International Service Perspectives from Weltwärts and ICYE Volunteers – Draft

This research looks at a variety of outcome areas on international volunteers serving with the Weltwärts and ICYE volunteer sending-programs. Findings from this report fall into three general categories. The first category explores differences between prospective volunteers and those who returned from international service. Differences in the following outcomes are explored: international social capital, open-mindedness, international understanding, intercultural relations, life plans, civic activism, community engagement, media attentiveness, and financial contributions. The definitions and discussions of these concepts are provided below, and are explored in greater detail in other sources. This report also examines differences in these outcomes between the Weltwärts and ICYE volunteer-sending programs.

Volunteers also provided their perspectives on how international service affected hostcommunities. Returned volunteers rated their perspectives on the accountability, reciprocity, and the equity of their service placement. In addition, they rated whether activities matched local priorities, and whether the community requested and wanted their services. Volunteers also assessed their effectiveness across a variety of activity areas, from caring for children to influencing public sector reform. Finally, volunteers described whether they made a lasting contribution to community members, along with what these contributions might be. The outcomes assessed include skills transfers, money or other resources, or even possible problems they may have triggered in host communities.

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