As a YFU volunteer, you not only help change the lives of students, but you can help change the world. For nearly 65 years, YFU has successfully carried out our mission thanks to the efforts of thousands of volunteers across the country and many more around the globe.
The volunteer spirit is embodied by the individuals and families who devote their energy, experience, and empathy to every YFU student. At YFU, our host families, educational communities, and volunteers help young people become wiser people – safely, securely, confidently. Unlike other exchange programs, we are a volunteer program, which means we do this simply because we love it.
YFU is a strong and vibrant organization because of the collective efforts of a broad and diverse volunteer base. Our volunteers enable us to host more than 2,000 international students and send nearly 500 American students abroad each year.
YFU volunteers provide essential support to students, families and other volunteers in a variety of ways.
As an organization, we value flexibility in terms of hours and location of your volunteer activities. With many different volunteer roles available, you can find the one that best meets your needs in terms of scheduling and interests.
Some volunteer opportunities may include: interviewing prospective exchange students and host families, conducting orientations, sharing information with local communities or providing administrative support. When you join YFU USA as a volunteer, you become part of one of the most respected programs in international student exchange. Your involvement makes a real difference in the lives of teenagers, families, your local community and the world.
To start making a difference, apply now to be a YFU volunteer.
To Our Alumni
Perhaps when you came home, you felt that others couldn’t understand what you’d experienced, or what challenges you had to overcome. Volunteering with YFU is a great way to surround yourself with others who genuinely understand the experience. Extend your experience by working as a YFU volunteer or college intern when you return from abroad. Pay-it-forward to others, while gaining relevant experience that you won’t get in school.
Organizational experience is priceless when you are applying for jobs in the future. You can get experience in planning projects and activities, mentoring exchange students, in targeted marketing and recruitment activities and work as a team dedicated to strengthening public diplomacy.
“My reason for volunteering was to say thank you to people who had been kind to us in our travels. An added bonus is that working with YFU has qualified me for a challenging new job!”
Judy – YFU Volunteer
Who are YFU volunteers?
YFU volunteers have varied backgrounds, occupations and ages. They’re professionals, parents, retired or recent college grads. Some of our volunteers were even exchange students or host families.
- Desire to learn more about the world
- Enjoy helping teenagers and families
- Value making friends with like-minded people
- Demonstrate leadership in problem-solving situations
- Appreciate increased intercultural understanding
YFU volunteers are essential to providing quality support to students, families and other volunteers. Participate as a team, individually, or with a friend or family member. As a YFU volunteer, you can choose from a number of opportunities to suit your interests, needs and schedule. The hours and locations are flexible and you can volunteer for some tasks without ever leaving your home! Whether you are a returned exchange alumnus, a parent, a retired person, or a college student —we welcome people of all backgrounds to work with us. Whatever your skills and interests are, there is a volunteer opportunity to match them!
YFU provides all the training and tools you need. Ongoing training opportunities conducted by professional staff and skilled volunteers are available online, in-person, conducted one-on-one and in groups. Take courses on topics like leadership, government compliance, conflict resolution, social media, community building, cultural understanding and more.
While many of these tasks are involved in multiple positions, volunteers receive support for their efforts no matter what the position or task they undertake.
- Support - provide on program support to international students and their host families and/or pre-departure support to study abroad students and their natural families.
- Orientation - assist in planning and conducting orientations for international students, study abroad students, host families, and/or natural families.
- Administrative - support the administrative activities in each office and assist regional and field staff in more effectively providing services to other volunteers, students, and families.
- Interview - interview prospective host families and/or study abroad students.
- Presenters - give presentations about YFU programs to groups at schools and other community events.
- Recruiters - recruit host families and/or study abroad students for YFU programs.
Brief descriptions of many of the YFU volunteer positions are listed below. Complete descriptions for all volunteer positions are available from your regional office.
- Area Representatives (AR) - This key volunteer position supports one or two international students, their host families and high schools. The AR serves as an unbiased advocate for the student, offering guidance and support to the student, family and school through regular contact with each participant. Most YFU volunteers serve in this position.
- Area Coordinators (AC) - provide leadership and supervision for other volunteers in a specific geographic area as directed by the Field Director.
- Study Abroad Volunteers - perform various tasks related to the study abroad student program. These can include some or all of the following: recruitment, presentations, interviews, orientations, support, or administrative assistance.
- Alumni Coordinators - coordinate the activities of YFU alumni, facilitating communication within a field.
- International Student (IS) Volunteers - perform various tasks related to the International Student and host family program. These can include some or all of the following: recruitment, presentations, interviews, orientations, support, or administrative process.
- Trainers - provide basic procedural training and orientation to volunteers or program participants in partnership with the Field Director. They follow organizational guidelines and use standard YFU USA training and orientation manuals and materials.