Skip to main content

Living overseas

As a volunteer you will live and work alongside local communities. This is a key element of how ICS works - and really helps to make stronger bonds and our projects more successful.

Host families

In most cases volunteers live with a host family, usually in very rural areas in developing countries where the climate, living conditions and the physical environment may be challenging.


Volunteers will eat the local food - sharing meals with host families and volunteer counterparts.

The local diet may not be as varied as you are used to and the option to buy western-style food may not be available. 

Maguette Tendeng teaches Catherine Laybarn how to cook a Senegalese cous-cous
© ICS / Javier Acebal
Maguette Tendeng teaches Catherine Laybarn how to cook a Senegalese cous-cous

Expect to be busy

Your team will be expected to make a serious contribution towards ongoing projects throughout your time away. You should expect to be busy with some very long days. 

ICS is not a holiday. You should not expect to travel away from your team or project location. 

Staying safe and healthy

As a volunteer you are likely to face all the usual health risks that you would in your home country, as well as new risks which are common in the countries where ICS programmes are based. The available support in local medical facilities may be quite basic.  

Volunteer safety and security is our first priority. All placements undergo a rigorous risk assessment and all areas are monitored for any change in circumstances that may make the placement potentially dangerous for volunteers.

ICS is led by experienced agencies with years of experience, and backed by the UK government. Find out more about volunteer safety and security.

Watch Georgia's a second a day video of life on placement
What are you waiting for?