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Considering Volunteering With ILP? Start Here!

Posted by Emily Henkel on 9/25/21 2:45 PM

Teaching Abroad with ILP

Learn more about each country, talk to someone about which location would be the best fit for you, get the details on the application process, and be the first to know when we open a new semester (or a new country). All the info you're looking for is right here! 

Wondering where to start when it comes to your ILP semester? We have you covered.  No matter where you are in this process, we are here to help — whether you just heard about our program, have a few countries narrowed down, just need help picking your semester, or have a question or two, this post is what you're looking for. 

Below, we break down the whole process in a few bite-sized steps, with tons of helpful resources so you can start at the beginning, or find exactly what you need depending on where you are at — 

All About ILP 

Let's start with a little intro —First things first, International Language Programs (or ILP) is a non-profit organization based out of Utah that sends volunteers to countries all over the world. Each volunteer goes for a semester (so 3-4 months) where you’ll be helping children learn English or volunteering in an orphanage … and taking vacation time to see all the cool places nearby, of course.  While the travel is such a fun and integral part of your ILP experience, keep in mind that this is a volunteer teaching opportunity first, and a way to travel as a fun, secondary perk. 

If you're someone who is looking to be adventurous, are motivated to explore a new country, ready for new experiences, excited to teach and dive right into a new group of friends, it sounds like this is the start of a pretty beautiful friendship. Our organization is set up to help you begin your trip, but then the experiences you have are up to you. 

The Basics 

1. Semesters are 3-4 months long ( with Spring, Summer, and Fall semesters) 
2. Your program fee covers your international roundtrip flight, visa, meals, housi
ng, and more. 
3. You're not volunteering alone, you're set up with a group of fellow volunteers to teach and travel with. 
4. You're spending about half a day volunteering, Monday - Friday. Get every weekend off, plus vacation time. 
5. No need for any teaching experience, you're trained on our unique ILP method before departure. 

If you're wondering about who can apply, the costs, how vacations work, etc, you can read more on this post: Quick ILP Facts You Need To Know.

ILP Costa Rica

Now, How To Get Questions Answered 

Talk To A Rep 

If you're like me, you have a ton of questions right now (or will later on) about volunteering with ILP. For me, it was so helpful to talk to someone at the office about each one of those questions. We have a team of reps who have volunteered before (sometimes multiple times) to answer everything you're asking. 

Here's how to get in touch with your own ILP rep

The blog we linked above (and here) is also a really good starting point to help you answer some basic program-related questions ... but talking one-on-one with a person about your specific situation and curiosities is also extremely helpful.  They can let you know what current discounts we're running (and which ones you qualify for). They have all of the basic and insider info you're wondering about. 

Attend An Info Meeting 

ILP often has info meetings that you can attend to learn a bit more about how you can serve abroad with ILP. These info meetings give you a bit of an intro about what ILP is, and what you'll be doing when you sign up to teach English abroad. They're short and we hit the highlights, like how the program fee covers your visa and roundtrip airfare and housing and meals (and more!). 

It's also a good place for you to ask questions about the program that aren't answered in that short little meeting (they're all hosted by someone who has been abroad with us before). 

Check locations and dates of our next meetings, here. 

ILP Adventure - Romania

More About Our Countries!

This is probably the most exciting part of the whole process, looking at where you could spend your ILP adventure. We have locations all over the world, with every location bringing something unique and new to the table. But one thing to consider before you pick your top countries is to decide which kind of semester you're more interested in: Humanitarian or Exchange. 

Humanitarian Or Exchange Countries 

First things first — we have two different programs which give you different kinds of service for your semester. Before you start looking into the programs, step back and think about the following things:

  1. What kind of service am I looking to do?
  2. What country am I interested in?
  3. How much am I looking to pay (in-country costs as well as program fee)?

Our Humanitarian Programs have locations where you can teach English to children who come from harder social backgrounds and provide the opportunity to help with other humanitarian projects. We also have a humanitarian location where you don't teach, but instead, spend time helping in an orphanage! 

You can get a more in-depth breakdown of our Humanitarian and Exchange Programs here. We also have  Hybrid Programs, which are a combination of the Exchange and Humanitarian Programs. 

What Countries Can I Go To? 

