+ a few other tips, info, and details about your ILP group.
One of the biggest perks of ILP is that you get to travel with a group. You're not just dropped off in a foreign country to figure it out along — it's pretty much the opposite! When you volunteer with ILP, you're set up with a group of college-aged volunteers to teach, travel, and (most times) live with, all semester long.
Not an ILP volunteer yet?
Come fill out an application!
So even if you're singing up to volunteer with ILP without a friend (which is the majority of volunteers — I went on all of my semesters without knowing anyone before departure) you'll come home with a group of travel buddies. Since the group dynamic is a really big part of your ILP experience, here's a breakdown of how the ILP group works.
Who's In My Group?
That depends on where you are serving. Some programs are female only, others are good options for males and married couples, but every group has at least three people ... sometimes as many as 30+!
How Do I Find Out Who's In My Group?
Once you've applied, been accepted, and assigned ... now you get to see the ever anticipated ILP group list. Since things tend to shift around quite a bit before departure, typically you'll get access to the group list about a month before departure.
When the groups are finalized, you'll find the names of your group members, and possibly their email address. Other volunteers like to post on the Facebook page for their country and ask the question "Who's in my group? I'm volunteering here in _____" but you will get access to who is in your group before leaving.
When Will l Meet My Group?
That totally depends. Some groups meet others during the Pre-Departure Training, which happens before you'll leave to go volunteer with our program. That happens by chance, but sometimes they do try and coordinate when to go to training all together (but that isn't necessary).
What's more common is meeting at the airport, or even in country if people in your group aren't flying from the same airports.
However, when the group list is shared with you, some volunteers decide to contact people in your group and meet up for lunch, do a game night, create a Facebook group or group message to just get to know each other before departure ... but it's not required.
Working Well With Your Group
While a lot of factors go into having a successful ILP semester, your group is one of the biggest perks of our program. You won't be traveling alone, you'll have people to share the surprising adventures that are guaranteed to happen when living in a foreign country, and get some automatic travel buddies. So many of our volunteers have come home from their semester and stayed friends with people in their ILP group.
But like everything in life, having an ILP group can have its challenges. It's so important to be considerate. In a lot of our programs, volunteer groups are all living in the same apartment which means sharing space. You'll do a lot more for yourself if you're kind, considerate, and mindful. Things like doing your dishes, listening to music with your headphones in, not talking badly about people in your group, and getting to know someone can help overcome some issues that could potentially spoil an experience during your semester. Remember — you're all out of your comfort zone and experiencing things for the very first time. Whether it's good or bad, you're in this experience together.
Getting To Know Your Group
One of the major hurdles of your ILP group is getting to know everyone ... suddenly, you're living abroad with a group of strangers and are going to be living, teaching, traveling, and exploring all together. There's a lot of down time during your ILP semester which really means there isn't an excuse not to get to know your group, right? A few groups have mentioned that playing games all together is really the best way to initially break the ice.
We're pulled together some of our favorite group games that you can play pretty much anywhere, with options for big and small groups.
Have a few more questions about our program?