Youth work supports the development of young people into adulthood. Through encountering and dealing with different and sometimes challenging situations young people are encouraged to grow and develop. International youth work provides opportunities for those developments to happen in an environment which may be entirely different to the everyday world of a young person.

Through international volunteering, UNA Exchange aims to give young people the opportunity to realise the world beyond their community and to take part in it. They are encouraged to develop awareness and responsibilities towards themselves and others, equipping them with vital life skills.

At a time when globalisation impacts on the lives of individuals everywhere, there is a real need for meaningful contact between people. Young people in particular must be given opportunities to have international experiences at home and abroad so that they can make informed choices and decisions about how they live their lives.

International volunteering provides opportunities to understand other people, cultures, ideas and religions on an equal basis in a co-operative environment. This supports us to realise our responsibilities as global citizens. UNA Exchange believes this is necessary for creating a more stable and sustainable world.

The volunteering programmes of UNA Exchange work directly towards this ideal of global learning and youth development through positive and personal experiences on several different levels.

For volunteers

Volunteers can access training and preparation for various opportunities, roles and responsibilities. Click here for training programmes
Participants on International Volunteer Projects (IVPs) not only learn from the local community in which they volunteer but from their multi-cultural co-volunteers as well.  
Participants develop their interpersonal skills through living and working with others - confidence, communication skills, decision making and participation skills.
Volunteers always come away from a project with new practical skills that they have learnt from the work.
Volunteers can progress along a path of UNA Exchange "stepping stones" - opportunities that can shape their careers and help them make significant contributions to wider communities.  Click here for volunteer progression.

For communities

Young people are often the direct beneficiaries of IVPs around the world, eg. a project may be based around a summer playscheme for children in the Amman Valley, or a summer camp for orphans in Mongolia.  
Young people in the wider community of an IVP have many opportunities to interact with volunteers; they may simply enjoy the enthusiasm of the group or gain a deeper experience of cross-cultural learning.

In Wales, UNA Exchange actively extends the benefits of our programmes to as many people as possible. Activities are organised which provide a vehicle for communication and interaction between the volunteers and local people, such as school visits/workshops, open days and community events. Click here for more on our Global Learning Programme.

The Welsh Assembly Government (WAG) supports UNA Exchange through its grants to National Voluntary Youth Organisations. The importance of international work with young people is clearly indicated in both policy and strategy. Our work has a vital contribution to make in delivering ‘Extending Entitlement’, WAGs strategy for youth work in Wales, and ensuring youth work in Wales is accessible, responsive and relevant to young people across the country. Click here to see how our work meets the ten Entitlements.