Work, Intern, Volunteer 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.

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).
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

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: