ISL offers opportunities for high school students to travel, learn, and volunteer in a variety of amazing settings. We offer our Community Enrichment, Ecology, Sports without Borders, and Global Health programs to high school students. Teen volunteers are able to engage with another culture in a meaningful way and begin to cultivate a global awareness that will benefit them as they progress from secondary to university education. Involvement in a global service experience not only instills confidence, it can be a powerful determinant in setting educational and career goals.

Regardless of background, volunteers are able to receive an invaluable opportunity to travel, learn about another culture, and serve a developing community.

Who is Right for High School Teams?

ISL’s high school teams are specially designed for high school students, ages 14-19. Since these experiences consist of service and adventure components, participants must be able to withstand long hours out-of-doors in sometimes extreme climates, be willing to engage in manual labor, and be eager to experience awesome outdoor adventures.

What to Expect

Upon arrival in country, you will be met at the airport by ISL staff. Your team’s first day will be busy with orientation and becoming familiar with your surroundings and fellow volunteers before the community work begins.

Be aware: there will be virtually NO down-time during your ISL program. This is an immersive, intensive experience loaded with service activities and cultural exploration!

In the evenings, you will participate in seminars on prevention and treatment of diseases common to the area and practice techniques such as suturing and administering injections.

There will also be designated time for group reflection – time to discuss and express what you’ve experienced in your day’s community work, either formally or informally.

Your team will eat most dinners out in order to relax and experience the local culture and cuisine. You will learn a few traditional dances and explore some important historical/cultural sites.

Recreational opportunities vary by location, but you will have opportunities like: shopping for local crafts and exploring geographic treasures such as tranquil beaches, imposing volcanoes, mysterious rainforests, or elusive caves. Traverse ruins, tour city centers, or trek through coffee plantations, and have time for other  exciting activities such as ziplining, snorkeling, or safari!

Volunteer Involvement

Community Enrichment High School Teams:

The level and depth of our volunteer’s service work is at the discretion of the local community members. There are many ways to serve our communities and details of service projects will be provided to volunteers prior to travel based on current needs of the communities you are visiting.

On a community enrichment you will work in our adopted communities in the following ways (projects are scheduled based on the current needs of the community):

  • House painting
  • Light construction/concrete work
  • Environmental work (beach and community clean-up)
  • ESL – teaching basic English to children and adults
  • Community health surveying
  • Composting
Global Health High School Teams:

ISL high school volunteers observe/assist local health care professionals. Most high school volunteers would fall into the “observer” category; those with certifications, e.g. Certified Nursing Assistants, paramedics, etc., may be permitted to participate in non-invasive procedures such as taking vitals.

On a Global Health High School program, experiential learning activities may include:

  • Visiting homes to assess living conditions and make connections between lifestyle and health care needs
  • Providing public health information/instructions
  • Assisting with patient interviews
  • Observing local physicians in the diagnosis and treatment process where appropriate
  • Assisting in pharmacy stations
  • Enjoying games and activities with children in ISL partner communities

Safety and Respect

ISL prohibits discrimination on the basis of color, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity, religion or any other factor.

Respect of our patients (Global Health teams):

Patient consent is, of course, an essential pre-requisite for any level of volunteer participation.  All patients sign a consent form to be seen by a doctor with students observing – we have their complicit consent to treat prior to their intake and examination.

Our patients are protected from exploitation – we are discreet and respectful. We do NOT under any circumstances take photo of any procedure during a patient’s visit. Furthermore, patient rights must be respected at all times; Patients have the right to refuse treatment.

Respect of local community members:

All communities we serve have given explicit consent for ISL Community Enrichment teams to work in their community. They are protected from exploitation – we are discreet and respectful at all times. Please ask permission before taking photos, especially of children.

Volunteer Safety

For the sake of security, ISL volunteers remain together as a team from arrival to departure, and are accompanied by ISL staff at all times.

The safety of our volunteers is our number one priority. ISL has offices in all of the countries that we serve. That means wherever you go, rest assured, we’re there too. All ISL regional staff members are thoroughly screened to ensure the safety of your team’s local interactions and we continuously monitor and address all emerging health and safety issues in each of the countries we operate.

Specific precautions taken by ISL:

  • ISL teams avoid large, crowded areas like sporting events whenever possible
  • We continuously monitor local media and information sources in each of our countries through our on-site staff, and take appropriate actions to avoid areas of concern
  • Our on-site staff provide feedback on the local situation in each community we work, and if recommendations are made to change itineraries or programming, we do so immediately
  • Our management team relies on the advice of a number of organizations including the U.S. State Department, the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Aviation Administration, the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as an international safety and security organization. If conditions exist that may hinder our ability to provide a safe program, we will alter the itinerary and redirect the program to safer regions or provide other alternatives.