Are You Cut Out For Volunteering?

by isvolunteers on Monday, 23 November 2015

Some of you may ask yourself, “am I volunteer material? Will I be good at volunteering? Will I be able to work in a new environment, be with others and create the change I wish to see in the world?” Here are a few things to consider when signing up for a program with International Student Volunteers.


Volunteering with ISV can be hard work, but the meaningful changes you’ll make to your host country and when you return home will be worth the effort. (c) ISV

  • Are you resilient? Volunteer hours can be long, and part of the experience can be challenging. Factors such as the environmental conditions, the work itself, the group dynamics or homesickness can affect any participant. Resilience is an essential quality that will help you maintain your stamina!
  • Are you a team player? All ISV volunteers
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    Working as a team towards a common goal is an integral part of the ISV Program, and you’ll walk away from the experience with lifelong friends. (c) ISV

    will be working in groups and during your trip you may need to lean on, take advice from and work alongside strangers (who will become lifelong friends!) Patience, compassion, listening skills, and the ability to know when to contribute and when to hold back are important.

  • Can you adapt to new situations? No matter where you are in the world, things don’t always go to plan and things are not the same as at home. Whether it’s the climate, language, the food, accommodation, or a new culture, volunteers need to be adaptable and flexible to any changes along the way.
  • Are you culturally sensitive?

    Understanding and being sensitive to your host country’s culture is important when volunteering. (c) ISV

    One of the most exciting things about volunteering overseas is experiencing a new culture, but it’s easy to cause offence when you’re unsure of cultural norms. Volunteers need to do their best to be sensitive to the culture of the people they will be working with, whether it’s locals, staff from the host organization or cultural differences within the team of volunteers.

  • Are you prepared to roll up your sleeves and get stuck in? It goes without saying that we expect all volunteers to do their very best at all times – even when there are tasks that may seem repetitive and monotonous.
  • Are you proactive? Volunteers should be proactive in getting on with work, asking questions, sensitively raising concerns, communicating and making suggestions where necessary. We want people to take action and assist where they can see that help is needed – sometimes without even having to ask.
  • Will you stay safe? You will receive a thorough safety briefing and will be with an ISV Project Leader on your project, but everyone is responsible for their own safety and well-being, as well as looking out for those around them.
  • Can you reflect on your

    A participant writing in their journal on their ISV Program – a practice that encourages reflection and enhances the educational components of travel. (c) ISV

    experiences and learn from them, no matter what? Volunteering can seriously change your life, in ways that you may not necessarily expect. We want you to look at all your experiences with ISV as a whole and use them to create new opportunities when you return home.

  • Are you excited about meeting new people, gaining new experiences, being taken out of your comfort zone, contributing to a great cause and being changed as a person? We welcome volunteers who are open, willing and ready to take on anything that comes their way. We want you to work together for a cause, and be motivated to make a positive impact in your host country and when you return home.

If you answered yes to any of these, then the ISV Program is for you! Apply today at

To learn more about ISV, our responsible travel principles and volunteer projects please visit our website at


ISV volunteers at the end of a hard days work in Chintsa, South Africa. (c) ISV

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