International Voluntary Service Since 1982
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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions Commonly Asked By Volunteers

You can find helpful information among these questions commonly asked by prospective volunteers! If you don't find what you are looking for, please email us at info@vfp.org

Where can I volunteer?

We offer projects in more than 100 countries around the world! You can find most of our projects in Europe, Asia, Africa, Haiti and the USA. We also offer some projects in Central and South America, but international voluntary service is still developing in this region of the world. Most of the projects in this region are MLTV (medium and long-term volunteer) projects. Search our Volunteer Project List to explore projects that we are offering now! 

When are the volunteer projects?

Most of our projects (about 80%) occur between May and September which is the busy season for VFP and our partner organizations. However, we do offer projects all year long. We encourage you to inquire about what is available during your time frame!

How long can I be a volunteer?

Most of our projects are short-term projects (2-3 weeks). We also offer medium-term volunteer projects (MTV) that are 1-3 months, and long-term volunteer projects (LTV) also known as permanent projects. Permanent projects are available all year long and have flexible beginning and end dates. These projects usually have a minimum stay of 2 weeks or 1 month. 

I don't live in the U.S. Can I still participate?

If you are not an America or a U.S. resident you must apply to our projects through our partner organization in your home country. Partner Organizations have their own registration process and fees, but usually offer the same projects as VFP! Please contact us if you have questions!

How much does it cost?

For adult volunteers (ages 18 and up), the registration fee is $500, regardless of the length of your program. Our registration fee is $650 for teens. The registration fee includes the placement process, food, accommodation, leadership, and work materials during the project. Some projects, especially those in developing countries, have an additional fee payable on arrival to help subsidize the cost of the program for our partner organization. Volunteers arrange and pay for their own transportation for the project. 

How can I apply for a project?

The first step is to create an account on our website. Through your account, you can search and register for a project, donate to VFP, visit our global gift shop and much more! Once you have found the project you want to participate in, complete the registration form and pay the registration fee all while logged in to your account. The registration form will have a place for you to include a motivation letter for the project and any relevant experience or past volunteer experience you may have.

What is the registration process?

Once we have received your registration form and registration fee via our website, we will begin to process your application. Placement typically takes between 3-5 business days for short-term projects and 1-2 weeks for MTV and LTV projects. If projects are full, we will consider you for your 2nd and 3rd project choices. Once we hear back from our partner organizations, we will inform you of the status of your placement. If you are unable to be placed in a project, you have the option of working with us to find another project or the registration fee can be refunded to you. However if you are placed in a project, that fee is non-refundable. Please read our Terms, Conditions and Cancellation Policy for more information!

How do I find transportation to my project?

Transportation costs are not included in the registration fee. Volunteers are responsible for arranging and funding the transportation needed to get to the project location. A detailed information sheet is sent to all accepted volunteers no later than 1 month prior to the project start date which includes directions to the project meeting point where all volunteers will travel to the project location together.

Can I volunteer with a friend or spouse?

Yes! On your registration form you can put the name of someone you would like to be placed in a project with. Projects are also filled on a first-come-first-served basis. VFP and our partner organizations aim to keep projects as diverse as possible. Therefore, usually no more than 2 volunteers from the same country will be placed in a project together. We recommend registering well in advance if you want to be placed together!

Is there insurance provided?

Coverage is provided for accidents only at most, but not all, projects abroad. For additional information please visit our Volunteer Resources page.

Do I need to know a foreign language to participate?

English is the spoken language in the majority of projects, unless otherwise stated in the project description. There are some projects that are specifically designed to enhance language skills for a specific language like German or Italian, in which case some previous knowledge may be required.

What type of work will I be doing?

You pick the type of volunteer work you want to do! Projects can incorporate many types of work because the theme arises from the needs of the local community. Some work themes include construction, renovation, environment, agriculture, archaeology, historic preservation, teaching, work with children, campaign awareness like AIDS/HIV education, social work with a demographic in need like the elderly and mentally or physically disabled individuals.

What are the accommodations like?

Living conditions vary greatly from project to project. Generally, 10-20 people from four or more countries are housed in a community building like a school, church or community center with separate accommodation for male and female volunteers. Living arrangements are generally cooperative, like a family, with volunteers coordinating and sharing the day-to-day activities such as food preparation and cleaning. Most accommodations are rustic and require volunteers to bring a sleeping bag and mat. Longer volunteer experiences are usually less rustic and may include a home-stay or a dormitory style situation. 

How do VFP's partner organizations work?

All projects abroad are managed by our partner organizations abroad. VFP places our volunteers on projects through our partners. In exchange VFP receives foreign volunteers from our partners to work on projects that VFP organizes in the U.S. I other words, VFP only exchanges volunteers with our partners. No money is ever exchanged, just the hard work of our dedicated volunteers! 

Can I receive college credit for a volunteer project?

If you are already a student, the simplest way is to arrange an "independent study" through a willing professor/sponsor at your own school. 

Participants interested in earning academic credit for their experience on these programs can visit this site to see several options. Academic credit options through Seattle Central Community College: http://seattlecentral.edu/coop/travel_courses.php

Or feel free to contact Professor Steve Tash:

Professor Steve Tash can provide inexpensive college credit for your voluntary service. The credits cost $300.00 for five quarter credits (=3 semester); or $550 for 10 quarter credits (=6 semester). You should check with your home school/university and get transfer permission to take "off campus credits" in advance.