ISV’s expectations for all volunteers

by Narelle Webber on Thursday, 30 October 2014

ISV wants our volunteers to feel a deep sense of pride and responsibility as they participate in our programs overseas  © all images, International Student Volunteers

While volunteering is primarily about the giving of yourself in a way that benefits the people and environment of the places where you are travelling or living, it is essential to remember that the opportunity to volunteer is also a special privilege.

Volunteers are welcomed into the lives of people and communities and become part of much larger initiatives. Volunteer projects happen because of hard work, planning and commitment on the part of local organisations and ISV working together toward a common goal, and of course, YOU!

While we know that our volunteers have very high expectations of their experience and of ISV’s role of facilitators of that experience, we also have expectations of our volunteers.

Be an ambassador for your home country and ISV!

The manner in which a volunteer applies themselves, their attitude, work ethic and sense of responsibility are essential in helping the entire experience live up to its many expectations.

ISV staff take great pride in the reputation we have built internationally through our programs and dedicated volunteers, and we want you, our participants, to feel that same sense of pride in joining ISV and being part of our global team. Please take these expectations for all volunteers to heart as follows.

  1. Be safe! Safety is ISV’s top priority; it must be yours too. ISV’s Global Risk Management mission statement is “to identify, assess, prevent, and competently handle circumstances that pose a threat to the safety of our participants and staff.”  We’ll do our part; however your personal safety ultimately depends on your ability to use common sense and act responsibly within established parameters for your safe participation in the Program. Safety First!
  2. Read up! Prior to departure, familiarize yourself with your Project Overview, Resource Document, the ISV Travel Manual, and any resources suggested by your Host Organization. In particular, pay attention to the Program Policies, the Terms and Conditions as outlined in the Travel Manual, the ISV website and in your Project Overview.  The guidelines are important and you must be fully aware of them when participating.

    Be safe, read up, learn, take initiative, get informed and be a responsible traveller. This image, ISV group in Australia.

  3. Give your best! Every day on your trip, remember how hard you worked to get there. On your Project, remember that you are there to help achieve your Project’s sustainable development goals and your team is counting on you. During the Adventure Tour, challenge yourself and reap the rewards for experiencing more in two weeks than many people do in a lifetime.
  4. Take initiative! We’ve created the environment, now it’s up to you to immerse yourself in the local culture. Take the initiative to interact positively with community members and get to know your fellow ISV participants who come from diverse backgrounds.
  5. Get informed! Learn as much as possible about your Project and host country during the Program. Use your journal, group discussions and other learning opportunities to enable you to appreciate, understand and reflect on this unique learning experience.

    A poison dart frog in Costa Rica; ISV leaders will teach you about the incredible natural environment as you travel with us; take initiative to learn as much as you can.

  6. Be a responsible traveler! Learn and apply ISV’s tips about responsible tourism (refer to ISV’s blog, here) in order to limit the negative and maximize the positive impacts on the local culture and environment.
  7. Respect! Show respect for the local culture and people, the philosophies of the Host Organizations, and for fellow ISV participants and ISV Staff.
  8. Be on time! Realize that we have important schedules to keep each day; respect each other’s time by being punctual.
  9. Be an ambassador!  Take pride in representing ISV and your home country, and be true ambassadors for volunteering.

Thanks in advance for seeing this experience not only as an opportunity of a lifetime but also a privilege that deserves to be approached with all diligence and respect.

For more pre-departure blog information please use the following link:

To learn more about ISV’s programs visit our website:

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