International Cultural Youth Exchange

Interested in volunteering in Africa, Asia, Latin America, or Oceania? Would you like to volunteer for half a year or a year? Apply for the ICYE program!

>> Application instructions

In the ICYE volunteer program, intercultural understanding is built through everyday collaboration. A 6 or 12-month long-term partnership provides a shared learning journey for both the volunteer and the hosting organization.

Where and when?

Kahden kuvan kollaasissa vasemmalla kilpikonnia suuntaamassa rannalta veteen, oikealla jalkoja ja sanko hiekalla ylhäältä päin kuvattuina.

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

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

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

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 countries, one can also start a half-year voluntary work period in January–February. The next departure for ICYE volunteering will be in January–February 2025.

Voluntary work in various fields

Kahden kuvan kollaasi: yhdessä kaksi henkilöä selätysten, yksi kiikaroi jat toinen katsoo lehtiötä, toisessa kuvassa lintu puun oksalla.

Opportunities exist in various parts of the world in different work fields, such as youth work, kindergartens, chools, homes for the elderly, work with people with disabilities, environmental protection organizations, and human rights organizations.

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:

As an ICYE volunteer, you work in supportive roles. You don’t need to have a specific educational or work background to participate in the program. On the other hand, if you are, for example, a healthcare, social, or education student or professional, it may be possible for you to apply your expertise.

In volunteer work, you get to broaden your worldview, learn about intercultural interaction, build new connections and friendships, and develop your skills. Volunteers typically stay either with a host family or at their volunteer placement. At the program’s training camps, you get to prepare for your volunteer experience and reflect on it.

”The wonderful people and experiences of my volunteering year taught me and gave me perspective to look at things from different sides.” – Sanna Ojaniemi, ICYE volunteer at an activity center for children and youngsters in Brazil

When and how to apply?

Yearly, the first application round for ICYE volunteering ends on 31st October, and the second on 31st January. In the second application round, you are welcome to apply to those destinations to which open places are left from the first application period.

For the volunteering period starting in early 2025, you can still apply in Ecuador (6 months only), the Philippines, Ghana, Indonesia, Morocco, Mexico, Peru (only 6 months), Tanzania, Thailand, and New Zealand. We will fill the places as and when we find suitable applicants. The closing date for applications is 1 September 2024. If the program country you are interested in is not on the list, please contact our office. We will be happy to explore the possibility of a volunteer placement in your preferred country.

Participation fee and what it includes

Yhdessä kuvassa henkilöitä ryhmäkuvassa ulkona, toisessa henkilöitä istumassa ringissä ulkona. Two photos: in one people outdoors in a group photo and in another outdoors sitting in a circle.

There is a participation fee for the ICYE program. The fee covers arrangements of the volunteering year, such as insurances, camps, and language courses. ICYE does not seek financial gain from the program.

The participation fee includes:

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

NB! In case extra costs are caused by the Coronavirus situation (quarantine costs when arriving in the destination country, for instance), the participant needs to pay for these costs.

Maailmanvaihto grants the participants stipends (maximum of 500 €) on an economic basis.

When do I need to pay the participation fee?

If after the selection interview, you are selected as a participant, within approximately two weeks of your selection interview, you will receive a participation and payment agreement with cancellation conditions to sign and you will need to pay a deposit of €350. In the contract, you will decide whether to pay the rest of your participation fee in one, two, or more installments. Your participation fee must be paid in full before departure.

Who can participate?

The participants need to have an ability to adjust, flexibility, openness as well as interest in different cultures and lifestyles. It is an asset to know the language of the destination country already before departure, but this is not a requirement. The volunteering periods include a language course of the local language. No educational or working background is required.

Mainly 18–30-year-old young adults. The age limit varies 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

We require a full coronary vaccination series from volunteers who will be working with people in a vulnerable position, such as the elderly or people with disabilities. Volunteers should also follow the ICYE and host country guidelines on vaccination. An exception may be made if you are unable to take the vaccine for health reasons.

”I can definitively recommend heading for volunteering. Incredible experiences and people.” – Antti Soininen, ICYE volunteer at circus and theatre activities for children and youngsters in Cochabamba, Bolivia

Further information

Henkilöitä istumassa tuoleilla ringissä ulkona, he katsovat kahta henkilöä, jotka seisovat, toinen seisovista henkilöistä pitää käsisään suurta paperia.

If you have questions, please contact us! You can reach us via e-mail at and by phone +358 50 346 0965

“As greetings to everyone interested in international volunteer work, I want to say that if there is even a small possibility to go, then do it! Along the way, you will learn new things about yourself, others, and the whole world.” – Kalle Godenhjelm, volunteering at an activity center for children and youth in Brazil