We get this question all of the time!
This is one of the most popular questions we get — a lot of our volunteers are also students (though you don't have to be a student to volunteer with ILP), but here's the short of it.
Can I Get School Credit While Volunteering?
The quick answer? No, but some volunteers have (more on that in a minute).
ILP (International Language Programs) is not affiliated with any university directly, so we cannot provide you school credit. However, some volunteers have been able to work with their university and have been able to count their semester with ILP towards something. It's not a guarantee, but it never hurts to ask your university.
Is There Anything I Can Try?
Some volunteers have been able to get school credit, but they've had to do their own research.
Talk To Your School
Start with your academic advisor or head of your department. They'll be able to direct you to the right person to speak with. Some volunteers have school requirements where a semester abroad with ILP fits very well and we've also seen some universities work with students to mold ILP into an experience that would fit their requirements.
For example, some students keep a journal or a blog throughout their semester to complete their school credit while volunteering. It's just always different.
Does your school need information about ILP?
Email us. We can put together an official letter for your university that confirms you are volunteering with ILP and brief information about your responsibilities. Volunteers often need this when arranging school credit with their advisors.
I Can't Get School Credit - Now What?
Take Online Classes
With ILP, your volunteer service is only part time (20 hours per week) so you'll have free time which allows for taking online classes. We just recommend not having a heavy load because we have a feeling you'll want to be out exploring the country you're living in as much as possible, instead of spending all of your time studying.
Also, depending on the country you volunteer in, the internet may or may not be spotty and less reliable than here in the United States. We can help you to know which locations would be better for you. Here are more tips about how to incorporate taking online classes with your volunteer semester.
Think Of The Other Perks
Even if you can't do school while volunteering, there are some major perks with volunteering in the first place. Many volunteers have said that their experience volunteering abroad helped them know what they wanted (or didn't want) to major in.
Another perk? Your resume. Volunteering for a whole semester helps you stand out on your resume ... think about how many future employers will be interested to know more about your experience in Asia or Africa. Or what you learned when living in Europe for a whole semester. It's a huge perk no matter where you end up volunteering.
Come spend a semester volunteering and traveling!
If you're planning on volunteering with ILP, but still have some questions about how to make that happen, we're here to help. Let's stay in touch so we can help you afford your semester abroad, and answer any of your questions.