Volunteering Overseas

Here at UUSU we are aware that some of our students may wish to take up the opportunity to volunteer overseas as part of a summer experience. We encourage all students to think carefully about this before committing, and to read the advice below!  

There are many opportunities offered by organisations offering short-term and long-term volunteering experiences abroad, which can be an excellent opportunity to experience different cultures, as well as give something back on a global scale. It is worth bearing in mind that there can be a substantial fee for these experiences and because such opportunities involve a lot of factors, such as travelling abroad, accommodation requirements, transport, visa requirements and others it is more complicated than volunteering in the UK.

Accordingly UUSU cannot endorse or recommend any specific international volunteer providers or promote them on our volunteering database as we are unable to verify the quality of the placements offered. We will however actively work with organisations based in Northern Ireland who are members of the Coalition of Aid and Development Agencies (CADA).  Membership can be found here: http://www.cada-ni.org/members/index.php

One of our student led volunteer projects is with Habitat for Humanity who work closely with the University Chaplaincy and ourselves to ensure support for students, so we encourage students to apply for this when applications open every October.

We also agree to work with government funded organisations such as European Voluntary Service (EVS) and VSO International Citizen Service (ICS) which incur little to no cost for the student.

If you wish to undertake international volunteering we strongly advise that you do some research before you decide what organisation is right for you. Please note UUSU cannot assist you with any problems you encounter with any individual providers, but we can provide advice and guidance if you are thinking about overseas volunteering.

If you are thinking about volunteering abroad please consider:

  • Finances- are you in a position to undertake a position and can you fundraise the required amount?
  • What kind of volunteer activity will you be undertaking?
  • Your own personal attributes
  • What are your motivations and what do you want to get out of your volunteering experience?
  • Do you wish to volunteer independently or as part of a group?
  • Any language/cultural concerns
  • What sort of pre-departure and post-trip support is provided?
  • Compare what is being offered by different providers and don’t be afraid to ask questions!

For further guidance on volunteering abroad please visit Volunteer Now’s website and read their Steps Around the World guide: http://youngcitizens.volunteernow.co.uk/why-volunteer/overseas-volunteering

There’s also some useful information about ethical volunteering available at www.ethicalvolunteering.org
Take a look at this if you want to make sure that what you do is of value to yourself and the people you work with.

**Please note: Companies, including those offering international volunteering, are able to book and pay for a stall in the Students’ Union to promote their organisation. These organisations are not endorsed or provided by the Students’ Union.**

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