Thanks for choosing SVI for your international volunteering project!
As an international volunteer, you can take part in one of our local projects! Every year, our association hosts volunteers on short and long-term projects in 80 countries. If no specific qualification or language is requested (but revising your English may be useful, as it is the language used on international workcamps), a real motivation for the chosen project is required. The success of your stay mainly depends on your involvement in the project.
Thus, so that you can leave in the best possible conditions for the project that suits you best, our team will be with you from your preparations to your return.
Before that, there are just a few small steps left:
- Become an SVI member, via the membership procedure;
- Select the project of your choice via our search engine.
How to proceed?
It is easy to participate in the project of your dreams. You can find below the necessary steps you need to fulfil in order to enjoy our services. You can do this via our members’ area.
If you already have an account, click here.
Register: Free, your personal Volunteer Space
Once you are on Free, you can create your personal account, which will give you access to all our projects, allow you to modify your information, track your requests and more.
Here are the steps to follow:
- To register for an account on our platform, go to https://www.servicevolontaire.org/signup.php.
- After completing the form with your information, you will receive an email to confirm your email address.
- Click on the link included in the email. You can then log in using your username and password.
How do I become an SVI member?
- Once logged in, you will have restricted access to our services.
- To gain full access to our platform and become a member, you will need to pay a membership fee.
- From the menu on the left, click on Payment and then Purchase.
- Depending on the project that suits you best, you can purchase a World membership.
- You will receive an email confirming receipt of your payment.
- You can view all your payments in the Payment tab and then Purchase history.
Register for a project
- Once you have found your project on the site, you can find it using Free’s search engine. You can also access it via the “Click here to register for this project” link at the bottom of the page of the project of your choice.
- To do so, go to the Project tab and then click on “Register for a project”.
- Simply copy the project code or project title/type to find the one that suits you best.
- Once you have found the project you are looking for, you can press the Register button to see more details about the project.
- Then enter your motivation for the project concerned and the desired dates (if it’s a permanent project, otherwise you will have to respect the set dates).
- You can then add additional files to your application if required.
- You can have several project applications active at the same time.
- Each application can contain a maximum of three project choices (called options).
- Only one option will be accepted per request.
- You will receive a confirmation e-mail for your application.
- You will have a coordinator assigned to your request and can directly access his/her email address for further questions.
- Once we receive your application form, we will organize a Skype meeting between you, your SVI coordinator, and the hosting organization. This meeting will allow the hosting organization to get to know you and to decide if your profile and motivations correspond to the project. It is an opportunity for you to develop your motivations, as well as to get the answers to the questions you may have about the project.
Joining Service Volontaire International
Joining Service Volontaire International and agreeing to its values is a prerequisite for taking part in our local and international activities. By joining, you can take part in as many volunteer projects, language stays, training courses or local activities as you wish. You will also be invited to the homecoming weekend (free of charge) and to our general meetings.
Membership costs €250 and is valid for life for an unlimited number of projects. If you live in the USA or in Canada, your membership is valid for 5 years. If you live outside of the USA or Canada, to participate to one of our local projects, you will have to find a sending organization in your home country. This organization will guide and support you with all the administrative and training procedures. It will also help you prepare your experience and advise you during all the process. If you don’t know any sending organization in your home country, don’t hesitate to contact us. We will try and do our best to find and put you in contact with a partner organization that is able to send volunteers.
Volunteers taking part in a European Youth Portal project can obtain a free, time-limited membership. Call us for details.
Youth organizations/schools can obtain a discounted membership. Contact us for more information.
Full membership conditions are available here.
Going on a volunteer project with friends
Although most of our volunteers go off on their own, it’s possible to go off with a friend on the same volunteering project! If this is the case, all you have to do is specify it on the project application form, by entering his or her first and last names. We advise you to get to know each other really well before deciding to go away together. Sharing a sandwich every day at lunchtime is not the same thing as living together 24 hours a day in a foreign country, sometimes in very simple conditions.
If you are a group of more than 5 people, you can have reduced membership fees. Just give us a call.
Don’t forget that if you go on a project together, you will be joining a group of volunteers who don’t know each other. We therefore expect you to do your best to fit in with this group and not form a sub-group.
Choosing a project
The project is chosen according to the volunteer’s interests and motivations, but also to his budget, his language level as well as his dates of availability. The first step of the process is to visit our database to discover the workcamps and long-term projects that SVI offers in 80 countries.
When choosing a short or long term international workcamp, you must take many human factors into consideration. Volunteers who misjudge their real motivations, idealize international volunteering, underestimate the difficulties, or overestimate their own adaptation capacities are likely to come back home disappointed or prematurely. As it is very important to choose a project as adapted to your likes and abilities as possible, please feel free to contact us. We are not a commercial company, we are not here to sell you anything. We will do our best to help and advise you, by providing you with testimonies from former international volunteers and as much information as we can so that you can choose the best project.
We will help you defining your selection. During this process, we will put you in touch with former volunteers and, if necessary, with your future host association. It’s vital that you take the time you need to choose your project carefully. For our part, we will do our best to provide you with as much information as possible, answer your questions and help you make the right choice. One more time, don’t hesitate to give us a call.
We need to have confirmation from our partner that you will be able to take part in your volunteering project before we can arrange your plane tickets and insurance. Don’t hesitate to ask our coordinators for advice.
