Information for Volunteers

Read this section for useful information that will enable you to make the correct decisions, ask the right questions, and ensure you have the best experience possible!

Terms and Conditions for ISV Participants

Acceptance Procedure

Each Participant must first complete and submit the ISV Application. Applications may be submitted by the following methods: to an ISV representative on campus, mailed directly to the ISV office, or online through the “Apply Now” link. There is no commitment in submitting an Application as each applicant must first be accepted to participate on an ISV Program.

Within approximately 10 business days of receiving an Application, ISV will contact Applicant in regards to acceptance into the Program, non-acceptance, or our need for more information. Once accepted, ISV will notify Applicant by email and/or phone with the instructions for the next stage of the process — completion of the ISV Participant Agreement.

Agreement Procedure

To reserve a space on the Program, Participant must complete the Participant Agreement and submit it to the ISV office with a $500.00 USD non-refundable, non-transferable deposit for the Ultimate 4 Week Volunteer and Adventure Program or the 2 Week Volunteer Only Program. Spaces are limited for each departure date in each host country. Therefore, ISV will only reserve a space for Participants on a first-come, first-served basis, in the order that their Agreement and deposit are received. If a Participant’s country or departure date preferences have changed since the Application, the Participant may indicate his/her new Program choice on the Agreement.

Participants who leave the ISV Program before Program completion

Any Participant who voluntarily leaves or is removed from the ISV Program before the scheduled completion of their full Program will not be refunded by ISV for any portion of the Program cost. Participants who leave may not be permitted to re-join the Program during the Volunteer Project or the Adventure Tour, including optional excursions and activities. ISV cannot assume responsibility for any Participant once they have left the supervision of the ISV Program staff. This policy includes any Participant being required to leave the ISV Program as requested by ISV staff for breach of contract, conduct violations, or for medical or personal reasons.

Participants who leave the ISV Program due to medical or personal reasons (injury/illness or family crisis at home) should consult their travel insurance provider, which may provide for partial or full recovery of their Program fees, depending on the reason for leaving. Participants who leave the Program for medical reasons (i.e., illness or injury requiring medical treatment or a short stay in the hospital) or personal reasons (i.e., funeral or wedding) may be permitted to re-join the Program at the discretion of ISV staff.

Program Deposits

The $500.00 USD non-refundable, non-transferable deposit must be submitted with the ISV Program Agreement in order to participate on an ISV Program. The deposit will assure ISV of Participant’s commitment to participate in the Program and allow ISV to make the necessary arrangements and reservations for Participant. Participant’s space is not confirmed until he/she submits both the Participant Agreement and the non-refundable, non-transferable $500.00 USD Program deposit. Upon receipt of the completed Agreement and non-refundable, non-transferable deposit, ISV will reserve a place in a Program (subject to space availability). Participant will then receive an Allocation confirmation by email which includes the assigned country and departure date.

At no time will any monies be transferred from one Participant’s account to another. Participants with financial difficulties may contact ISV to receive instructions on ISV’s payment option for the deposit ( $250.00 USD with the Agreement and $250.00 USD within 30 days).

Financial Due Dates

A minimum payment of $1,500.00 USD in addition to the Program deposit, is due by 90 days prior to departure. This payment allows ISV to assign Participant to a specific Volunteer Project.

Any and all payments for the ISV Program cost (including fundraising payments) are due in the ISV office on or before 65 days prior to Participant’s departure date.

ISV will send an invoice by email approximately 75 days prior to Participant’s departure date. The invoice will reflect a summary of payments received and any balance due. In the case of late payments, a $50.00 USD late fee may be charged by the ISV office.

If all monies are not received in the ISV office 65 days prior to departure, ISV will assume Participant has cancelled (unless prior arrangements have been made with the ISV office). Participant will receive a Program cancellation notice and cancellation fees will apply (as specified below in “Cancellation and Refund Policy”). Once cancelled, Participant’s space on the host country and/or departure date is not guaranteed if Participant becomes reinstated.

Meals On the ISV Program

Trying a variety of foods from other cultures is part of ISV's philosophy for an authentic experience overseas, and may be both fun and challenging.

  • Food on the ISV Program generally reflects the local cuisine. Some foods that are part of a regular diet at home may not be available on the Program. 
  • Vegetarians can be accommodated. Participants with more specific dietary requirements may need to supplement the included meals at their own expense.
  • Participants with food allergies (e.g., nuts) must inform ISV about the existence and severity of the allergy on the Medical Form or via email to the ISV office. 
  • Participants must include dietary needs on the Project Preference Form or via email to the ISV office.

Volunteer Project - Three meals per day are provided on the Volunteer Project. Meals may be provided by the volunteer host organization, the host family, or prepared/planned by the Participants. The Project Overview (provided approximately 30 days prior to departure) will inform Participants of the types of meals that may be expected on the project.

Adventure Tour - At least half of the meals will be provided during the Adventure Tour. The notation B,L,D is used in the Adventure Tour itinerary in the Travel Manual to indicate which meal(s) are included on each day (B= Breakfast, L= Lunch, D= Dinner).  ISV encourages Participants to explore the local restaurants and eateries in their area. Participants should make note of any health and safety information provided by their ISV Tour Leader prior to trying new foods or restaurants.

Meals in Transit - Meals while in transit between airports and to/from Project or Tour are Participant’s responsibility.

No reimbursements will be made for Participants who miss their included meals.

Orientation IN-COUNTRY

Participants on the ISV Program will attend orientation meetings held in their host country, one prior to the start of the Volunteer Project conducted by the ISV Project Leader and the host volunteer organization and one prior to the start the Adventure Tour conducted by the ISV Tour Leader. These orientation meetings are designed to help prepare Participant for the Volunteer Project and Adventure Tour.

