Who can participate in an IFIL study trip? What are the requirements?
IFIL targets students and young professionals. But in principle everybody can participate. We do not have a strict age limit. We do, however, favour the participation of young (ie under 30) applicants. We welcome students and young professionals from all backgrounds. The single most important thing is your intellectual curiosity and the willingness to engage actively with the country you're traveling to.
Is there a selection process?
Usually we accept applications on a first come, first serve basis. The study trip organizers can however choose to ask you to explain your motivation for the study trip and to select their participants on the basis of that. Occasionally we might also deviate from the first come, first serve principle in order to ensure a balanced group (in terms of countries, gender, etc).
I want to have a relaxing holiday, should I go on an IFIL study trip?
No. If you’re looking for a relaxing holiday, then a study trip with us is not the way to go. If you want to engage with key figures of a country and learn more about the culture, politics, economy, and society then apply immediately! Participants usually tell us that they found the trip exhausting but at the same time highly rewarding and enriching.
How is an intercultural study trip structured?
Usually the study trip will cover four key areas: society, politics, culture, and economy. Through engaging with key figures such as civil society leaders, journalists, politicians, activists, artists, etc we try to gain an understand of what drives that country. We place a great emphasis on active participation.
What’s the point of an intercultural study trip? What do you mean by “intercultural”?
The participants of an IFIL study trip gain a differentiated and lasting understanding of a country and its culture. We understand culture in a broad way incorporating societal, economical and political factors. In order to ensure genuine and lasting intercultural learning we apply a “hearts and minds” or top-down and bottom-up approach: Every study trip thus consists of meetings with leaders in the fields of politics, society, culture and economy as well as encounters, exchanges and workshops with local youth.
Who are the study trip organizers?
The study trip organizers are usually students or young professionals who have gained particular knowledge of a country and want to enable others to profit from their experience. As everybody with IFIL, they receive no salary whatsoever and work as volunteers.
Most of our study trip organizers have some kind of leadership experience. We receive a number of project proposals every year and we try to pick the best ones to ensure a great experience for the participants.
Where is IFIL based? Where are your offices?
IFIL is based in Switzerland. Our board members and study trip organizers come from all over the country. We do not currently have a physical office.
Do I need to speak perfect English to be able to participate?
No. Since English is the language used for most of the study trips you should be able to follow a discussion in English. But we encourage you to participate even if you don’t feel absolutely confident about your language skills. We use English as our main language of communication because of the international participants we have. Unfortunately we currently lack the resources to maintain a multilingual website.
Nein. Englisch ist die ueblicherweise verwendete Sprache waehrend einer Studienreise, du solltest daher in der Lage sein einer Diskussion auf Englisch zu folgen. Wir ermutigen dich aber teilzunehmen, auch wenn du nicht perfekt Englisch sprichst.
I cannot afford the participation fee, do you offer stipends?
Unfortunately at the moment we don’t. We simply lack the financial means to do so. We are aware that not everybody can afford our study trips and we would like to change that.
Can you help me to get a visa?
It is your responsibility to check your visa eligibility before you apply for a study trip. All we can do is issue you a letter confirming your participation in a study trip. We cannot offer you any other substantial assistance apart from that.
Is it sustainable?
We are under no delusion, a 14-day stay in a foreign country is not going to change the world. But the heavy interaction with local politicians, civil society leaders and the like do definitely give you an insight you couldn’t get otherwise. We actively encourage participants of study trips to organize follow-up events. Those are open to everybody and help to spread the lessons learnt even further.
How is IFIL financed?
Everybody at IFIL is a volunteer! This allows us to keep our administrative overhead costs to an absolute minimum. The participation fees for the study trips cover the actual costs (transportation, accomodation, etc), the costs for the organizers, and a small sum for marketing and the like. This is why we can offer the study trips for such a unbeatable price.
Why do you do this?
Because we love it! We are passionate about our projects and believe that contribute this way, if only a little, to improved understanding between cultures.
Is IFIL a travel agency?
Absolutely not. While we offer study trips, IFIL is not a travel agency. As a participant in an IFIL study trip you will be expected to act and think independently, take responsibility, and contribute actively.
Do you offer internships?
Currently we are unfortunately unable to offer internships. This might change in the future. Should this be the case we’d announce it of course on our website