Maybe you’ve heard a little bit about the ILP Program and it sounds great … but you’re not exactly sure what is actually means to volunteer abroad with us — and that’s okay. We’ve put together some more info on what you might be worried about so you can know what it takes.
In case you didn’t know, International Language Programs is a non-profit organization who sends volunteers abroad to teach English or volunteer in an orphanage for a semester. We don’t just put you on a plane, and say “see ya later”, either — we want you to know you have our support (in these 8 ways). ILP knows it’s a big decision to decide to spend a semester living abroad, which is why we want to make sure you know what you need to know before you sign up!
- You Speak English
- You're College Aged
- You Don’t Have Experience
- You Wanna Make A Difference
- You Want To Travel
- + A Couple More Things
You Speak English
Each of the international schools ILP works with (see all of our countries right here) request volunteers who speak English as their native language and who are from the US and Canada. So if English is your first language, great! That’s one major requirement you’ve got down.
Also, you don’t have to speak another language, either. Yep — even if you decide to volunteer abroad in Russia and don’t speak a word of Russian, you’re good to go. Most of our volunteers do not speak another foreign language, so you will be in good company.
Here are few ideas to help you get around a foreign country, even if you don’t speak the language. Thanks to technology, it's easier than you think.
You're College Age
ILP volunteers are 18-25 years old.
Yes, you do need to be at least 18 to go ... but you can apply earlier than that to snag your spot so that you can go right after you turn 18.
You Don’t Have Experience
You don't need any experience working with kids, a degree, or any type of certification to be a successful volunteer with ILP. Unless you’ll be volunteering in Romania (the only ILP location where you aren’t teaching), volunteers with ILP teach English to kids but most volunteers have actually never taught before. ILP’s teaching method is totally unique and easy to pick up.
So if you’re nervous you won’t be a good ILP teacher , there’s nothing to fuss about — it’ll be new for everyone.
You Want To Make A Difference
We also want to make sure volunteers are focused on the giving back part of the semester. We’re a program focused on making a difference by teaching English or helping in an orphanage, plus the chance to make connections in a foreign country and travel around to see a new culture.
Part of helping you stay safe and sound while abroad is our code of conduct (you don’t have to be a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints to volunteer, but we do attract many LDS volunteers due to our morals and values, even though ILP isn’t associated or affiliated with any religion).
If you’re looking for a program that gives you time to party and drink, ILP probably isn’t the best fit for you.
You Want To Travel
If you want to travel, you’ve hit another ILP requirement (even if you’ve never traveled before)! Volunteers will only be teaching about 3-4 hours a day, so you’ll have lots of time to explore your new city before and after class, plus every Saturday and Sunday off. On top of that there’s scheduled vacation time so you can see even more. Volunteers will be planning their own vacations; you'll have your plans approved by ILP directors to make sure you're going to safe places, but how you get there, what you do there, and where you stay is all decided and planned by your ILP Group.
No matter where you go with ILP, you’ll have time for some rad adventures in different cities or even different countries.
+ A Couple More Things
We also know there are a few other factors, like making sure your parents feel fine about you volunteering and letting you know that you’ll be traveling, volunteering and living with a group, so you’re not alone. Lots of volunteers go on the program not knowing anyone, and come home with friends … it happens every semester.
We’ve also put together this quick fact guide if you have a few more questions and want to let you know you can click below to connect with an ILP representative — they’ve volunteered with our program before and can help you get your questions answered (and help you get started on your application, ASAP!).