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Who can apply for International Citizen Service?

International Citizen Service is open to 18-25 year olds, with limited places available for Leaders aged 23+. Volunteers must be either a British citizen, an EEA citizen residing in the UK or have indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

How do I complete ICS?

To complete the ICS programme, all volunteers must be available to complete every phase of the programme. This includes a selection day, pre-departure preparations, a pre-departure training weekend, a 3 month placement overseas, an Action at Home training weekend on your return to the UK and complete a dn record at least one Action Log during their 6 month Action at Home phase.

I don't live in the UK. Can I still apply for ICS?

Unfortunately you can not become a UK ICS volunteer. If you live in one of the countries where we run ICS (Nepal, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) please contact our local office to find out how you can volunteer with them.

I live in the UK but I am an international student. Can I apply for ICS?

International Citizen Service is open to British citizens, and EEA citizens living in the UK or people have indefinite leave to remain in the UK. If none of the above applies to you you will not be able to join this programme.

What skills or experience do I need to be selected?

Applicants do not need previous experience or particular skills or qualifications. 

  • Working with others: The social skills to work with others and to enable others to solve problems as well as persuading others to implement plans.
  • Sensitivity to the needs of others: An open and non-judgemental approach which respects other people and cultures. Good listening skills and empathy.
We are looking for a diverse range of young people with commitment, enthusiasm and an interest in the work that Restless Development does.
At selection day, we will look into the following dimensions:
  • Positive and realistic commitment: A positive approach to working as a volunteer based on realistic and not excessive expectations.
  • Commitment to learning: The continuing desire for others to learn and the humility for personal learning and development.
  • Practical problem-solving ability: The ability to solve practical problems using available resources. An inventive and positive approach, making decisions where necessary.
  • Flexibility and adaptability: An adaptable approach to dealing with new and demanding situations.
  • Self-assurance: The self-confidence to be sufficiently independent and to deal with people and circumstances with equanimity and humour.
Is there an age limit to apply as a Leader?

No. You must be aged 23 or over. There is no upper age limit.
Leaders are expected to have overseas volunteering/work experience and/or experience of supporting groups of people.

I have a medical condition or disability. Can I still take part of the programme?

We welcome applications from disabled young people and are happy to discuuss your indivisual situation so you can find out more about your options on ICS. ICS is committed to equal opportunities and making reasonable adjustments to include people with disabilities. If you consider yourself to have a disability or additional needs, please make it clear in the appropriate fields in your application form. If you have any immediate worries or questions, please tell us and we will contact you to discuss how we can support your application.

Phone: 0207 633 3372
email: ics@restlessdevelopment.org

I have never had a passport. Will I be able to go?

If you have never had a passport before (either an child or adult passport), you MUST apply for one at least six weeks before you are due to travel. Your first passport cannot be fast tracked (this is for UK passports).

I have a passport, but it expires soon. Will I be able to go?

If your passport expires within six months of the end of your project, you must renew it before you leave the UK.

I have a criminal record. Can I still apply to ICS?

You will not automatically be disqualified from the programme if you have a criminal record. Yes, we can accept people with a criminal record but you must declare your previous contact with the police and/or convictions at the selection day. If you fail to declare any criminal convictions that later come up on your DBS police check, you might then be disqualified from the programme. We must have received a DBS certificate for you before you are able to depart on your placement.
When it comes to ICS, honesty is definitely the best policy!


Can I go together with my friend?

You and your friend can both apply but if you are both selected it is unlikely that you will be placed in the same group or the same country. The same applies to couples. This helps to ensure that everyone integrates well into the group and shows a good level of independence.

Will I be able to choose which country I go to?

If you have an interest in a particular country, you can share that with us. Your country preference is, however, one of many factors we consider when allocating you to a country. We want to make sure that each country has a good mix of age, gender, experience etc, so you may not be given your first choice.

When will I find out what country I'm going to?

