Stepping in this country is like stepping into a fairytale. Find massive churches that are painted a rainbow of colors, ancient castles that peek through green hills, and a sprawling capital city. Oh, and did we mention beachy getaways down by the Black Sea or falling in love with the L’viv chocolate shop?
Ukraine is vibrant, splashed with bright murals. Ukraine is historical, with little reminders of what this country used to be. But to you, Ukraine is home.
A note on our program in Ukraine —
Due to the military conflict, our Spring 2022 volunteers have returned home and the program is on pause for the time being. We have a long history of working with our partners in Kyiv and our hearts are with our friends and family there. We are confident that we will have a program again in Ukraine, but it’s just impossible to say whether that will be in a couple of months or a couple of years. We’re staying in contact with our Coordinators, students, and Host Families who are praying for peace and are eager to continue working with the ILP program. We’ll keep you updated when it becomes more clear what the future looks like for Ukraine and how that affects our volunteer program.
We had so many alumni reaching out, wanting to do more, and through many donations, we’ve been able to financially support our ILP Coordinators, around 20 ILP students and their families and Host Families, as well as countless others. We’ve also arranged for ILP classes to be held over Zoom for our Ukrainian students. Many parents reached out, hoping for a way to keep their kids engaged with learning and this is a great way we can do that. We have 70+ kids who are being taught online by almost 30 ILP alumni who are volunteering their time (plus numerous other alumni who offered to help as well). It’s such a unique way that we can do more for the families outside of financial aid, and pray that we’ll be able to continue doing so as long as resources are available to do so. We’re so grateful for everyone who has come together to make all of this possible. Glory to Ukraine.
There are millions who have fled Ukraine seeking safety and unbelievably there are many cases of children reaching the border on their own, without their families. The orphanage we work with in Romania has started taking in refugee children and our volunteers will be working with them. If you are interested in helping Ukrainian children, check out our program in Romania.
For some, it’s the stunning colorful cathedrals all over the city, others are enchanted by the history, and some love the people. You’ll just have to see what about Ukraine you love the most! A semester in this country is all about living like the locals. You’re living with your own host family and will hop on the bus or metro to get to school (and around the city). You also have so many adventures right at your fingertips: churches, cafes, museums, plus historical sites galore all across Ukraine. And on vacation? Plan on traveling to your favorite European countries. There’s lots to love in this country, that’s for sure. In Ukraine, your day to day adventures look a little bit like this …
Glimpse a day in Ukraine
HELP KIDS LEARN ENGLISH IN EUROPE
In this Exchange Program, you’ll be making a difference by helping children learn English, up to 20 hours per week. No experience is needed, we provide training on our teaching method! Volunteers in Ukraine are teaching a huge range of ages: little kids who are just learning to speak English, all the way up to teenagers who are practicing their language skills for college exams. You’ll be teaching at one or two schools that are spread all over the big city of Kiev. Working with a few different schools and staff which makes for a busy, but very rewarding schedule.
Volunteering and Costs
The heart and capital of the country, Kiev!
—Spring: Depart early to mid January – return the end of April (with the first group) or stay a bit longer and explore more until early June (with the 2nd group). Your semester dates depend on which group you join, but let us know if one works better for you than the other.
—Summer: Depart mid April — return home mid July
—Fall: Depart end of August — return middle of December, just in time for Christmas
—8-12 volunteers in a group
—Single males/females and married couples
—18-about 25ish years old
—US and Canadian volunteers
—No experience needed!
A QUICK NOTE ABOUT THE PROGRAM
We have paused our program in Ukraine due to the military conflict here. See note above for more details.
Not only do you get to travel to our favorite destinations within Ukraine, but you can also travel throughout the European Union. See how many countries you can knock off your bucket list this semester. In fact, Ukraine volunteers live right in the capital which is the perfect place for jumping on budget flights that take you all over the continent like Paris, London, Prague, Stockholm and so many more!
Here are just a few of our favorite European spots to go exploring …
Ukraine — See castle-like fortresses and green stretches of land in Kamyanets-Podilsky. Or head south to the Black Sea coastal towns like Odessa and Yalta for sandy beaches. You can even travel to Pinterest-made-popular spots like the “Tunnel of Love”.
Czech Republic — Arrive early, before other tourists, to walk along famous Charles Bridge. Then, plan on hiking up the hill to Prague castle, and some shopping in this capital city.
Hungary — Spend the weekend in Budapest! This city is all about relaxing in famous thermal spas and a walk around castle hill. Lastly, explore the gray turrets of the Fisherman’s Bastion.
Austria — Visit museums and photograph detailed architecture in tranquil Vienna. Before leaving, try so many local dishes like wiener schnitzel and warm apple strudel.
Slovakia — Trek up to castle ruins, have lunch on the streets of Old Town Bratislava, and fall in love with a country most tourists miss.
Norway — Island-hop around scenic archipelagos. Or, take a hike to one of the world’s most scenic hanging cliffs. Norway’s all about the outdoors.
Sweden — Tour through winding alleyways of the capital city’s Old Town. On your trip, enjoy live music in downtown Stockholm, and try famous Swedish meatballs.
Poland — Head south for hikes through the mountains to swimmable lakes. Stroll through a lively Old Town full of drool-worthy treats. Step back in time at numerous world famous WWII history sites. Poland is a volunteer favorite.
Germany — Explore fairytale castles, take a train through the scenic Black Forest, then check out the artsy side of Berlin. Munich is also a can’t miss spot.
Slovenia — Boat across a lake to the medieval Bled castle? Take the train through the underground network of caves? Hike through ravines and canyons? Slovenia has all of that and more.
Switzerland — Hike or take in views of the Swiss Alps by train. Or paddle board on Lake Geneva. But because you’re in Switzerland, you have to get your fill of chocolate before leaving.
Croatia — Ancient coastal towns like Dubrovnik, Roman amphitheaters, and some of the most beautiful coastlines in Europe. All in all, a dreamy vacation spot.
Estonia — Jump into medieval times in Tallinn. Ride your bike along the Baltic Sea, and kayak around Saaremaa Island.
Latvia — Get a glimpse of Riga’s skyline from St. Peter’s church tower. After, admire the picturesque Old Town then test out night kayaking.
France — Fulfill your childhood dreams by having a picnic in front of the Eiffel tower. Go spend an afternoon in the Louvre, or soak up the sun on the coast.
Ukraine is so much more than I can even put into words ...
“A few months ago Ukraine was just a word, a country somewhere near Russia. Now, Ukraine is so much more than I can even put into words and it has left its thumbprint on my heart forever. When I think of Ukraine now, I think of my students that I have taught here, I think of the beautiful city of Kiev, I think of the metro system and eternal escalator rides, I think of all of the new foods I’ve tried and my love of Georgian food, I think of living way out in Boyarka with 10 other girls all summer, I think of hearing Russian everywhere, I think of a thousand different memories that have all become a part of me over the last three months.”