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Getting on board
Getting ready to go
While in Country
Returning Home
Getting on board:
Am I eligible to apply?
Anybody between the ages of 18 and 35, who is a Canadian, American or European Union citizen, resident or landed immigrant, can communicate in English and is physically able to go overseas can apply.
What if I am from a country other than the United States or Canada?
We accept Canadian, American and European Union citizens, permanent residents, resident aliens or landed immigrants. If you are an international resident, we will consider your application on a case-by-case basis.
What are the deadline dates for upcoming projects?
YCI does not have specific deadlines dates for our Youth Ambassador projects, Youth Discovery projects or Youth Leadership Teams. We operate on a first-come, first-serve basis. Most people like to have three to six months to prepare for their overseas placement, but if you want to apply sooner, go for it. It all depends on how fast you can get organized and fundraise. Because of the number of programs we have, we have departures happening almost every month.

For Global Professional and Youth Innovator programs, please refer to the job description for application deadlines.
How does the selection process work?
Youth Ambassador and Youth Discovery volunteers are selected based on their own merits: motivation, aptitude and a positive attitude are keys to success. Your placement on a program will be determined by your past travel, work, education and volunteer experience as well as your skills and interests. For Global Professional and Youth Innovator programs, applicants will be considered as per the criteria stated in the job description.
What if I have an allergy, dietary restriction, or other condition that may limit my ability to participate?
YCI does its best to work around dietary restrictions and other allergies or conditions. Please contact us for more information.
Where does my money go?
Click here to read about how we use the project contributions we collect from volunteers.
Are there any additional costs I need to consider?
Remember that beyond your contribution to YCI, you will be required to cover your flight and travel insurance (YCI provides comprehensive medical insurance but not travel insurance), medical expenses and entry visa (depending on the country). You may also want to factor in shopping, spending money for travel after project and potential travel opportunities during your project. These extra expenses will vary considerably from person to person so take the time to consider all of your costs and build them into your budget when planning your fundraising.
What countries do you have projects in?
Our projects take place in Guyana, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Ghana, and Uganda.
Can I choose which country I volunteer in?
During your interview, a YCI Volunteer Program staff member will help you determine which project you are best suited for based on your skills, experience and interests. In some cases, we send your resume to the partner organization so that they can determine where you would be best suited.
How do the projects in the different countries differ?
Each project has a slightly different focus, length and timing, depending on the goals and objectives. Click here to read about each country, the project lengths, dates and project contributions.
Getting ready to go:
What do I need to get prepared?
Once selected, you will be invited to a country-specific project website where you can find all the materials you will need to get ready, including paperwork and resources. You will need to obtain a current passport, get a physical, ensure that you have the required vaccinations and fundraise. You will also want to start learning the local language and definitely do some research on the country you will be working in.
How do I fundraise enough to contribute to the project?
You can raise the money through a variety of means including events, letter campaigns, presentations or personal savings. Be creative: YCI and other volunteers in your area can help kick-start your campaign! Every year, hundreds of volunteers successfully enlist the support of family, friends, businesses and communities in raising funds through events like bake sales, parties and presentations. Volunteers have also been successful in obtaining financial support from community groups, corporations and university groups. Once selected up for YCI’s programs, we’ll also set up your online fundraise page and provide you with a fundraising tips and techniques guide to help get you started.
What sort of preparation training does YCI provide?
During your preparation, YCI will guide you through a comprehensive learning program to prepare you for your project. Through a variety of methodologies, including online conferences and independent study, you will learn more about core development issues, YCI operations and tools for effective international service. Core development issues may include youth development, gender and the particular issue your project is seeking to address. YCI operations includes risk management, staying healthy and the particular ways in which YCI projects are implemented. Tools for effective international service include understanding intercultural communication and privilege, group dynamics and workshop planning and facilitation. Upon your arrival in-country, you will meet YCI partners and staff and receive an extensive orientation and training session to provide you with a context specific set of tools and resources.
What happens if there are only a very small number of people on the project that I’ve been selected for?
If there aren’t enough volunteers to complete the objectives of the project you are preparing for, we will provide you with a placement on a comparable project or location.
When do I meet the people who will be in my group?
We can provide you with the contact information of the volunteers who you will be working with once the groups are firmed up. Volunteers are encouraged to take the initiative to make contact with fellow volunteers prior to the start of a project. You may even be able to get together with the people who live close by. Volunteers will also have the opportunity to meet online in a pre-project learning session hosted by YCI. The whole group will get to meet each other upon arrival in country at the orientation training session.
While in Country:
What is provided while I am overseas?
YCI will cover most of your in-country expenses for the duration of your project such as medical insurance, food, accommodations, in-country travel and all related program costs. Volunteers are required to pay for travel from your own home to and from your project destination overseas.
What kind of insurance does YCI provide?
To keep you safe and healthy while you are working with Youth Challenge International on project, YCI invests in comprehensive insurance coverage through Chartis.  