When you find out about where you'll be going will depend on your preferred departure date as well as placements we have available. For example if you are looking to depart as soon as possible we will let you know quite quickly (within a few weeks). However if you are looking to depart in 6 months time we may have to wait until we have more information on departure dates and so could take longer to match you.

Why do I need to fundraise?

Your fundraising will enable even more volunteers from the UK and developing countries to become ICS volunteers in the future and have a real impact on fighting poverty. Fundraising is also a key part of your preparation for going overseas. It will help you start to understand what you will be doing and why. Fundraising is a requirement of the programme and helps you demonstrate to us the commitment you have to the programme.You'll also learn new skills and have a lot of fun along the way. No volunteers will be excluded because of cost.

When can I go?

We have departures throughout the year until 2015.

Is it possible to find out the exact departure dates of ICS placements?

Departure dates for ICS placements are often subject to change and it is very difficult for us to know precise dates very far in advance. At this point, we cannot provide exact departure dates.

When should I apply?

It's never too early to apply! We encourage candidates to apply at least three months before they'd like to go overseas. The more time you will have to get ready for your placement, the better! I'm going to be out of the country for several months. Shall I apply once I return? You should apply as soon as possible and mention in your application that you will be out of the country for several months. We can then try to work around this, possibly arranging your selection in time before you go.


If I cannot make it to the specific Selection Day that I've been invited to, can I come to another Selection Day?

We usually hold a few Selection Days every month, so if you are unable to make it to the specific Selection Day that you were invited to, we are certainly happy to invite you to another Selection Day. Please communicate clearly with our Selection Officer that you are unable to attend and they will work with you to find an alternative date.

I cannot make it to a Selection Day during the week. Are there any Selection Days on weekends?

We currently hold selection days on both weekends and weekdays. There tends to be around 2 a month. If you cannot make the date we offer you, let us know and we can work with you to find a Selection Day you can attend.

I live really far from London and so I may need to stay in London overnight to make sure I get there in time. Does Restless Development reimburse accommodation costs?

We are able to provide additional support to those who need it. This includes booking and paying for accommodation for the night before the Selection Day as well as reimbursing all travel costs. As we are a charity, we ask that you research the cheapest public transport options available to you (including Megabus, and TrainLine). If you are unable to afford your travel up front and then expense it back we are sometimes able to book travel for you as well. 

I'd like to go on a placement much later in the year/next year. Are you able to give me exact Selection Day dates?

We are only able to keep your application on hold for up to 6 months. If you are looking depart later than 6 months in advance please apply closer to the time. This ensures your application will be up to date and relevant. We are able to book those looking to take part in ICS within 6 months on any upcoming Selection Day, we hold up to 5 Selection Days a months so there's lots to choose from.


Can I stay more or less than 12 weeks?

No, the duration of the programme is the same for every member of the team and is not flexible. We do have a number of three to nine month placements for Leaders.

What happens if I have to leave the programme early?

When you accept your offer of a placement you make a commitment to the pre-departure training, the 12 week placement, a debriefing weekend day and Action at Home on your return. Volunteers will only be able to leave early in exceptional circumstances, like in the case of the death of a close family member or in case of a serious medical condition. You should not plan to leave the programme early.

What support will I get?

We will make sure that you are supported throughout your placement and when you return. This will include:

  • Pre-departure residential training
  • 1 to1 support with fundraising
  • Support with practical preparations like health screening, vaccinations, visas etc. We will organise your flights for you
  • Return flights and medical expenses
  • All your food and accommodation on placement, and you’ll receive a modest volunteering allowance
  • Support from our in-country team, your fellow volunteers, as well as our team in the UK, with someone available 24 hours a day in the event of an emergency
  • You will be covered by our health insurance with comprehensive safety and security procedures in case of emergencies
  • Training on your arrival covering an introduction to the country, culture, language and specific skills needed for your work
  • Residential returned volunteer training weekend to help you prepare for your exciting Action at Home
  • Support to design and execute a community project to share your learning of your experience (Action at Home)
What will I do on a placement?

