International Volunteer Assignments FAQ
WUSC has resumed planning for international departures for our volunteer assignments. However, as the current global context continues to evolve, so too will our guidelines. The information provided below provides the most up-to-date answers to common questions and has been informed by international, national and local health guidance in Canada and in our program countries, and in collaboration with prospective volunteers. As new information and practices emerge, it is important to note that the information below is subject to change. All individuals considering volunteering internationally with WUSC must be willing to accept WUSC’s requirements and recognize that these may evolve over time. We will endeavour to update you as changes occur.
Yes, international volunteers must be fully vaccinated (two vaccine doses) against COVID-19 and be able to provide evidence of vaccination. Exceptions may apply. Volunteers will be provided a list of other required vaccinations for their assignment country. If you are unable to volunteer internationally, there are other ways to get involved! Check out our e-volunteering opportunities!
Yes, all volunteers receive emergency medical insurance while on their assignment. You will be required to complete a medical clearance process prior to departure. Medical insurance will cover any necessary medical treatment, including in the case of COVID-19. In the event of a medical emergency, evacuation is also covered if deemed necessary. Your health on assignment is a priority for us.
International volunteers are required to follow WUSC’s medical clearance process, obtain medical clearance and be accepted by the volunteer insurance provider to be eligible for a volunteer assignment. The volunteer health insurance does not include coverage for medications for pre-existing conditions.
Volunteers must agree to follow all COVID-19 mitigation instructions as issued by the Canadian Government, WUSC and by the local authorities in the country of assignment. You will be provided with clear guidelines and protocols to be followed while on assignment. All individuals considering volunteering internationally with WUSC must accept to meeting the following conditions:
- Volunteers must be fully vaccinated (two vaccine doses) against COVID-19 and be able to provide evidence of vaccination.
- Volunteers must meet Canadian and Assignment Country Government and airline requirements related to PCR testing.
- Volunteers must agree to follow all COVID-19 mitigation instructions as issued by the Canadian Government, WUSC and by the local authorities in the country of assignment.
If you test positive for COVID-19 and you do not require immediate medical attention, you will be required to self-isolate at home, follow all local protocols and inform WUSC and WUSC’s medical insurance provider of your positive result. If you require immediate medical attention, you will contact the WUSC medical insurance provider’s emergency number and they will involve the medical team and/or the evacuation and/or assistance provider as necessary to ensure you receive the medical care you need.
We cover your expenses related to pre-departure training, airfare, visa and/or work permit, health insurance, required vaccinations, criminal record verification and accommodation. You will also receive a modest living allowance to cover daily expenses such as groceries and local transportation. We provide a comprehensive learning and training program to prepare you for your assignment and support from the WUSC country office during your assignment. Related to COVID-19, expenses for mandatory PCR testing, self-isolation in your country of assignment and personal protective equipment, as required by local authorities, airlines and WUSC protocols, will also be covered.
Start dates for international assignments will be determined based on many factors (including the lifting of Canada’s non-essential travel restriction, vaccine availability, PCR testing availability and results response times, flight availability, the COVID-19 context in your assignment country, the operational status of the partner organization, visa entry and/or work permit requirements, your availability and your health leading up to your departure date). We will request your flexibility and understanding regarding potential changes to your start date. We will communicate with you regularly regarding your likely start date throughout the pre-departure period.
You are eligible to become a WUSC international volunteer if you meet the following criteria:
- You have relevant professional experience and qualifications to meet the requirements of the assignment posting
- You are available for 6-12 months on assignment
- You are comfortable with a modest living allowance and local living standards in the assignment country
- You are able to demonstrate soft skills in an interview: flexibility, adaptability and resilience, ability to work well in a team, self-awareness and self-confidence, and realistic motivations and expectations
- You are able to provide three (3) satisfactory professional references
- You are able complete the pre-departure volunteer learning and training program
- You are able to submit a criminal record verification
- You are able to complete the medical clearance process
- You have a valid passport, valid for 6 months or longer after your planned assignment end date.
- You meet entry visa and work permit requirements for the assignment country
- You are able to meet your public engagement and fundraising goals
Yes! If you do not see a suitable posting to apply to, please apply to the General Application and we will assess your skills and experience against the current opportunities as well as upcoming opportunities that would match your profile. We need volunteers with a wide range of skills, experience and professional backgrounds.