Volunteer Project Placement

Participants are able to submit a Project Preference Form after their space is confirmed for a Program on a specific host country and departure date. Participants who do not submit a completed Project Preference Form to the ISV office by 120 days prior to departure are considered to have no project preferences.

ISV strives to fulfill individual project preferences, however project assignments depend upon a number of factors, which vary by host country. Common factors may include:

  • Project availability – not all projects are available on every departure date.
  • Limited space – maximum capacity numbers vary according to host country (average of 8 to 15 Participants per project).
  • Friend preference – placement on the same ISV Program as a friend(s).
  • Medical and psychological information – Participants’ needs, limitations and conditions are taken into consideration.

ISV makes every effort to accommodate individual project preferences, however preferences cannot be guaranteed.

Volunteer Project

Participants who submit their partial payment of $1,500.00 USD (as specified above in “Financial Due Dates”) by 90 days prior to departure will be assigned to their Volunteer Project and ISV will email them their Project Summary approximately 80 days prior to departure. 

Participants who do not submit their partial payment by 90 days prior to departure will receive their Project Summary approximately 55 days prior to departure, after their full balance due is received.

Approximately 30 days prior to departure, a detailed Project Overview is emailed to Participants, which contains information including project goals, host organization background, accommodations, meals, volunteer tasks, suggested reading material, a packing list supplementary to the Travel Manual packing list, and health and safety considerations.

An ISV Project Leader accompanies every Volunteer Project group. The Project Leader's role is to liaise with the volunteer host organization and supervise Participants’ safety and volunteer activities. Project Leaders are also responsible for facilitating group discussion sessions and guiding Participants in writing a daily field journal. Project Leaders send an introductory email to Participants approximately two weeks prior to departure.


Pets are not allowed on the ISV Program. Certified service animals may be accommodated (90 days advance notice is requested). ISV may limit, at the discretion of in-country Program Managers, the Participant and service animal’s participation on the Volunteer Project and/or Adventure Tour in order to maintain the safety of all Participants, staff, and in accordance with our partner Host Organization policies. Government regulations of the host country may mandate additional paperwork, fees and/or quarantine of a service animal for several weeks prior to arrival. ISV is not responsible for government requirements or decisions regarding service animal entry to the host country.

Legal Dispute

If a dispute arises between the parties of the Program Agreement with regard to any of the provisions or the performance of any Terms and Conditions of the Agreement, all forms of dispute resolution, including mediation, arbitration and legal proceedings of any kind, shall be brought exclusively in Orange County, California. The parties to the Program Agreement submit, agree and attorn to jurisdiction in Orange County, California in all forums for mediation, arbitration and legal proceedings, including California and federal court actions. If a party brings any action or proceeding in any other location or forum other than Orange County, California, the other party shall have a right to have said action or proceeding transferred to Orange County, California by stipulation of the parties, and the party bringing the action or proceeding shall cooperate accordingly.

Cancellation and Refund Policy

Cancellation of Program participation must be in writing by the Participant (by email or mail with confirmation of receipt by ISV). No verbal cancellations will be accepted. Participant must inform both ISV and his/her travel and cancellation insurance provider of cancellation. If the reason for cancellation falls within the terms of Participant's insurance policy then the provider may refund Participant. If Participant’s insurance claim is denied, Participant may then submit proof of denial to ISV, and the Cancellation Policy as follows will apply.

All deposits are non-refundable and non-transferable. Program arrangements require ISV to make financial commitments on Participant’s behalf in advance of the departure date. When ISV receives Participant's written cancellation, a cancellation fee will be incurred. The amount of the cancellation fee is determined by the number of days prior to Participant's departure date that the written cancellation notice is received and is specified as follows:




1. On or before 60 days prior to departure

100% of Program costs (less program deposits)

2. 59 days to 30 days prior to departure

50% of program costs (less program deposits)

3. 29 days to 14 days prior to departure

25% of program costs (less program deposits)

4. 13 days or less prior to departure

0% of program costs

Cancellation refunds will be processed after the END of the ISV Program term (September-October 2017). Overpayment refunds will be processed once Participant’s account is audited. Participants who cancel their ISV Program will be issued a non-transferable $500.00 USD voucher valid towards an ISV Program within two years of the originally scheduled departure date.

The Program itinerary is subject to modifications and changes by ISV without notice. Every reasonable effort will be made to operate the Program as planned; however, should unforeseen world events and local conditions require our itinerary to be altered or cancelled, ISV reserves the right to do so for the safety and best interest of the group. If such issues arise and ISV is forced to cancel a Program within 60 days of departure, no refund can be given by ISV. Participant may be reallocated to a different host country in the current Program season (subject to space availability). In the event reallocation cannot be made, ISV will issue Participant a non-transferable voucher for Program costs paid, valid towards an ISV Program within two years.


All Participants must secure travel cancellation insurance and medical insurance which covers them for the duration of their ISV Program. Participants must provide the ISV office with proof of insurance (including provider name, policy number and a copy of coverage details) no later than 105 days prior to departure. ISV partners with Travel Guard to offer an insurance plan which Participants may purchase.

ISV recommends that Participant purchases his/her travel insurance as soon as possible after securing a space on the ISV Program. Many travel insurance policies combine both cancellation and medical coverage. Participants may compare policies from different providers and select a policy that meets the required policy conditions and his/her individual personal needs. Participants should read any insurance policy thoroughly to become familiar with the circumstances that may be covered, as these vary greatly from one policy to another. ISV is not responsible for any insurance actions, exclusions or omissions.

If Participant has a pre-existing or current medical or psychological condition or limitation, he/she must inform the ISV office on the Medical Form or at any time via email. Some insurance providers may offer coverage for pre-existing medical conditions if Participant purchases insurance within a specific number of days from paying the Program deposit.

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