International Volunteering: Your Career Is Not Only A Long-Term Horizon

the student life

That’s it, it’s over Diploma in your pocket, you leave the student life and you are at the crossroads. What to do ? Going to visit the world and leaving your co-religionists the most interesting positions or starting your professional life at the risk of never having the opportunity to cross borders … Cruel dilemma, is not it? What if you did both? I mean: at the same time!

Do not you think that’s possible? And yet, since 2000, more than 54,000 young people have started their careers by volunteering internationally. Whether it is to integrate a company (VIE) that exports or an administration (VIA) or an NGO (VSI), there are opportunities to seize in nearly 130 countries. And it works ! 97% of Volunteers found a job at the end of their volunteer work. To give you an idea, the rate of insertion in France for young graduates is 81%. So, ready to go?

Who can volunteer?

With the exception of VSI (which meets its own specific requirements ), international volunteering is open to all French and European nationals aged between 18 and 28. So you can make the big jump as long as the mission begins no later than the day of your 29th birthday. In principle, there is no requirement for a diploma. In reality, you can see this on the civiweb site , most of the assignments and responsibilities entrusted by the companies involve at least a bac + 2 and in most cases a bac + 4 or 5. You must also have a criminal record, enjoy all your civic rights and be in good standing with military service obligations (if there are any in your country of origin).

Voluntary, yes! But why ?

Three types of voluntary service are offered. The most common is the VIE, the international volunteering in company. Companies are SMEs or groups that export. You will be offered commercial missions as well as technical or scientific missions. The sectors of activity are very varied. You will find offers in the banking, pharmaceutical, air transport or aeronautical and space industries.
And if you are not yet ready to join a company, some of the state’s foreign services also offer missions. This is called VIA, an international volunteer service in administration. These are functions in communication, research or health that await you. There is no shortage of economic or cultural missions … The
third option offered to you, the VSI, a voluntary international solidarity, allows you to go to a developing country under the aegis of an NGO. The main areas of the missions are social and childhood, education and training, health, nutrition and equipment.

Volunteer and non-volunteer!
Let’s put the VSI apart because in this case as it is solidarity, you will only receive a subsistence allowance and your expenses will be covered. As part of a volunteer work, the work of the volunteer, whether LIFE or VIA is remunerated. For VIEs, this remuneration is composed of a fixed part of 719.67 euros (tariff on 1 July 2016) and a variable part fixed by decree. The latter takes into account the standard of living in your adopted country, the exchange rate and other criteria. To put it plainly, a VIE can thus receive between 1,400 and 4,100 euros, social security included … This remuneration is exempt from income tax in France. Your mission triggers retirement rights but not unemployment insurance. You are entitled to paid leave of 2,

Which contract?

Legally, your status is public. You are under the administrative guardianship of the economic mission, the embassy, of the country in question. Your contract lasts between six months and two years. Business France statistics show an average duration of about 18 months. This contract can be renewed once for up to two years. And if it saddens you already to leave your new Eldorado, know that 78% of the volunteers are directly hired on permanent contract at the end of the contract and that 62% pursue their career abroad. This type of contract can be broken if you have a business reason, such as finding an activity, but you will have to justify it and give 3 months notice.

How to apply?

If companies ‘offers are scrutinized to determine their value and interest in the future candidate, the candidates’ responses must also be well constructed. In some disciplines such as human resources, law or languages you will be less likely because you will compete locally.
However, for these channels, everything is not lost: you will have to build your arguments to convince the recruiter of the merits of your approach. Emphasize the benefits of the formula for the company, such as the absence of payroll taxes. Do not hesitate to highlight the new challenges faced by an exporting company: the internationalization of exchanges, the fight against counterfeiting, the management of expatriate staff, the translation of contracts … There is necessarily an aspect of your training which can be useful!
It is by presenting a real project and showing that your profile is ideal for the success of the latter that you can convince. Do not hesitate to think outside the box by helping small and medium-sized businesses in your region, who are little or not solicited and yet who can see the VIE as an opportunity to finally export.
In this case, if your future box does not have structures or infrastructures in the country in question, your reception is ensured via formulas of sponsorship by a Counselor of the foreign trade, or of lodging by the local subsidiary of a large group.