If you are interested in leading an International Volunteer Project, the first step is to take part in the UNA Exchange Leaders Training Weekend. Experienced staff and active volunteers will help you discover what it means to be leader, develop your problem-solving and communication skills, learn about group dynamics and motivation, as well as the practical issues that you will face on your project - from keeping the accounts to cooking pasta for 20 hungry volunteers (Note: only necessary on the first night; after that you are expected to use your newly-tuned motivational and communication skills to get them to do it themselves!) . It is also a great chance to meet people from all over the UK who share your interest in international voluntary work, other cultures, community development or environmental work. With 30 participants from all walks of life, 5 trainers and an army of cooks, it is a sociable, if intense weekend. It is advisable to catch up on your sleep before arriving.
After the training, if you still think that leading is for you, we will find a suitable project for you to lead or co-lead during the coming summer. Your personal development is as important a part of our work as the projects themselves, and we continue supporting you during your preparation for the project, throughout the project itself, and if you want to take your experiences in the field of international volunteering further, we are there to offer you advice, guidance and support to help you reach your goals and fulfil your potential. Many of our former leaders are now embarking on other diverse volunteering experiences; teaching at an alternative school in Moscow; working for our partner organisation in Tallin, Estonia; attending international 'Training for Trainers' courses in Korea and Strasburg on our behalf; leading Youth For Europe projects in France; volunteering in the office or helping to plan the leaders training for 2005. The leaders programme opens a world of opportunities for those who are looking for them - but this information comes with a word of warning: involvement in international volunteering is highly addictive, and we will not be held responsible if the experience of leading an international volunteer project changes the course of your life for ever.
UNA Exchange runs the training at a significant loss, so we ask for a contribution of �30 towards the costs of accommodation, food and training materials. We do not want the cost to be a barrier to any potential participants, so if you cannot pay this amount (in addition to your own travel costs to Cardiff) then it is possible to have the fee waived. Places are restriced to 30 participants, and they will be selected on the basis of their applications.
For more information about the Training or leading projects, please contact Communities Support Co-ordinator Gwen Thirsk at [email protected] or feel free to call the office for a chat.