In each teaching location your service to children links you to a network of friends that provides the support that you need. Volunteers come from a wide variety of backgrounds, but for many this is the first time living out of the country. We try to provide all the help a volunteer needs to acclimate themselves to their new environment.
[acc_item title="Are there any local leaders?"] ILP has native, on-site coordinators that help volunteers enjoy their country safely as a foreigner. Coordinators cover our cultural blindness and help volunteers understand what places are safe, what is happening in the local community, activities to be involved in or stay away from, and how to respect local customs and traditions. They help with cultural issues, safety and medical care, interaction with the schools and parents, and look out for the general needs of the volunteers while abroad. They are typically professionals that live with their families close to the location of the teachers.[/acc_item]
[acc_item title="Has anyone in my group already taught before?"] Yes, there will be at least one person (your head teacher) who has taught before. Head teachers are American volunteer peer supervisors that have at least one semester of teaching experience, and lead a team of volunteers in each location. Their primary responsibilities are advising teachers, teacher training, and program administration.
You may also have alumni who are returning to teach for the second or third time.[/acc_item]
[acc_item title="Can I talk to someone who has already taught?"] Our office representatives have all recently returned from a semester abroad and are happy to answer your questions. Once you have been assigned to a country and school, you are invited to join your country's Facebook group. There, you can connect with alumni, current volunteers, and others like you who are planning to go. This is a good source to ask specific questions such as, "Is there a computer I can use at the school?"[/acc_item]
[acc_item title="What if my local leaders aren't helping me?"] We do our best to choose both head teachers and local coordinators who will follow the standard that we ask of them. If for some reason you don't feel like they are meeting your needs, you have a representative at our office in Utah who is eager to help. Your representative will be your contact person before departure, but is also there to help you during your experience abroad. The ILP directors give you their emails and cell phone numbers. You can even call them at midnight! Well, hopefully you're only calling them at midnight if there's an emergency...but you have that option available. You have many resources to reach out to.[/acc_item]
[acc_item title="Does the ILP office keep in touch while I'm abroad?"] Yes! You may not see it, but there's a lot going on behind the scenes. Each semester is different and with experience we know the best way to handle things is on a case-by-case situation. One of our directors has a scheduled call with your head teacher each week while you are abroad. They talk about what's going on with your group, the school, and what improvements or changes need to be made. Our office is also in contact with your local leaders when needed.[/acc_item]
[acc_item title="Does ILP ever check up on the situation at the school?"] We go to great lengths and costs to make sure that we are sending volunteers to schools that are consistently keeping up to our standard. Each semester, one of the program directors visits each and every school. They meet with both the school and local leaders as well as each volunteer to make sure that your experience is a successful one and to see how we can help you.[/acc_item]
[acc_item title="What if I get homesick?"] Everyone handles stressful and foreign situations differently, but we know that homesickness is a common thing. During your pre-departure training, we address this issue and help you understand ways to overcome homesickness. Your head teacher and group members are also there to help you enjoy your experience. Just know that sometimes the experiences where you grow the most come only after stepping out of your comfort zone. We're here to help WHEN you miss the comforts of home.[/acc_item]