Volunteering internationally with WUSC is a life-changing experience. You will work together with local actors with one of our partner organizations to strengthen economic opportunities and empowerment for young people, particularly women and marginalized groups. You will contribute to making a positive impact in global development, share your skills and experience, gain new skills, perspectives and cross-cultural experience, and live within the community. Since 1977, WUSC has sent over 10,000 volunteers to help strengthen emerging and established organizations delivering essential services to communities around the world. Will you join our incredible network of volunteers and make your contribution?
The Volunteer Process
- Review our volunteer opportunities and apply online. We will assess your application and contact you within 3 weeks if you are short-listed.
- Participate in a pre screening call. If your application is successful, we will assess your experience and motivation through a pre screening call. You will have the opportunity to ask questions.
- Participate in an interview in which we will assess your soft skills - flexibility, adaptability and resilience, ability to work well in a team, self-awareness and self-confidence, and realistic motivations and expectations.
- Submit your professional references.
- Approval from the WUSC partner organization in the assignment country. The final decision will be taken by the WUSC country office and the partner organization.
We encourage you to submit an application 4-6 months prior to the month in which you are hoping to depart for your international assignment. This typical timeline is necessary in order to complete the assessment, administrative, medical, training and visa/work permit steps in the pre-departure process. The visa/work permit requirements and timelines vary by country. Applications for all open assignments are received on a rolling basis and assignments will be removed from the WUSC website once filled.
Most of our volunteer assignments are 6-12 months in duration. Check out our current volunteer opportunities which include the assignment duration. If you are shortlisted, you will discuss your availability with your recruitment officer.
Yes, you will participate in WUSC’s thorough volunteer learning and training program which includes self-briefing, online and in-person training sessions. You will also receive an in-country orientation by the WUSC country office upon arrival. You will be well prepared for your assignment and will receive support from your partner organization and the WUSC country office for the duration of your assignment. Prior to your departure, the WUSC volunteer mobilization team will guide and support you through the pre-departure process.
We have a country office in all of the countries where volunteers are working. WUSC staff will provide an in-country orientation and support you throughout your assignment. Volunteers report directly to their partner organization for their day-to-day work.
After completing your WUSC assignment, you will be invited to participate in a virtual or in-person debriefing session which will give you an opportunity to reflect on your experience from a professional and personal perspective and to provide feedback to WUSC. Should you require it, WUSC’s health insurance will cover you for up to three months after the end of your volunteer assignment. Once you join our WUSC alumni network, our public engagement team and alumni committee will support you to share your global development experience and provide opportunities to keep you engaged with WUSC and the global development community. The alumni network organizes a wide variety of events such as alumni networking and social events, virtual webinars, discussion groups, fundraising dinners, bake sales, movie screenings and more!
You will need to re-apply to a specific volunteer opportunity or the General Application. If you ended your last WUSC volunteer assignment within the past two (2) years, you will participate in an adapted application process.
Terms and Conditions
Your accommodation will vary depending on what is available locally. You will receive an accommodation allowance and support from the WUSC country office to find suitable modest and secure accommodation. Whether you find furnished or unfurnished accommodation, the accommodation allowance will enable you to have your own bedroom and basic hard furnishings such as a bed, mattress, table, chairs and cooking facilities.
Yes! You are entitled to 20 days leave per year (prorated for shorter assignments) in addition to your assignment country’s statutory holidays that occur during your assignment. You will continue to receive your monthly living allowance during your leave days. Please note that WUSC does not cover the costs of any personal travel during your paid leave.
Yes, you can. Many individuals have successfully volunteered with their family. We provide limited support for an accompanying partner and children for assignments of 12 months or longer.
Safety and Security
The safety and security of our volunteers is a top priority for WUSC. In the event of an emergency, the WUSC country office team with support from the WUSC Security Advisor and Canada team will take the required steps to ensure your safety and security. We have established protocols and procedures to respond to emergencies. You will receive safety and security information and training prior to starting your assignment as well as during your in-country training in order for you to become more security aware and maintain best practices to keep yourself safe.