International Cultural Youth Exchange

Go and work as an ICYE volunteer for 6 or 12 months in Africa, Asia or Latin America!

The aim of the voluntary work periods is to create grassroot level connections and understanding between people with different kinds of backgrounds. Time spent in voluntary work is especially about intercultural learning in practical context and sharing daily living.

“Through my voluntary work I got to see the many faces of the society and learned to live in a culture previously unfamiliar to me.” – Iina Hiironen, an ICYE volunteer in the Nigerian Red Cross and an NGO called Action Health Incorporated

When you spend a longer period interacting with the local people on a daily basis, you will get to know the local culture on a deeper level. You will get an opportunity to learn to understand different kinds of daily living as well as to otherwise gain perspectives.

In most cases voluntary work is done among children and youth in the educational or social field, but it is possible to get to volunteer in other fields, too. Volunteers live either in a local host family or at their voluntary workplace.

In the training camps of the program volunteers from all over the world get to know each other and form a solid group whose peer support is helpful and of joy. The program also includes the services and support networks of a professional office both in the sending and receiving country, a comprehensive insurance and a small pocket money.


Africa: Ghana| Kenya | Morocco | Mozambique | Nigeria | South Africa | Tanzania | Togo | 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. 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.