Learning Abroad Center Volunteer Programs 2016–17
Volunteer and Community Engagement in Guatemala
Panama: Volunteering & Leadership
$500 Non-Credit Learning Abroad Grant is available for these programs.
What Is WIV?
WIV stands for Work, Intern, Volunteer 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.
There are many reasons to consider participation on a WIV program instead of, or in addition to, a conventional study abroad program.
- WIV can be cost effective.
- WIV does not award academic credit and not all students need academic credit when going abroad.
- Program dates are usually more flexible.
- The program or project can supplement academic curriculum.
- The program fits academic plan/timeline.
- The program topic is interesting and engaging.
How to WIV
- Watch the online First Step module for WIV programs. This will provide a basic overview. If interested in teaching English, also watch the Teaching English Abroad First Step Module.
- Set goals. Be honest with yourself on what you want from this experience. Let that guide your search.
- Search for programs on the Learning Abroad Center website under each of the WIV categories (work, intern, volunteer).
- Read the Principles and Practices and Standards(pre-program, program, post-program, and organizational) to vet a potential program.
- The International Volunteer Programs Association provides criteria to give prospective volunteers a reliable basis on which to choose worthwhile program experiences. The affiliated options of the Learning Abroad Center adhere to these principles. In all cases, it is up to you to carefully review programs and make an informed decision on the type of program that is appropriate for you.
- Ask questions. Once you identify a program of interest, ask as many questions as necessary to gain a thorough understanding.
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 being 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 are 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?