Getting ready for your semester volunteering abroad with International Language Programs (ILP)? There's a lot of unknowns when you're getting ready to live in a country you've never been to and we know it can be a little nerve wracking!
Here's a general outline of what typically happens the first few days of your semester — we'll be there to support you!
You are all packed and ready to go. Are you excited? Nervous? A little unsure what your time will be like while you're abroad? We know the feeling and want you to know that you'll be taken care of during your semester no matter where you go with ILP.
What To Expect During Your First Few Days Of Your Semester
Meet your group
You'll likely meet up with other ILP volunteers in your group at the airport —sometimes that means the airport you're departing from and other times that means a layover or the airport at your final destination. It really just depends on which airports everyone chose to fly out of. We do our best to get everyone on the same flights, but when that's not possible you'll still always be met at the final destination so that you won't be alone in your new country. Get ready to make some new friends, this is who you'll make some of your greatest adventures with while abroad!
...and your head teacher
Each ILP group has a leader that we call your "head teacher". You'll meet up with them along the way as well, again depending on which airport they're flying out of. They have taught with ILP before, so they have a little bit of experience with how the ILP program works and are there to help you and your group with questions that come up. They may or may not have been to your country before, but they can be an asset as you start to figure things out!
Your head teacher is in close touch with the ILP office back in Utah and also your local coordinator who is meeting you there in country, so they are typically your first point of contact if you have any questions. You'll also have the direct number of our program directors in Utah if you need additional help though!
You'll be picked up at the airport
Your local ILP coordinator will arrange to have you and your group picked up at the airport so you don't need to worry about things like using public transportation with all of your suitcases and bags, where to go, etc. Then, you'll be taken to your new home for the semester so you can get settled in, or sometimes you'll have a vacation right off the bat ... it just depends on your school's schedule where you'll be teaching. Depending on where you volunteer you'll be in an apartment, dorm, or host family — your local coordinator has your housing all set up for you!
Get room assignments/meet your host family
Once you get to your new place you'll either choose roommates and get room assignments, or if you're in a host family they'll show you around their house. Spend time getting to know who you are living with and start unpacking.
Not sure what to expect if you're with a host family? Here's what it's like.
Get to know your city
You'll go out as a group and learn how to get around, learn your route to the school, and probably explore a little. Try some new foods! Previous ILP groups have left your head teacher an "Area Book" and it's full of their tips on things like how to get to their favorite ice cream shop and the best grocery stores to grab some snacks. Have fun just getting familiar with your new home and all the new experiences that living in another country for a few months brings.
Go to the school and prep
Before you start teaching you have some prep work to do. You'll usually get together as a group and have a little pow wow to get on the same page with the schedule, what group you'll be teaching, and other logistics. You'll also get all of your supplies organized and get the classrooms ready.
Meet the cutest kids around
The best part of the first few days is getting to meet the cute kids you'll be teaching and serving. Don't be discouraged if the first few days are a bit overwhelming while you get in the groove of things. Have fun, get to know their personalities (and their names!), and we know you will absolutely fall in love with them!
Have more questions about what your semester will be like?
Talk to a rep in the office who has volunteered. They can help answer any questions you have about what your semester will be like, what teaching is like, and more.
Click the button below to talk to get connected with a representative!