Service Civique is a programme funded by the French Government, which aims to give young people the opportunity to develop personal skills while participating in volunteering activities. Although the source of funding is not from the European Union, the programme is not exclusive for French nationals or residents of the country, so all European citizens can take part in mission through Service Civique.
This programme is aimed at young people between 16 and 25 years old, however we advise people that are not residents in France, to only take part in the programme at the age of 18. The Service Civique is designed for residents in France, that is, young people have the possibility to volunteer close to where they live while studying, while youngsters living in another country will have to travel abroad and will have multiple responsibilities which are only liable until they are 18 years old.
The volunteer project lasts between 6 and 12 months and is carried out in non-profit organisations working on a wide range of fields, such as, sustainability, education, culture, health and sports. Volunteers can choose missions on a part-time or full-time basis, that is, it is possible to study or work at the same time, while the value of the grant does not vary due to this factor.
Most of the announced projects are in France, however there are volunteer opportunities spread across all continents. Regardless of the country of destination, all volunteers have to go to France to take part in a pre-departure training to prepare for the mission abroad.
The French Government pays a monthly grant of 473.04€ to cover transportation, accommodation and food costs. To receive the grant you need to have an account with a French bank, however all of this process can be done online. The host organisation will have to support the volunteer in some way, for example, offering accommodation, meals or other and, if they do not, the volunteers receive an additional 107.58€ per month.
Depending on the country and city of destination, this amount may not be sufficient, for example, if the project is going to take place in Latin America, the price of transportation will be high, but the stay will be reduced, while in Paris the value may not be enough to cover all costs.
The first step is to create an account on the platform, search for missions and start applying. Usually the organisations conduct interviews to get to know the volunteers and select the one with the most suitable profile for the mission. The process is rather fast, however sometimes organisations select volunteers very close to the start date and, to make all the process easier, we advise you to start opening the French bank account immediately and have money for the first costs, such as transport.
After the selection process, it is necessary to go to France to take part in the pre-departure training organised by the sending organisation that will bring together all the volunteers who will depart on a mission. After the training you are ready to leave to the destination and enjoy the adventure.
For the missions which take place in France, the process is a bit easier, since you will not have to take the second flight to another hosting country.