About International Volunteering
International volunteering projects are organised by the Community Partnerships & Volunteering team. The international volunteering programme was piloted in 2006 and started in earnest 2007 to celebrate Leeds Met's centenary year. The idea was to provide the opportunity for 100 Leeds Met staff and students to volunteer abroad and since then about 650 have taken part. Above all we want to provide, affordable, safe, meaningful, challenging and rewarding experiences for our volunteers and create long-lasting beneficial relationships with our community partners overseas whilst supporting various aims of Leeds Met including internationalisation, employability and education.
We have a strong commitment to enhancing the employability skills of all our volunteers and you'll find this theme throughout the way the programme works: the application and selection process, team sessions on employability and being a reflective practitioner.
We work with colleagues across the University who help in a variety of ways to deliver the programme. A key role is that of the team leader. Our team leaders come from all backgrounds and they take on a very important job and give up much of their free timg helping to plan the projects, recruit volunteers, lead the time whilst abroad and generally help things to run smoothly.
Community partnerships overseas
We work with a range of partners overseas. For some projects we liaise directly with the community partner and for others we've been put in touch with the community partner by an overseas university who has helped us with some of the arrangements. In all cases, a great deal of care has gone into making sure the partnership is right for all involved. Overall the aim is to create sustainable relationships which benefit all involved.
Community partnerships in the UK
It's not all about volunteering overseas. The Community Partnerships & Volunteering team also support UK charities and community groups by helping to find volunteers. We believe that volunteering can seriously help your personal and professional development and you don't necessarily have to travel thousands of miles to do it (unless you want to!) Click here to find out what else the CPV does.
In it for the long haul
Being part of a volunteering project isn't just about the trip itself. There's a lot involved beforehand and a little bit afterwards. To give you an idea of what to expect, here's and example:
complete application from
come to an interview and get a place
complete all paper work and pay deposit
come to compulsory volunteer meetings
March - June
compulsory team meeting (every fortnight) fundraising, team socials, specific project preparation e.g. Spanish classes and preparing teaching materials, organising jabs, getting insurance, pre-departure shopping (don't worry we'll remind you about all of this).
Mid June - Mid July
Abroad, working really hard but having a great time!
After the trip
help with evaluation, volunteer reunion, helping out at various volunteering events (e.g. stalls, talks to other potential volunteers, next year's team briefings).
Special volunteer roles
As well as the team leader there are a few additional roles needed for each team:
Big brother/big sister
This is usually someone who has been on the project before. They are there to support the team leader on projects where we feel it's necessary. This could be because the teams in split into groups who aren't based near each other or perhaps because it's a very large group. Big brothers and sisters are usually recruited before the main team are recruited so that they can help with planning, selection and anything else they would like to.
Bonding with rest of the team is crucial so this is an important role for a volunteer with good communication skills. Whether it's meeting for coffee or going to a big night out, we want to the team to spend as much time getting to know each other as possible. The social co-ordinator will organise a variety of activities for the team.
This role is ideal for someone who is confident at group fundraising activities and can encourage the rest of the group to get fundraising by researching and sharing ideas. Again it needs to be someone with good communication skills who can also liaise closely with us to keep us informed of the team's progress.
Pay it forward co-ordinator
Sounds strange doesn't it? When volunteers come back they are full of enthusiasm, ideas and tips and we like to harness this to "pay it forward" to future teams and prospective volunteers. Returning volunteers often help us by collecting photos, writing profiles, doing talks, coming to team briefings and generally being wonderful and the pay it forward co-ordnator helps us by encouraging the rest of the team to get involved in this way.