Discover the world, learn new skills and help fight poverty with Y Care International on the International Citizen Service.

Here are the main stages when applying and – if you’re successful – volunteering on ICS.

1. Apply online

orangearrowFirst, please take a look at who can apply to check if you’re able to take part before beginning your application.

You can apply throughout the year for a placement. We recommend that you apply about six months before you want to travel.

Make sure on your application you state that you want to volunteer with YMCA / Y Care International. You will also be asked if you have a preferred country you would like to work in. If you are 23 and over, you could apply as a Team Leader.

Learn more about what you can do on our projects around the world.

While we can’t guarantee you will be given your first choice, ICS will try to match you up with your preferred organisation and country.

You will find out if your application has been accepted within 10 days and what your fundraising target will be. If you haven’t got through you’ll find out why.

2. Come to a Selection Day

If your application passes the first stage, we will invite you to a Selection Day with other applicants.

This is your chance to learn more about the programme and for us to build a clearer picture of your potential. It will include a few group activities and a 1:1 interview, with lunch provided.

Overall, we’re looking for people who are:

– Good at working in a team
– Sensitive to the needs of others
– Flexible and adaptable
– Committed to learning
– Able to show a positive and realistic commitment to taking part

Your participation in ICS shouldn’t leave you out of pocket, so we’ll reimburse any reasonable travel and accommodation expenses. If you have any questions just email or

After the Selection Day, we’ll let you know as soon as we can if you have been selected to be an ICS volunteer and ask you to commit to the programme.

ICS isn’t the right volunteering experience for everyone. If you are not selected then we will give you detailed feedback on why and what you could do better to show us that you are right for ICS. We will also give you details on other ways you can make a difference to vulnerable young people around the world.

3. Pre-Departure Training

If you are selected, you will be invited to a fun and interactive two-day training to fully prepare you for your volunteer placement, including an overnight stay.

At the training, you will find out more about the countries and specific projects you will work on, the types of issues you’ll be tackling and the difference you could make. You’ll also meet and get to know the other young people from the UK you will be working with!

Again, we’ll make sure you are not out of pocket and reimburse any reasonable travel and accommodation expenses.

4. Reach your fundraising target

All volunteers are expected to raise a minimum of £800 before they go. You will be given your fundraising target after your application is accepted.

But don’t be intimidated, you’ll have plenty of time to achieve your fundraising target and get lots of ideas and support from an experienced fundraiser.

Learn more about Fundraising

5. Get ready to go

We will arrange your flights, travel and medical insurance, food and accommodation. We will also support you in getting any necessary vaccinations and visas. As you will be working to help improve the lives of vulnerable young people, we will ask you to complete a Disclosure and Baring Service (DBS) check (this used to be called a ‘CRB’ check).

You’ll travel to your host country as part of a small group, made up of fellow volunteers from the UK who you met at the training weekend.

6. Complete your placement

When you arrive at your YMCA you will be given some focused on-the-ground training to help you find your feet before starting your 10-12 week placement. You’ll work alongside local volunteers, tackling problems together and sharing valuable knowledge about how to get things done and how to make a positive difference in the long term.

You’ll have a lot of support around you. You’ll be paired with a local young volunteer who lives in the area and be working with local YMCA staff. Your group will have a Team Leader from the UK to help you settle in and sort out any difficulties. Our staff in the UK will also be available in case of emergency.

Learn more about What You Will Do

7. Take action at home

When you return home, we will help you to make the most of your new skills and experience by taking action in your local community within six months. It is a requirement of the programme for ICS volunteers to participate in a return action.

You will carry out a project of your choice to share what you’ve learnt and to encourage others to take action against poverty. This might involve campaigning and lobbying, or holding a talk at a youth or community centre – whatever your volunteering experience has inspired you to do.

Learn more about return action.