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LTV Application Process
A volunteer interested in LTVing should contact his/her SCI branch to find out more about the conditions and practicalities of the application process. Here is though a rough example on how the LTV application process goes in the ideal case. For EVS posts the application process is more complicated. Please find out the details from the branch in your country.
Before the exchange
A volunteer receives or downloads the Vacancy List with available LTV positions and chooses the one s/he is interested to apply to. The branch provides him/her with the standard LTV application form (also possible to dowlnoad here and with sufficient information on LTVing. At this point it should be checked that the volunteer fills in all the criteria, so that unnecessary work is not done, neither for the branch nor for the volunteer. The volunteer should pay an application fee, which covers the administration costs. If the volunteer is not chosen for the position the fee will be returned to the volunteer.
After the volunteer has returned the application form to the branch, the applicant is called for an interview or information seminar. This interview should be an informal meeting where the sending organisation has the chance to learn more about the applicant and the applicant about the organisation and LTVing. In an ideal case, the interview is done by a member of the sending organisation who has been a LTV him/herself and in the country or type of project where the applicant is willing to go. If this is not possible, it is advisable for the applicant to try to contact volunteers in other countries who have been to the project to find out about their experiences. In some countries, there is a preparation seminar organised for the LTVs.
After the interview, the application form and a letter of recommendation written by the interviewer are sent to the organisation of the country where the project is located. The organisation will pass the application to the project, where the decision of accepting the volunteer is taken. The decision is communicated to the volunteer by organisation of his/her country. A recommended maximum time to give the answer is two weeks. The application process goes through branches and the volunteers should not sent applications directly to projects or organisation in other countries. This gives SCI the opportunity to monitor the quantity and quality of volunteers going to projects and to ensure that volunteers are well prepared for long term positions. It also enables SCI to support the volunteers and to ensure that projects meet certain criteria. Sometimes applicants apply for more than one vacancy at the same time. This has created problems in the past when a volunteer was placed in two branches, none of which knew of the other placement. Branches should encourage applicants to apply for only one vacancy at the same time.
After being accepted
If the answer if positive, the volunteer is advised to be in contact with the project him/herself to arrange the practicalities. S/he should be provided with an infosheet which includes more information on the project and the work, advice on what to bring and possibly some information on the country. If a visa invitation is needed, the hosting branch should send an invitation letter to the volunteer. Hosting organisation should also take care that the volunteer is insured.
During the exchange
During the project, both the sending and hosting organisation should stay in contact with the volunteer. In the project itself, a work support person should be appointed to the volunteer. This is the person to advice and help the volunteer with everything linked with the work. Another person from outside the project should be appointed as a contact person. The role of the contact person is to be a friend and help the volunteer to get started with social life and adjusting to a new culture. Around the middle of the project, the hosting organisation should conduct a mid-term evaluation to find out how things are going. In the end, a final evaluation should be done between the volunteer and the project. This can be an informal discussion, but a written report is also needed for the sending and hosting organisations and LTV working group. This report can be published in the LTV newsletter if the volunteer allows and later sent to the volunteers who are interested to work in the same project.
After the exchange
After returning home, the sending organisation should contact the volunteer to discuss the experience more in-depth and encourage the volunteer to get involved in the LTV or other activities of the branch. Some branches organise an evaluation seminar for the returned volunteers.