(2010) Research Report - Impact of transnational exchange experiences on senior volunteers and organisations
The learning impacts of trans-national exchange programmes for senior volunteers were analysed from two perspectives: the senior volunteers participating in the projects and the organisations which sent and hosted the volunteers or coordinated the exchange.
The report comes to the following recommendations: A. Although participating in a trans-national exchange can stimulate a new interest in voluntary work at home, a transfer of voluntary work experiences across countries is more intense and more likely to happen if the exchange participants are experienced volunteers. B. Senior volunteers should be encouraged to engage in exchanges of at least three weeks to improve the chances of intercultural learning. This can, however, include offers of shorter stays for those who need a trial period before participating in longer stays. C. Preparation of senior volunteers prior to their exchange is a fundamental necessity. This includes personal contacts to their host organisation and clear information of what will be expected from them during their placement. D. Organisations offering to host senior volunteers are well advised to develop plans to deal with their particular requirements. They should give seniors the opportunity to transfer their experiences thus making use of the seniors’ specific resources for the benefit of their own projects. E. A feedback seminar upon return, preferably at local level, is not only crucial for the quality assurance of the exchange projects but also enhances the chance that senior volunteers can exploit and valorise their experiences to the home community’s advantage.