International Cultural Youth Exchange

Interested in volunteering in Africa, Asia, Latin America or Oceania? Apply for the ICYE volunteering programme!

Applying instructions for the season 2019–20

How do people live their daily life in different parts of the world? Go to volunteer for half a year or a year and get to know! In the core of the volunteering periods is intercultural learning through grassroot co-operation. As a participant you will get to know the local living deeper than just from the surface and to practice your language skills.

Voluntary work is done in common-good organizations, especially among children and youngsters in the education and social work field – in schools and kindergartens, for instance. Volunteers are received also to the health care and environmental work field and to human rights organizations. The volunteers live either in a host family or at their voluntary workplace.

In each destination country the participants are supported and trained by the local ICYE orgnanization, and in Finland by the Finnish ICYE organization, Maailmanvaihto. In the trainings e.g. the role, rights and responsibilities of a volunteer, adjusting to a new cultural environment as well as health and safety matters are explored.

In the training camps of the program you will meet volunteers from all over the world: in the pre-departure training in Finland you will get to know other Finnish participants and in you destination country in the on-arrival training, mid-term evaluation training and final evaluation training volunteers from other parts of the world. After your return to Finland you will meet once more the volunteers who headed from Finland for volunteering abroad at the same time with you in a meeting of the newly returned volunteers.


Africa: Ghana| Kenya | Morocco | Mozambique | Nigeria | South Africa | Tanzania | Uganda

Asia and Oceania: Indonesia | India | Japan | Nepal | New Zealand | Philippines | South Korea | Taiwan | Vietnam

Latin America and the United States: Argentina | Bolivia | Brazil | Costa Rica | Colombia | Ecuador | Honduras | Mexico | the United States

Learn about the voluntary workplaces at the ICYE network’s search engine for long-term volunteering  ( In the search engine you can browse voluntary workplaces by country or theme of the work:

administrative | agriculture | animals | anti-drugs | anti-racism | art/culture | children | communication | community | cultural exposure | development | disabled | disadvantaged | education | elderly | environment | family | health | homeless | human rights | indigenous | migrants | minorities | religious | sport/leisure | women | youth


The year-long voluntary work periods begin in August–September when an on-arrival training camp is organized in each country that receives ICYE volunteers. The exact starting dates vary according to the destination country. In most of the countries one can also start a half-year voluntary work period in January–February.

Who can participate?

Mainly 18–30-year-old young adults. The age limit vary a bit according to the destination country. Over 30-year-old adults can participate in voluntary work periods mainly in Asian and African countries.

“As a volunteer I learned enormously about the local culture. – Jenni Valtere, an ICYE volunteer in a kindergarten and primary school in Indonesia

The participants need to have an ability to adjust, flexibility, openness as well as interest towards different cultures and lifestyles. It is an asset to know the language of the destination country already before the departure, but this is not a requirement. Not any educational or working background is required.

Participation fee and what it includes?

Africa and Southern and Eastern Asian countries: 12 months 4 500 € and 6 months 3 500 €

Latin American countries, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan: 12 months 4 950 € and 6 months 3 950 €

New Zealand and the United States: 12 months 5 500 € and 6 months 4 400 €

The participation fee includes:

NB! The participant also needs to pay for the flights and the visa to the destination country.

How is the participation fee spent?

The participant fee covers expenses that are caused by the voluntary work year and its organizing (such as insurances, camps and language courses). ICYE does not have a heavy international administration system nor does it as an NGO seek financial gain from the program.

When and how to apply?

The ICYE voluntary work periods begin in August or September depending on the destination country. The first application round for these departures ends on the 1st of November (of the previous year) and the second on the 1st of February. The first step is to fill in the application form which you can find from the applying instructions.