World Exchange has accrued 1,000 years of experience internationally through the volunteers and visitors we have managed. A “millennium of transforming experience” for the task which lies ahead.

  1. International Experience
  2. Trust Members and Staff Team
  3. World Exchange: International Programmes
  4. St Colm’s International House
  5. Partnership Agenda
  6. Strategic Development
  7. What they say

International Experience

We are absolutely convinced that international experience is good for everyone and we are committed to making it as accessible as possible. World Exchange provides transforming opportunities for the volunteers and visitors who take part in our international programmes and for the residents and visitors from overseas who stay at St Colm’s International House.

Every year we send 45 volunteers overseas to live and work alongside the poor in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East and Europe. These are people of all ages, with different skills and life experience. Over the last 25 years World Exchange has accrued 1,000 years of personal volunteer experience internationally through the volunteers and visitors we have managed. This constitutes a “millennium” of transforming experience.

This constitutes a “millennium” of transforming experience.

St Colm’s International House is a project of World Exchange. In 1998 we took over the management of this Edwardian College on Inverleith Terrace, adjacent to the Royal Botanical Gardens, in the heart of Edinburgh. It was built in 1908 for the training of women missionaries and in its day was a centre for innovation and international community. We renovated the building and turned the original use on its head by welcoming Africans, Asians, Latin Americans and other Europeans who come to work or study in Edinburgh. We have created an international community in the heart of Edinburgh at the same time as devolution has been changing the political landscape. We believe it is vital for Scotland that there is an independent International House.

Bringing these two operations together has generated considerable synergy. St Colm’s is an excellent base for the international volunteer programme and in turn volunteers are a tremendous support to overseas visitors at St Colm’s. In 1999 we launched our first International English and Leadership Course (six weeks duration) which is designed for community leaders from the developing world who need to use English for their work. There is growing demand for these courses, which provide language skills, business skills and opportunities for networking south-south and south-north. Through our web-site course participants can stay in touch with their course colleagues, mentors and World Exchange staff.

Our vision is to see World Exchange and St Colm’s as the epicentre of an earthquake in understanding. We aim to create fissures, which break through the barriers between the rich North and the poor South, between the not-for-profit sector and the business and government sectors. The renewal of society, nationally and internationally, will be driven in part by the work of our volunteers, by the encounters taking place at St Colm’s, and by the creativity of all those involved in World Exchange.