Once you decide if you'd like to volunteer for a Humanitarian (or Exchange) program, or are excited for any service opportunity, you're ready to start looking at country locations! 

We have locations all over the world, in Europe, Asia, Africa, Central America, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific — visit our country page for a list of all of our locations, and more info about each country. 

  • Countries For Male Volunteers — we have some locations that are only for females (sorry, it's a housing issue!). That link leads you to a post all about the locations open to males. 

  • Countries For Married Couples — come volunteer with your spouse! We have a few locations where you can have an international adventure as a married couple. 

ILP Adventure - Mexico

What Is A Semester Really Like? 

Wondering what the food is like? Or where volunteers live? Or what a typical day of teaching is all about? If these are the questions you're asking, these are the resources to know about. 

About A Typical Day 

ILP volunteers are spending about half a day volunteering (up to 4 hours of direct interaction with the kids, plus preparation time, transportation, and clean up), Monday through Friday. That leaves plenty of time during the week for little adventures around town, and every weekend off for a quick getaway or day-trips nearby. Volunteers also get vacation time during their semester to take all sorts of dreamy vacations. 

Here's a breakdown of what a typical day looks like for an ILP volunteer — how meals may work, what a teaching day may look like for you, what sorts of things you could do before/after class, etc. It's going to be different for every location (and every person, even in the same group) but it could be a good overview if you're curious. 

The ILP Takeover Account 

We have the official @ilpadventure Instagram account run by our staff, but we also have a volunteer-run account where they showcase what things are like in-country ... it gives you a behind-the-scenes look at what volunteering with ILP is like from their point of view.

Every semester, a volunteer from each of the ILP countries "takes over" this Instagram account to show you around their city for a few days. They’ll show you things like where they are living, what lunch was that day, pictures of the kids they are teaching, show you what treats you can buy at the local store — you name it. 

Follow them at @ilptakeovers (and peek at this blog post for more info).

ILP Adventure - Dominican Republic

About The Application Process 

If you're looking to help out in the community and travel, come apply! The application process is really easy — here's a step-by-step breakdown of the process: 

1. Start by filling out your application (it's quick! You'll need some personal info, two references, and pay the $30 application fee — you can get this totally waived if you'd like! Just talk to your rep about snagging this discount).  

2. You'll get a text or call from your ILP rep, who can help you set up your interview.

3. Interview — it's just a chance for us to get to know you and get your questions answered. (Here's a bit of advice about your ILP interview if you're nervous). 

4. Acceptance — Once you're accepted to the program, you can work with your ILP rep about finding the perfect country and semester for your ILP adventure.

5. Assignment — Once you have some documents turned in, we'll work on assigning you to your ILP location! 

ILP India

+ A Few Extra Handy Things 

Be The First To Know 

Want to apply for a semester that's not open quite yet? Be the first to know when it opens here

We start accepting applications about 1.5 years before the semester starts (for both volunteer + Head Teacher applications), but if you're a planner you might be wondering when that will be for you!

We'll even give you the heads up a day or two before we let everyone else know so that you can be the first to apply and get a jump on snagging the spot you want in the semester you want.

About Our Instagram 

We already mentioned the @ilpadventure Instagram account earlier, but here's a bit more about that account — we're regularly posting pictures of volunteers abroad and answering questions like "Do I have to go alone, or can I bring a friend" or tips like "how to afford a semester abroad". 

It's a handy spot to get some more info about your semester or send us a DM to get questions answered. Plus, this is where we announce new countries, do a few giveaways, and post some handy travel tips. 

Plus, you can get an insider's look at what it's really like to volunteer abroad by following our takeover account. Every semester, several ILP groups take a turn to post all about their location for a few days and answer any questions you may have. You'll get a real life look at housing, teaching, meals, packing, vacations, and more.

ILP Uganda

It's travel time!

Come spend a semester with a group of volunteers, spending your time making a difference in the classroom or in an orphanage, with plenty of time to travel. Are you ready to dive in and start your application? Click below!

Start My Application


Topics: All About ILP + Volunteering

Hey friends!

We are ILP, a Utah-based non-profit org that has service abroad opportunities for college-age volunteers. We love travel so we're sharing all our tips for making the most of your time living abroad + seeing the world, and how to do it all on the tiniest budget.

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