FAQ's Application and Program Details
WHAT IS VOLUNTEERING ABROAD ?
'Volunteering' essentially is an act of service - where one can get engaged with meaningful work and donate their time, skills, and energy to uplift others. The concept of ‘volunteering abroad' has gained popularity in the last decade, as people across the world started traveling overseas, to spend some quality time with the people in a different land, with the zeal to make a difference in their lives. This also creates a platform for cultural exchange, enables the volunteers to gain first-hand work experience, and understand the problems that exist in different parts of the world - whether it's illiteracy in the developing natures, environmental degradation, or wildlife threats.
WHY YOU SHOULD VOLUNTEER ABROAD ?
It's a legit thought that might hammer your mind, but let us take a minute to explain it to you. Volunteering abroad is like a double-sided coin, where the giver and the receiver are both benefitted. When you travel abroad and volunteer, not only will you get a chance to work for the community in your host country, but you'll also undergo a process of learning. You'd know about the deeper problems that exist in that particular country, learn about their history & culture, savor the authentic taste of their local cuisine, and also get to meet a bunch of like-minded volunteer travelers from different parts of the world. And your experience would surely add some brownie points to your CV/ Resume. While the benefits of volunteering abroad are endless, the most important thing is that it would change the way you look at life, making you a more compassionate & empathetic human being.
WHY SHOULD YOU VOLUNTEER ABROAD WITH VOLUNTEERING SOLUTIONS ?
Volunteering Solutions is a reputed trans-national volunteer placement organization that has placed more than 15000 volunteers across the globe, and you'll get all the support, assistance, and information needed to volunteer abroad for the first time. Subsequently, dedicated in-country support, customized travel itineraries, guided trips, and orientation sessions are handed out to all volunteers.
It should be noted that Volunteering Solutions is an esteemed part of the World for Youth Student and Educational Travel Confederation (WYSE Confederation), which is a global not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to promoting and developing opportunities for the young students and the educational travel industry.
Volunteers get access to a wide network of past, present, and future volunteers and can contact them through our social media groups. Email addresses, post permission, are given in case future volunteers require the same.
Additionally, a dedicated MY ACCOUNT is made available to all volunteers where they can access, upload, download, and view all relevant information needed for the facilitation of the trip.
Finally, it’s important to note that VolSol makes the best attempts to keep the costs optimum. Making sure that the arrangements are safe and secure, our operational, administrative, and marketing costs are one amongst the most optimum ones in the volunteering abroad industry.
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WHO CAN VOLUNTEER ABROAD ?
Do you have a penchant for helping people and are zealous to explore a new country? Then you have what it takes to volunteer abroad. While there is certainly a lower age limit of 17 years minimum at the time of volunteering, exceptions can be made on a case-to-case basis if you are not too far away from attaining the required age at the time of starting the project. Ideally, all potential volunteers should have the following qualities:
- Physically and Mentally Fit
- Should be dedicated towards the project work
- Culturally adaptable
- With a clean criminal background
WHY DO I NEED TO PAY TO VOLUNTEER ABROAD ?
There are two distinct ways in which you can volunteer abroad - one is independently in which you contact a social organization overseas and make all logistical arrangements by yourself and the second is through an organization that is already working internationally and specializes in placing volunteers in different countries.
While one would presume that doing it all by yourself may reduce costs and give you more independence in designing your trip but that’s hardly ever true. It’s not easy to plan your first volunteering trip from scratch and also to find a spot in a reliable social organization overseas is challenging. From finding a safe accommodation to not having dedicated in-country support, doing it all by yourself is never devoid of risks and thus, not recommended. Therefore, reaching out to a reliable volunteering placement organization is desirable for a safe, secure, and rewarding journey.
When you opt to go for your volunteering trip with an organization, first and foremost your project placement gets taken care of. Be it working for an orphanage or a wildlife conservation project, there is a spot for you in a verified project that is safe and has appropriate work for you. Furthermore, your accommodation, in-country support, pre-departure preparation and information, meals, visa arrangements, affordable insurance options, and also in-country travel get taken care of by professionals.
Administration costs are the ones that are used by the intermediary organizations and others are used for secure and safe logistical arrangements for the volunteers. Thus, paying for your volunteering trip has a rationale that can seldom be ignored.
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WHAT KIND OF VOLUNTEERING OPPORTUNITIES ARE AVAILABLE ?
Projects can be broadly be divided into the following categories:
Childcare Projects - Volunteers who are keen to work with children should opt for childcare projects, and work for the well-being of underprivileged children at government-funded schools and childcare centers as well as shelter homes. Available at almost all destinations, these projects require volunteers to have a clean criminal background and also be creative, imaginative, and affectionate in their approach.
Teaching Projects - Apt for volunteers eyeing teaching certifications, this project can be opted by all volunteers who either have some background in teaching or have a keen interest in teaching kids. A good opportunity to teach English to students from developing countries, teaching projects are some of the most rewarding ones.
