University of Minnesota



Work, Intern, Volunteer Programs

Learning Abroad Center Volunteer Programs 2014–15

Winter Break

Volunteer and Community Engagement in Senegal

Spring Break

Volunteer and Community Engagement in Ecuador
Volunteer and Community Engagement in Guatemala

$500 Non-Credit Learning Abroad Grant is available for these programs.

What Is WIV?

WIV stands for Work, Intern, Volunteer programs abroad. The Learning Abroad Center also classifies Teaching English programs as WIV programs. These programs are non-academic and non-credit-bearing. Rarely, if ever, is there class time or assignments on a WIV program.

The distinctions between Work, Intern, and Volunteer programs are not always clear. Similar programs will sometimes be grouped differently. Rather than focus your search by program type, look through the categories listed here, as you might find the program you are looking for under a heading you did not expect.

Why to WIV

There are many reasons to consider participation on a WIV program instead of, or in addition to, a conventional study abroad program.

  1. They can be quite cost effective.
  2. The application process often is simpler than a study abroad program.
  3. The program or project can supplement academic curriculum.
  4. The program fits academic plan/timeline
  5. The program topic is interesting and engaging.

How to WIV

  1. Watch the online First Step module for WIV programs. This will provide a basic overview. If interested in teaching English, also watch the Teaching English Abroad First Step Module.
  2. Set goals. Be honest with yourself on what you want from this experience. Let that guide your search.
  3. Search for programs on the Learning Abroad Center website under each of the WIV categories
  4. Read the IVPA Principles and Practices on vetting quality programs and asking the right questions. 
    • The IVPA Principles and Practices are criteria to give prospective volunteers a reliable basis on which to choose worthwhile program experiences.The affiliated options of the Learning Abroad Center adhere to these principles. In all cases, it is up to you to research programs and make an informed decision on what type of program is appropriate for you.
  5. Ask questions. Once you identify a program of interest, ask as many questions as necessary to gain a thorough understanding.

Health-Related WIV Programs

If you are interested in a health-related internship or volunteer placement, complete the Global Ambassadors for Patient Safety (GAPS) online module before researching program options. This module will help you:

WIV Program Search Questions

The more you know, the better your chances of being prepared for the experience and not being disappointed once you arrive on site. Some questions to consider asking the program staff include:


Twin Cities Campus: