group of U of M Students in front of a windmill in Spain

Work, Intern, Volunteer Programs

    What Is WIV?

    WIV stands for WorkInternVolunteer programs abroad. The Learning Abroad Center also classifies Teaching English programs as WIV programs. These programs are non-academic and non-credit-bearing. Rarely, if ever, is there class time or assignments on a WIV program.

    The distinctions between Work, Intern, and Volunteer programs are not always clear. Similar programs will sometimes be grouped differently. Rather than focus your search by program type, look through the categories listed here, as you might find the program you are looking for under a heading you did not expect.

    Why WIV?

    There are many reasons to consider participation on a WIV program instead of, or in addition to, a conventional study abroad program.

    1. WIV can be cost-effective.
    2. WIV does not award academic credit and not all students need academic credit when going abroad.
    3. Program dates are usually more flexible.
    4. The program or project can supplement academic curriculum.
    5. The program fits academic plan/timeline.
    6. The program topic is interesting and engaging.

    How to WIV

    1. Read through the information and resources on these pages related to WIV opportunities.
    2. Set goals. Be honest with yourself on what you want from this experience. Let that guide your search.
    3. Search for programs on the Learning Abroad Center website under each of the WIV categories (work, intern, volunteer) and using the webpages listed on the resources page.
    4. Financial aid is not available for non-credit opportunities but you can explore other funding opportunities.
    5. Use the Forum on Education Abroad's Guidelines for Volunteer, Internship Experience, and Work Programs Abroad to evaluate potential programs.
    6. Ask questions. Once you identify a program of interest, ask as many questions as necessary to gain a thorough understanding.

    Peace Corps

    The University of Minnesota ranks 3rd in Peace Corps 2017 Top Volunteer-Producing Colleges & Universities. Meet with our Peace Corps Campus Recruiter to learn more about serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer.

    Health-Related WIV Programs

    If you are interested in a health-related internship or volunteer placement, complete the Global Ambassadors for Patient Safety (GAPS) online module before exploring program options. This module will help you:

    • Prepare for your experience abroad
    • Use your experience abroad to make a positive impact on you health program application
    • Consider the legal and ethical boundaries that should guide your activities while abroad
    • Understand your own limitations as an unlicensed student

    WIV Program Search Questions

    The more you know, the better your chances of being prepared for the experience and not be disappointed once you arrive on site. Some questions to consider asking the program staff include:

    • How far in advance do I need to apply?
    • When will I be notified of my placement or acceptance?
    • What does the program fee cover? What additional expenses can I expect that is not included in the fee?
    • Can I contact past participants directly to hear about their experience?
    • What is the daily and weekly work schedule?
    • Who will be my coworkers and supervisor?
    • What kind of supervision or guidance will I receive?
    • How much can I expect to be paid weekly or monthly (if applicable)?
    • Where will I live and with whom will I live?
    • Will I receive pre-departure information?
    • Is there an in-country orientation?