Technically, you don’t! If you would rather search for organizations yourself, this can certainly be done. Of course, you might find it difficult to verify how legitimate they are. You may also have trouble finding acceptable accommodations. ELI is a placement organization. We work hard to keep costs down. We urge you to comparison shop - you'll discover that ELI's prices are not just competitive but also downright low compared to most volunteer travel organizations. By far, our biggest expense is to our foreign partners. We emphasize a fair fee for their services. This helps the local economy and raises the quality of life of our partners and their families. There are organizations that pressure their foreign partners to get the lowest possible price. A sad irony for a volunteer program. Now that you've seen what others charge, consider expenses ELI and our host organizations face -- expenses that dictate the need to charge volunteers:
Interning or volunteering abroad is an excellent opportunity to combine adventurous foreign travel with meaningful work. In addition to gaining experience that will look great on a resume, you will get the opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and improve your transferable skills like teamwork and communication. Above all, it presents an unrivalled opportunity to gain an insight into a new culture and way of life, something that is becoming increasingly necessary in our globalized world. If you need more convincing, check out our Director’s Blog.
Volunteering is all about giving back through meaningful, hands-on service in a project of your choosing. Volunteers may choose to do a project in a field that they are relatively little experience with or is unrelated to their career/area of study. Internships are designed for participants looking for more of an academic focus related to a major or a career path. The work assignment will be directly related to a specific field and will be supervised by a knowledgeable staff member. However, with both programs, you’ll be fully supported by the amazing in-country staff, living in the comfortable accommodations with ample opportunities for free time, independent exploration, and reflection.
Not sure which is right for you? Let us know and we can help you find the program that best suits your needs.Read our director's full description here
The cost will depend on the program you choose. Most programs have a onetime program fee based on how long you will stay. This fee covers our costs associated with setting up the program, accommodation, some meals, and in-country administrative expenses.
Please see our costs page for more information.
Exception: Last minute applications. If you apply to a program within 30 days of your start date, we make an extra effort to move the process along quickly. We need your full commitment to the program. In this case the 7-day policy does not apply.
Yes. If you already are insured at home, you should check with your carrier to see what kind of coverage, if any, you will have while abroad. ELI does not supply insurance for the simple reason that we believe that you should be able to decide on the nature of your coverage. Some insurance, particularly for students, is very inexpensive. We recommend STA Travel International Travel Insurance. You can call STA at 877-777-8717. Trip cancellation and interruption insurance is wise, since we are unable to offer refunds once your program begins. Other sources for affordable insurance:
Host Family: ELI truly believes that this is the best way to fully immerse in another culture and get the most from an international experience. All families are carefully screened and are well-respected members of the community. Most host families do not speak English, creating a full immersion environment to help participants improve their language skills. Participants will have either a private or shared bedroom with secure storage (volunteer must provide own padlock). Bathrooms are shared with the host family. Volunteers will be provided with breakfast and dinner daily.Shared Apartment: The shared apartment option provides you with your own room in an apartment with locals and people from around the world. This housing option is a great way to make friends and contacts your own age while providing the opportunity to optimize your language practice. Participants staying in the shared apartment will have a private, furnished room. Meals are not included.