Your motivation is the most important selection criterion to participate to a project!
Within the two weeks after receiving your documents, we will contact you to confirm whether or not your application has been accepted by our partner. Don’t hesitate to call us to find out how your application is progressing.
Once you have been accepted for a project, we will invite you to an information session and give you all the documents you need for your project (if you can’t attend, please contact us). We will send you the documents by email and arrange a call).
Please don’t send your application too late! Ideally, you should send your application at least 2 months before the start of your project, so that you have plenty of time to prepare and make sure you have a place on the project of your dreams. In summer, between June and September, we have more projects, but also many more applications, especially for projects in Europe. If you would like to go away in the summer, we advise you to send us your application by the end of May at the latest. Don’t wait until the end of June to contact us if you want to go to Europe at the beginning of July: it will be almost impossible to find a place for you. To sum up, you need to apply at least 1 month in advance to go to Europe, and 2 months in advance to go abroad!
Once you have been accepted, SVI will send you a confirmation form, which you should fill in and return to us as soon as you have your flight details. This form must be returned to us one week before your departure.
Organizing your departure
Once you have been accepted on a volunteer project, you will be able to take care of all the administrative formalities required for a trip: passport, visa, vaccinations, insurance, health insurance, transport, etc. You will find more information on the application form, as well as on our “Getting ready” tab. We will also give you access to a virtual library that has useful information to help you prepare for your trip.
During this preparation period, you can also take part in a telephone conference or Skype call with our local partner, who will provide you with a whole range of additional information to help you build your project.
In case you need a visa in order to join your volunteer project, we will help you go through the administrative procedures with the embassy of your hosting country. SVI and its partners can provide you with documents that will strengthen your visa application, like an invitation letter for example. Please feel free to ask if you need anything from us that could facilitate the obtention of your visa! Of course, we can not guaranty the result if you will get or not your visa….
Please note that it often takes at least several weeks to obtain a visa. You should take this time into consideration when applying to a project!
As an essential step in the preparation of our international volunteers, SVI regularly organizes pre-departure weekends that will enable you to familiarize yourself with a whole range of concepts linked to volunteering (culture shock, a volunteer’s place on a project, intercultural communication, return shock, etc.), as well as revisiting practical aspects linked to the discovery of a new country (health, safety, money, etc.). Furthermore, the pre-departure weekend is free (accommodation and food included), so don’t hesitate to participate.
You can find out more about these weekends on our dedicated page.
The info sheet
We will also give you an info sheet written by the hosting organization. In this document, you will find all the practical information you will need to prepare your arrival on the project. It also contains emergency numbers as well as information about the details of your arrival upon the project. You must read it very carefully to be fully prepared for your volunteering experience.
If you haven’t received your info sheet two weeks before the beginning of the project, please contact us immediately.
Ideally, your application form should be sent at least two months before your arrival. This way you will have enough time to get your visa and fully prepare your project.
Membership form, application form and later confirmation form should be sent by mail (in PDF format or scanned) to [email protected]
Do not book your flights before receiving a confirmation mail from us, which confirms that you are accepted on the project.
Every year, SVI organizes its “traditional” homecoming weekend for all our members. It’s an opportunity for around a hundred of our volunteers to (re)meet and exchange ideas with other French-speaking and international volunteers, so that the adventure doesn’t end when you return from your project!
Every year, the event takes place on the first weekend in October.
The idea behind this event is to forge links, exchange ideas, share your experiences and, why not, get involved in projects with other volunteers. The weekend is punctuated by a variety of fun and festive activities. We reserve the evenings and nights for your testimonials (and partying).
Calling all creative types! Anything you can think of to illustrate your volunteering will be welcome, from a PowerPoint presentation to a traditional dance from your host country! To take your commitment even further, this weekend will also be an opportunity to meet new people and create projects together!
It’s also possible to become a country referent at SVI. Someone who has been involved in a group project may be interested in becoming a country referent. The idea would be to contact you to talk about your experience during our pre-departure training weekends for groups, or to provide information to future volunteers by telephone.
How to sign up? Once you’ve returned from your project, the group coordinator will contact you by email with a feedback questionnaire. In addition to these evaluative aspects, we hope that the return of our volunteers will not be the end of an adventure, but rather the beginning of a new awareness and a desire to commit oneself, alone or in a group, to making our world a fairer and more united place.
Cancelling your participation in a project can be a problem for our partners. If you can’t do otherwise, please let us know as soon as possible.
Please note that some partners, in particular language schools, will not necessarily reimburse all participation fees paid.
Refund conditions and procedure
Any member may cancel their membership at any time by sending a written request to the Board of Directors at [email protected].
Membership can only be reimbursed if the volunteer has not taken part in any activities & has been refused at least 3 consecutive applications (options) (you have not been accepted on any project) & if the request is made no later than 3 months after payment of the membership fee. Please note that SVI never reimburses travel expenses, insurance, etc.
If you meet the 3 conditions below, fill in this Reimbursement Request Form and send it to your coordinator. Don’t forget to enclose proof of payment.
Under no other circumstances will the membership fee be reimbursed, except in exceptional circumstances and upon written request to the Board of Directors.
A member may be excluded from the association and lose his/her membership under the conditions stipulated in the association’s articles of association (for instance, inappropriate behavior on a project). In this case, no refund will be made.