Support to Volunteers

Posted on 2014-08-28 13:00:12 by Céline

Many people believe that good will is enough to go volunteering and successfully complete a project. An international workcamp is not a playground, but an experience that is not always easy to live and that a serious preparation is necessary. Volunteering is a great experience, but it also means leaving one's identity, family and taking the risk to discover the unknown. Doing international volunteering is confronting to inspiring situations. But some situations can sometimes appear to be difficult to live.

The preparation

Your motivations are diverse and generous, do not go to a project with a wrong idea of what international volunteering is. For instance, you are going to save a village in two weeks, teach English to children in a few days without qualification, play a doctor, alternative tourism, etc. That is why we are here to help you to carefully select your project and clarify your motivations.

volunteer trainingBased on our experience, we decided not to organize collective training courses "North-South" to explain what the "South" is. We refuse to organize parties where we will try to explain to you in an evening or a weekend, the reason why there is so much misery on 3 / 4 of the planet.

We believe that local circumstances here and there are complex and multifaceted. Simplifying these problems, finding common rules and coating everything in a simplistic political ideology seems dangerous. Thus, we prefer individual and practical preparation oriented to the association project. The only common preparations we organize are collective lectures about the cross-cultural shock on arrival and return. Those are opened to all.

All our volunteers, short or long term ones, are entitled to an individual meeting with one of our coordinators.

If it is necessary, we also organize a teleconference with the future hosting organization to make sure that everything works well between the volunteer and the association

Moreover, the volunteers receive a mini-portfolio introduction of the host country with practical information to properly prepare their projects. When it is possible we also try to get them in touch with former volunteers who already participated in a project in the same country. A good training and correct guidelines are essential to a successful international volunteering project.

weekend training

During your stay

Once they are abroad, we keep in touch with our volunteers. If it is necessary, we can play the role of mediator between them and their host organization


We often forget to prepare to come back thinking that is natural and therefore not required. However, most physical and emotional reactions experienced before departure and upon arrival in the host country will be experienced again when coming back home. Especially, if the volunteers have been gone for several months, they will not be the same person as when they left : a piece of foreign culture has been grafted to theirs, they might have discovered new things about their personality, etc... They will probably not have changed but their friends may have difficulties to  understand the volunteers. They may feel excluded because they do not know how to share what they have experienced.

At SVI, all volunteers participate in a meeting of individual assessment and are invited to a weekend in September which gather all our volunteers.

Attention, ceci est la version pour mobile, cliquez ici si vous utilisez un ordinateur classique