Each placement is different. That’s because all of Restless Development’s programme work is designed specifically to meet the needs of the country and communities we are working in. As we focus on the issues that most affect young people, it is likely that you will be helping us to address crucial issues such as sexual and reproductive health (including HIV), unemployment and other factors that contribute to poverty. Importantly, each volunteer will also be helping young people become leaders of their own development. Example activities include:

  • running CV skills workshops with young people
  • organising HIV awareness sessions in schools and community groups
  • running computer skills sessions with young people
  • working on our enterprise programmes that offer young people support to set up their own businesses
  • organising exciting and interactive community events such as career fairs You will receive more information on specific placements or countries during the training weekend.
Where will I be living?

You will be living with host families from local community in most cases. Sometimes you might be staying at rented accommodation. We conduct thorough risk assessment to make sure that your placement community and accommodation are safe to live in.

Can I travel independently once my project finishes?

You will not be able to travel around your host country once your project finishes. You must return on the flight we book for you. Once you return, you will then be expected to attend a returned volunteer training weekend so that you can start planning your Action at Home as soon as possible!

I have been on ICS already, can I apply again?

You can only apply again for International Citizen Service if you have been a General Participant and you want to go as a Leader. If you have been an ICS Leader before, you can not go again as a Leader.


What is Action at Home?

Action at Home is the final, 6-month phase of the ICS Programme. Action at Home is a self-directed project that aims to bring about positive social change – it might involve campaigning and lobbying, community volunteering, awareness-raising around issues that emerged from the overseas placement, or around an issue that is important in the volunteer’s home community. Now you are back in the UK, you are part of a network of thousands of people supporting the values of youth-led development, and taking action to influence and bring positive change. Restless Development will also be sharing lots of opportunities for action with you during your Action at Home period and beyond.

Why should I take action?

By taking action in the UK, you can ensure a long-term impact on the issues you are passionate about at both a local and a global level, and continue to prove that young people can. Such engagement builds stronger societies that play an active role in community and national development. Action at Home is also a fantastic opportunity to build your own skills and experience.

What counts as an Action?

Action at home is very broad and you can do a variety of different activities to complete your Action at Home. This could include: joining an existing campaigning, doing a presentation, blogging,sharing your story, volunteering in your local community, making a video upon your return or coming up with your own ideas.

How long does Action at Home last?

Action at home lasts for 6 months, starting from when you return to the UK.

What support and resources do we provide for Action at Home?
  • An Action at Home Training Weekend within 4 weeks of returning to the UK
  • Various specialised training days and events throughout the 6 months
  • Your own online Action at Home page, with access to a wide variety of resources, guides and volunteer stories about how to take action
  • An action e-newsletter, including latest action opportunities across the UK, updates from in-country, stories from other volunteers, and job opportunities
  • A Facebook group for volunteers to share and hear about opportunities
  • Dedicated support from Jack and Hannah, who are always available to answer questions, provide guidance and chat through ideas about how you want to take on Action at Home
How do I complete Action at Home?

You’ll get a login to your dedicated online Action at Home page where you can log your actions. Once you have come to the end of your 6 month Action at Home phase, as long as you have added at least one action, you will have officially completed ICS!

What happens once I complete my Action at Home?

You will receive a an ICS completion certificate signed by Prime Minister David Cameron and can get a professional reference from Restless Development. The Networks team will be in contact and continue to support you in taking action, even beyond completing the ICS Programme.


ICS logoFor more information read our FAQs,
call or email Restless Development on:
T: 0207 633 3372
E: ics@restlessdevelopment.org

Or ICS on:
T: 0208 780 7400
E: enquiries@volunteerics.org

International Citizen Service (ICS) is led by VSO and funded by the UK Government. Our consortium partners include: Balloon Ventures, Challenges Worldwide, Pravah, Raleigh International, Tearfund, Progressio, International Service, VSO and YCare.