Are you a going to school at Snow College but want to take a semester off to volunteer with ILP? You might be able to still get school credit for your time abroad. Here's some helpful info to consider + how to get the process started.
Snow College is an amazing place! As an alumni, I will always have a special place in my heart for the college that gave me some of my dearest friends and so many great opportunities. While I loved my time there, I also wanted to have something like a study abroad to make my college years even more full of experience and learning. Spending a semester as a volunteer with International Language Programs provided the perfect, affordable solution for me, and we'd love to help make this a reality for you too!
Before you start your application to volunteer with ILP, check out this info:
Quick ILP Facts You Need To Know
It's no secret that the study abroads provided by schools can be pretty expensive. Like $1,000 per week + flights? Yikes! I did so much research about different options, but with a full load of classes, it just wasn't possible for me to save up for something like that. Then I heard about ILP, and it was everything I had been hoping for!
I quickly found that ILP offered a unique opportunity, with a program fee that not only included flights, but so much more. If you're in the same boat I was, and want to spend a semester (or even just a summer) doing something other than school and work, ILP may be the perfect fit for you. Here's some helpful information if you're a Snow College student and want to make this happen!
- When Are The ILP Semester Dates?
- How Do I Make It Work While I'm A Student?
- Can I Get School Credit?
- What About Online Classes?
- Would ILP Be A Good Fit For Me?
When Are The ILP Semester Dates?
The first thing to know is when our trips are even offered. And lucky for you, they line up pretty well with the Snow College schedule! We have 3 different semesters throughout the year — Spring, Summer and Fall! Each country/group leaves on different dates depending on the needs of the local schools you'll be teaching at and when the previous group is leaving, but here's the general layout so you can at least get an idea.
- An ILP Spring semester: January - end of April/early May (some group dates are a bit later, like February - June). We send volunteers to every one of our locations for the Spring semester.
An ILP Summer semester: End of April/early May and ends around mid-August. We can send volunteers to every location except for China, Russia, and Montenegro, where ILP school sessions are not held during the summer.
An ILP Fall semester: Mid-August and ends mid-December. Volunteers are always home in time for Christmas! Just like Spring, we can send volunteers to every one of our locations for the Fall semester.
Heads up, when I volunteered with ILP during the summer semester, the departure date was set in the middle of my finals week. While this doesn't happen every summer, it may happen to you too. But don't panic! My professors were very understanding and supportive (even those who said they wouldn't make ANY exceptions for students who wanted to take their finals early). I just talked to them about it as soon as I got my exact departure date (which is usually about 4-6 weeks before you leave) and we worked together to create a solution that worked for them and still made it possible for me to volunteer with ILP.
You may also find that your ILP return date overlaps with Snow's starting date for Fall semester by a couple of days. While this is rare, I've never had a professor who wasn't understanding of me missing the first day of class as long as I explained why. Just make sure you talk to them, go over the syllabus, and are fully prepared for the second day of class.
The summer start and return dates are the only ones that ever conflict with Snow's semester schedule, making it really convenient if you want to fit a semester abroad into your college plans.
How Do I Make It Work While I'm A Student?
If you don't want to take a semester off of school and still get your Associate's Degree by the estimated completion date, then volunteering with ILP during the summer is the obvious solution. That's what I did, and it worked great! But, it did require that I have a job and save up money while taking a lot of college credits. Here's some helpful fundraising information that has worked for a ton of our volunteers as well! If you volunteer during the summer, you don't need to defer from college or complete any special paperwork. You can literally just pick up and go!
If you're okay with skipping a semester and plan to work during the summer, then volunteering during the Spring or Fall semesters is going to be the best option for you! Check with your academic advisor if you have questions about deferring, especially if you have a scholarship you'll need to put on hold. Here is some of the basic info for deferring, as well as the form you'll need to submit before you leave.
Keep in mind that you don't want to wait until the last minute (or even a few months before departure) to apply with ILP. The earlier you can apply the better, so even if you haven't 100% decided how you want to fit ILP into your plans, we still recommend applying since you can always change your semester with us later.
Can I Get School Credit?
While I wish we could guarantee you'll get internship or school credit, we can't. We aren't affiliated with any specific academic institution, so whether or not you can get credit for your time volunteering abroad is 100% up to what you can work out with your Snow College academic advisor.
Some specific majors (like Elementary Education) are more likely to let you get credit, since the school can easily see how your experience with ILP will benefit your career and future plans. Here's what it says on the website about their academic policies regarding school credit:
A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is not less than:
1. One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out-of-class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks for one semester hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or
2. At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as approved by Snow College, including laboratory work, internships, practica, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.
So, set up a meeting with your academic advisor ASAP and see what you can work out! If getting credit doesn't end up being an option for you, I can tell you that volunteering with ILP for one semester (or even several as a head teacher) is still absolutely worth it! The experiences you'll gain are things that can't be taught in a classroom but will still be so beneficial to your life and future.
What About Online Classes?
If you decide that you really can't take a semester off and need to take at least one or two online classes during your semester with ILP, that is an option. Many of our volunteers have done this, and made it work. However, we can't recommend it to everyone.
While you'll only be teaching with ILP for 20 hours every week (+ a few additional hours for weekly lesson planning), you will likely want to travel and explore a lot during your free time. You'll have every weekend off, PLUS at least 9 other week days when you get to plan vacations with your group. Who wants to worry about tests and papers when you could be spending your days touring safaris, camping on the Great Wall of China, releasing baby sea turtles into the ocean, or wandering through pretty cathedrals?? These are just a few of the incredible things our volunteers actually get to do every semester!
Plus, there's the issue of wifi. While we do make it a priority for our volunteers to have access to wifi during their semester abroad, many countries around the world only have wifi that is slower and less predictable than what you're probably used to. In some countries, the wifi may even go out for a couple of days. That's a real yikes if you have a big assignment due! Once you've applied and been assigned an ILP representative, check with them to find out which countries have the most reliable wifi.
So if you ask past volunteers if they were glad they took online classes? Most of them give pretty mixed reviews, with quite a few saying it's probably better to not (because of those reasons we listed above).
But if you think it's something you want to give a try, here is a complete list of Snow College's online classes.
Would ILP Be A Good Fit For Me?
We sure hope so! But, that is something you'll need to figure out for yourself and honestly it's not right for everyone. We have a lot of resources to help you learn about ILP in advance so that you can have a good idea of what our program is like. But, keep in mind that your experience with us will still be unique depending on so many factors (like where you go, who is in your group, which kids you end up teaching, where you spend your vacations, etc). Here is a handful of links that will help you in your research to see if volunteering with us is the best option for you:
Read through our Code of Conduct that all volunteers must agree to follow while they are volunteering abroad.
Get in touch with one of our representatives in the office who has volunteered with ILP and can answer your questions from first-hand experience.
Feeling more ready to start your application?
Now that you know more about our program and have decided it's something you want to fit into your plans, let's get your application started! We're here to help you through the entire process, and one of our representatives will be in contact with you soon to answer any questions you have.