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Below are some of our most frequently asked questions from our international placement applicants. Don’t see what you’re looking for? We welcome you and all your questions to contact our International Coordinator Keri Gardner at!

International Placement FAQs

What service opportunities are available in Guyana?

There are three ministries of the Sisters of Mercy at which the Mercy Volunteers serve: St. John Bosco Orphanage, Mercy Wings Vocational Center, and St. Joseph Mercy Hospital.

Who does MVC partner with?

International Mercy Volunteers serve only where Sisters of Mercy in the Institute of the Americas have invited MVC to partner with them in ministering to the most vulnerable of the poor in their own countries. This collaboration provides sites with needed personnel and provides MVC and Mercy Volunteers with life-changing relationships and new cultural perspectives on our society and our world. The welcoming local Mercy communities support Mercy Volunteers throughout their term of service.

What makes MVC's International Placement Unique?

Mercy Volunteer Corps chooses applicants using a process we call Mutual Discernment. Choosing to serve internationally for one year is a tremendous commitment and generous gift. Recognizing the importance of making the best possible match between the individual, the volunteer program, and the sites of service, MVC desires to partner with candidates who value and commit to an intentional process of discernment.

Are there additional requirements for someone who is applying for an International Placement?

It is preferred that applicants for International sites have some significant experience either in a cross-cultural setting or with those who are poor or marginalized. It is also preferred that these applicants have a true desire to live intentionally and interdependently with the people they serve.

What is a discernment weekend?

Following completion of MVC’s application and a phone interview, international candidates who are found to be a good match for MVC attend a discernment weekend. These weekends provide a prayerful retreat setting where candidates can share together in discerning their call to international service.  Discernment Weekends will be held March 9-11, 2018 in Chicago, IL, and March 23-25, 2018 in Philadelphia, PA.  If you plan to attend the first weekend, please submit your application as soon as possible and no later than January 18. Candidates provide their own transportation to the discernment weekend and MVC covers all other expenses for the weekend.

What does mutual discernment mean to MVC?

It means that both the applicant and MVC commit to ongoing prayerful reflection throughout the application and screening processes to decide if the applicant and MVC will be well-matched. This spirit of mutual discernment continues in the orientation process and throughout a volunteer’s term of service as questions and needs arise.

How does MVC prepare me to serve abroad?

Candidates accepted for an international placement with MVC attend a cross-cultural preparation and training program for several days. This program is held in late July and includes participants from other international programs also preparing for long-term service abroad. In addition, the volunteer attends the weeklong MVC orientation to learn more about the Mercy charism and the commitment to the core values of service, simplicity, community, and spirituality.

What does MVC provide international Mercy Volunteers with?

  • Cross-cultural preparation in collaboration with other volunteer programs
  • Orientation to MVC and the principles of simplicity, community living, social justice, and shared spirituality
  • Transportation to and from their country of service
  • Provision for all volunteers’ living expenses during their year of service including health insurance
  • On-going support from the local Mercy communities partnered and committed to MVC
  • Retreats several times a year for reflection and renewal during term of service
  • Re-entry retreat provided by From Mission to Mission
  • Re-adjustment allowance

Is there a fundraising requirement to serve in Guyana?

Due to the financial limitations of the service sites in Guyana, international volunteers commit to fundraising $1500 in order to defray some of the costs of supporting volunteers in Guyana. Volunteers typically find this far easier than they expect. MVC Staff provide suggestions and resources to assist in this process.

Am I allowed to visit home during the commitment?

In a spirit of simplicity and solidarity with the local community in Guyana, Mercy Volunteers commit to not traveling home during their year of service. However, visitors are welcome!

Will Mercy Volunteer Corps offer any support once I am finished my service?

MVC recognizes that a volunteer’s transition to their home culture after a cross-cultural immersion is significant and on-going. MVC supports volunteers in their initial re-adjustment by providing a Re-Entry Retreat, which occurs approximately three months after their return, and a $500 Re-Adjustment Allowance.

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