International volunteering - ACVE
Volunteer in Costa Rica - ACVE
Volunteer abroad with ACVE
"Volunteering can be an exciting, growing, enjoyable experience. It is truly gratifying to serve a cause, practice one's ideals, work with people, solve problems, see benefits, and know one had a hand in them."

Harriet Naylor

Volunteer Abroad with ACVE

ICYE & ACVE – what’s the difference?
ICYE stands for International Cultural Youth Exchange – one of the most long-standing, personal and flexible youth exchange programmes in the world. Thanks to ICYE, thousands of young people have been making a difference in all five continents. 

The Aotearoa Cultural & Volunteer Exchange programmes are organised through the International Cultural Youth Exchange Federation ( ICYE is a Federation of 40 Full and Associate member National Committees. National Committees are autonomous. They develop and run the programme according to the needs of the youth of their countries, and following policies and guidelines prepared and adopted by the General Assembly of the Federation. As a New Zealand youth charity, ACVE is the National Committee responsible for running the ICYE programme in New Zealand.

ACVE represented the ICYE New Zealand programme at the XXVVII ICYE General Assembly held in Costa Rica from 6-12 November 2011, and again at the General Assembly in Uganda, held in November 2013.

ICYE proudly celebrates more than 60 years of experience - its programmes are constantly revised and modified to reflect changes in society at a local, national and global level. Today, ICYE is an international, independent, non-profit organisation with a significant presence in 40 countries across the world.

ICYE works with and is affiliated to:
  • United Nations Economic and Social Council ECOSOC (Consultative Status)
  • United Nations Department of Public Information, DPI-NGO Committee
  • World Council of Churches
  • European Commission, DG Education & Culture Youth Unit
  • Coordinating Committee of International Voluntary Service

On September 15, 1987, in recognition of “a significant contribution to the programme and objectives of the International Year of Peace, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly”, the UN Secretary-General, Javier Perez de Cuellar, designated ICYE as a Peace Messenger.

Lifelong friendships
ACVE will work with our ICYE partners worldwide to find the right international volunteering project for you. ICYE staff work closely with host projects to ensure that all of our international volunteers are valued and supported for the energy, time, skills, creativity and passion that each individual brings to their host project. As well as providing a vital role in terms of project support, you have the opportunity to create lifelong friendships, learn another language and become part of a vibrant and uniquely different culture to your own.

Build strong communities
With an ongoing team of volunteers, ICYE host projects can achieve results that have a direct and positive impact upon the local community, particularly in terms of social, environmental and community development.

To be an international volunteer with ACVE means to integrate in the life and work of the hosting organisation and wider community. International volunteers are encouraged and supported to get involved in the planning and managing of distinct activities, take part in staff meetings, and to take on responsibilities according to their skills and interests, as well as the needs of the project. An important aspect of your experience is your active participation in the life of the community in which you will live and work.

The ICYE programme worldwide is extensive. Projects currently supported by ICYE volunteers include:

  • Art & music therapy with street children in Ecuador
  • Community sports coaching and soccer workshops in Brazil
  • Assisting families and communities affected by HIV/Aids in Uganda
  • Supporting human rights and child protection in Bolivia
  • Staffing a women’s drop in and counselling centre in Kenya
  • Working with young teenage offenders in Colombia
  • Assisting with public health programmes in Nepal
  • Teaching English and sport in local schools in Uganda
  • Working with children in an orphanage in Indonesia

Whatever you choose to do in life, ACVE can help you find the right project where you can gain real life skills, experience and knowledge in your chosen field.

For more information and a choice of over 600 projects visit the ICYE website or contact ACVE for an updated list.

ACVE International Youth Exchange Destinations

- Ghana
- Kenya
- Morocco
- Tanzania
- Nigeria
- Uganda
- Mozambique
- South Africa
- India
- Nepal
- Japan
- New Zealand
- South Korea
- Taiwan
- Indonesia
- Philippines
- Vietnam
- Bolivia
- Colombia
- Honduras
- Mexico
- Ecuador
- Austria
- Belgium
- Denmark
- Finland
- France
- Germany
- Iceland
- Italy
- Moldova
- Russia
- Sweden
- Switzerland
- United Kingdom

Want to know more about volunteering in New Zealand? Click here!

Click here to find out more about applying to volunteer abroad with ACVE.
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