skills.
They act as “coaches” to the teams of teachers, helping with on-site teacher training, lesson plans, program finances, excursions, and group morale.
They are not there to make sure you're safe (remember that's your job), but they've traveled before and having someone with experience who's with you day to day can be a helpful resource.
Local Coordinators are typically a generation older than the volunteers and help us run the program locally. They are native to the country and city and can be a great resource for ILP as they understand cultural norms and specific aspects to the neighborhood volunteers are living in.
They may impose curfews if needed, forbid teachers to go to certain parts of the city, advise about political holidays, suggest safe areas to travel, etc. They also assist with host family situations, visa support, language and culture classes, and homesickness.
An ILP volunteer with our Ukrainian Coordinator
Prior to departure, all volunteers register with the nearest American embassy or consulate. This is an important thing to do anytime you travel! It essentially lets the embassy know that you're planning to be in that country for a period of time. They'll send you an email to let you know about current events in that country.
BYU Study Abroad and Other University Programs
ILP may exchange information with study abroad programs that have students in the same locations as we do. We inquire about political or travel advisories as well as disease epidemics or outbreaks. While we are an independent entity and make decisions based on what is best for our organization, we value our relationships with other programs.
Want to talk more in depth about your concerns?
Traveling safely to a foreign country is an essential part of having a successful experience while you live abroad. Your safety while you participate with ILP is our highest priority!
If you would like to speak directly with a past volunteer/ILP representative who has been to one of our countries, click below and we would be more than happy to get you in contact with some of them so you can hear firsthand about their experience and how safe they felt!
We can also get you in touch with one of the Directors of ILP if you'd like. Not only have they volunteered themselves (they opened the program after their first study abroad in 1992), but they've also had their own daughters volunteer with ILP multiple times. They understand the position of being the parent of a volunteer and would love to give you a call if you have more questions.