While YCI’s insurance program provides a comprehensive health-care plan that cover health-care costs for volunteers while on project, it does NOT provide travel insurance coverage. This type of coverage would normally include trip cancellation or interruption, lost baggage and travel documents benefits, as well as potential hotel and food costs incurred from managing illnesses that could require you to leave the project. 

The Chartis program provides emergency medical coverage, accidental death and dismemberment insurance, medical and security evacuation, and access to security services to help safeguard YCI international volunteers and staff. In the event of a medical emergency, security incident or to access case management and medical support when a volunteer or YCI staff member is ill, Chartis is the first point of contact. YCI staff in conjunction with Chartis will determine whether you need to receive medical attention, where you will receive the best treatment possible and coordinate your benefits. Our policy provides coverage for medical treatment, hospital admissions and prescriptions resulting from an accident or illness.  In an emergency, Chartis will ensure you get immediate care, whether it requires evacuating you to a center of medical excellence or closely monitoring your condition with local doctors. 

The insurance program provided by YCI is in effect for the duration of your project with YCI and cannot be extended.  YCI requires that volunteers purchase additional travel and medical insurance coverage to ensure the most comprehensive coverage possible and the highest likelihood of having all costs related to travel and medical incidents covered upon return home.
What are the accommodations like?
Accommodations can vary depending on what project you participate in, and can involve you either living together as a group or billeted by members of the local community. For most of the projects you will be living and working as a group with your project team, which usually consists of four to 12 people.
What will the work schedule be?
This will often be the first thing that you determine with the host partner organization or community. The work schedule will depend on the work practices of the community and, sometimes, the weather! You will have some downtime and, on occasion, may have the opportunity to travel to surrounding sites for a change of scenery.
Will I get to travel in the country during project?
This depends on your project and the location of your host community. Most groups stay in the same community throughout their program, while other groups may make visits to a number of communities.
Can I travel after my project?
In most cases, you can travel after your project. In some project locations, you are not permitted to return to your specific host community for at least three months following the project end date. As well, each country has particular visa requirements that may sometimes prevent you from staying on.
What kind of staff support does YCI provide?
YCI hires staff to manage all programming and provide support and guidance to volunteers in the field. Other responsibilities for staff include budgeting, acquiring local sponsorship & partnerships, ensuring effective communication with key stakeholders, and maintaining safety standards.
Returning Home:
Will this help me get a job?
The YCI experience is proving to be a big draw on resumes. More and more of YCI's alumni are being recruited by other organizations—in business and government, as well as in the non-profit arena. By including the YCI experience on your resume, you demonstrate that you have been involved in experiential education, voluntary service and development work, which can nicely round out your education and work experience. We can also act as a reference for potential employers and write reference letters for you to be used when applying for work or graduate or professional schools such as medicine or law. Our alumni have been very successful in becoming doctors, lawyers, managers and other professions.
What skills will I gain?
You can acquire a solid repertoire of skills that will look great on your resume. Depending on the program, the skills acquired include:
  • Understanding of gender and development, HIV/AIDS and other relevant global youth development issues
  • Project planning, coordination and data collection
  • Understanding of community development challenges/opportunities and their connection with global issues
  • Intercultural cultural communication, adaptation and sensitivity
  • New language skills
  • Public speaking
  • Workshop facilitation and planning
How can I stay involved in development after YCI?
Click here about the programs we offer to keep Alumni involved in YCI after returning home from project.