The WISE® Volunteer Program offers people age 18 and older from around the world the opportunity to explore American culture by participating in various volunteer projects. These projects are organized and administered by various not-for-profit organizations in communities throughout the United States. The programs generate no profits and are supported through individual, corporate, or government contributions. Projects may include programs to work with young children, assist elderly residents, build homes, restore habitats, or perform nature preservation.
WISE® Volunteer Program participants are assigned to one or several community service organizations which provide a volunteer position including appropriate guidance and supervision. By sharing a common goal of providing service to the community, local volunteers and international participants have a strong basis for building a relationship. In addition, participants develop a close identity with the community and its people whose lives are enhanced by their involvement. Volunteers will receive a homestay placement with a family in the community who will share their daily life. This program becomes a deeply rewarding intercultural exchange experience for both the American community and the international volunteers.
In addition to interacting with community members while working towards a community goal, participants are commonly invited to become active members of their American host family. Participants are commonly invited to special community events and celebrations, providing even greater opportunities for socializing and experiencing life in America.
This program is available year round; however, specific areas or activities may be available only at certain times of the year. WISE® offers this program for durations of 2 – 8 weeks. Schedules vary but, on average, volunteers will work 25 to 40 hours per week.
Participants must be at least 18 years of age. There is no requirement that participants are still students. WISE® welcomes individuals with special abilities or skills that might be applied during their volunteer experience.
Participants may enter the United States on a VISA Waiver or Tourist category of visa. People entering the United States on a different visa or who have already entered the United States may also be eligible for the program.
Typically, participants are welcomed as a member of an American host family. Some programs provide for dormitory-style accommodations, but this is less common. Participants are provided three meals per day including lunch with they themselves may pack from home. Participants are responsible for the cost of those meals they choose to purchase on their own.
If you know of organizations hosting international volunteers please contact us. We will be happy to explore opportunities to expand this option.
For more information, contact WISE®.