International volunteering for 18-25 year olds

Safety and wellbeing

Is ICS safe?

Volunteer safety and security is our first priority. Each placement has been rigorously checked using risk assessments led by experienced agencies with years of experience, and backed by the UK government. Before departure, volunteers are given training on precautions they can take while on placement. We constantly monitor our placement countries to keep track of any potentially dangerous situations and with this in mind, evacuation and mitigation plans are in place to ensure our volunteers are safe and secure. On the rare occasions things go wrong we are ready to take appropriate action.

What if I get ill while I’m abroad?

While everything possible is done to try to minimise the risk of you becoming ill, acclimatisation to the local food and water and adapting to a new environment can be physically challenging. Volunteers can and do get ill from time to time. You will learn all about health precautions before you leave, and country office staff and team leaders will be available while you are on placement to help you get medical support should you need it. If appropriate treatment cannot be provided by local medical facilities, you may need to travel to another location where treatment is available. In some cases the required treatment may not be available, and if this is the case arrangements would be made for you to return to your home country. All our volunteers have medical insurance, pre-departure vaccinations and antimalarials (if required), and necessary medication and access to medical care and treatment paid for by ICS.

Will I be lonely?

Teamwork is a big part of ICS, and volunteers work in small teams of volunteers from the UK and their placement country. These teams are headed by trained team leaders who often have past volunteering experience, so they know all about how it can feel to be away from home. We pair UK and in-country volunteers together, which helps them to communicate with the community and learn from each other. Volunteers do tend to miss little things about their homes while on placement, but that’s to be expected when taking part in a life-changing experience. Many of our volunteers form strong friendships with their team members and still keep in touch with them long after returning home.

Where will I stay?

All volunteers stay in host homes, where families in the local community open their doors to volunteers. It’s a great way to integrate into the community and volunteers are often made to feel so welcome that their homestay is one of the highlights of their placement.


ICS takes its responsibility for safeguarding and child protection seriously. We will do all we can to ensure, as far as possible, the safety and protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in ICS. If you have concerns about the safety or well being of a young person or wish to talk to someone in confidence about a safeguarding issue please contact the ICS Lead Safeguarding Officer at VSO on +44 (0)208 780 7500 or