Women Empowerment Project - Designed for volunteers who are enthusiastic about women’s issues and want to work for the upliftment of women in developing nations must opt for our women empowerment projects. From sourcing ideas for Microfinance projects to helping women pick up some employable and English-speaking skills, these projects are tailor-made for some of our most enthusiastic and passionate volunteers.
Medical and Healthcare Project - Recommended for students in the medical area or medical practitioners, the Medical and Healthcare volunteering projects require a reasonable exposure in the said field and a resume has to be furnished before applying for the project.
Disabled Care Project - Suited for volunteers who are passionate about children and people with disabilities, this project is a great opportunity to contribute to the lives of these people. A work experience in the area of disabled care is although desirable but not mandatory to participate in this project.
Wildlife and Conservation Projects - Tailor-made for nature lovers who want to spend their time in the countryside, the wildlife, and conservation project is made available at several destinations across Asia, Europe, Africa, and Australia. Volunteers are expected to work with the conservationists already at the site and relevant orientation and training are handed out for the same.
Sports Development Projects - For all the sports enthusiasts out there who want to spread the spirit of sports and contribute to the lives of kids interested in sports should opt for this project.
Community Development Projects- This project is ideal for volunteers interested to pursue their careers in the non-profit sector. In association with local NGOs and social institutions, community development projects encompass a wide array of projects with start dates available all throughout the year.
Language and Orientation Projects - Especially interesting for language and culture enthusiasts, the language and culture orientation projects are recommended if you are looking to deeply immerse in the local culture, know local customs, learn a little bit of the local language amongst other assimilation exercises. The Spanish Immersion Week, for instance, is ideal for volunteers looking to work on their Spanish before heading out to volunteer in South America.
Summer Volunteering and Travel Programs - Designed especially for High School and College Students, the Summer Volunteering Programs which last for 3-weeks are offered in certain countries, which combine volunteering and extensive traveling across the destinations.
2- Week Volunteer and Travel Specials - For people who need a volunteering cum travel experience in a compact period of time, the 2-Week Specials offered in different destinations across Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America are ideal.
Currently, not all our programs are open, and there are travel-related restrictions in certain parts of the world. Click here to know more about post-covid volunteer travel, or write to us at email@example.com and we’d assist you personally.
WHAT IS THE APPLICATION PROCEDURE ?
All volunteers need to apply online to book their volunteer placement. The placements are given on an individual basis depending on the information given in your application and the project choice. Volunteering Solutions would also require an applicant to email his / her CV, photograph as well as any other supporting documents as required. We usually confirm your placement information within 10 working days' time. After the placement is confirmed, volunteers can check the project info by logging into their My Account. The final program fee payment can be made after the booking has been confirmed.
Here's how you can apply for a program:
First, you'll have to sign up for your Volunteering Solutions My Account. Once you have the login info, you can proceed to the next step to complete the application form.
Enter your personal information, choose the destination where you wish to go, and select the program to complete the online application form.
Pay USD 199 / GBP 149 / AUD 259 / EUR 169 application fee online by Secure Payment Gateway to complete the application process.
As soon as this will be done, you'll receive a welcome email from us acknowledging your application; we will then send your Booking Confirmation in 7-10 working days.
Once you receive your Booking Confirmation you can log into My Account and view your trip details and make your final payments and you are all set to go!
Currently, we are offering flexible booking policies, so even after you apply for a program, you will have the freedom to change your dates/ destination/ duration, etc.
WHEN SHOULD I APPLY ?
There is no deadline for registering for your program. However, it is advised to apply as soon as possible after you have decided on your choice of program and the desired dates. Every program has a limited number of spots available and due to this reason, volunteers are requested to book their spot when as soon as they decide their program date. We abide by the first come first serve policy, and now that volunteers are needed in the post-Covid times, we're eagerly waiting to have you onboard.
CAN I VOLUNTEER WITH A FRIEND OR A PARTNER ?
Yes. We will ensure that you get placed along with your friend or partner in the same project and also stay in the same accommodation. Volunteers need to inform us in advance and mention about the necessary requirements in the application form.
WHAT ELSE CAN I DO DURING MY VOLUNTEERING JOURNEY ?
Volunteering abroad comes with experiences and offerings that seldom have an equally enticing match. From taking weekend add-on tours to taking out and out summer volunteering and travel projects, there are several tips that you can use to make the most of your volunteering journey. Participants also have the advantage of getting to do both touristy and non-touristy things during the course of their journey. Some of the activities that volunteers can take up include :
Visit Some Recommended/Popular Spots - One of the essential components of volunteering abroad includes traveling extensively to absorb the most of what the destination has to offer. This is why it is recommended that volunteers opt for traveling around in the destination they are working in. We have special pre-designed travel itineraries aligned with our volunteering projects on offer as well.
Take Weekend Trips - Most of our projects are 5 day working and volunteers can plan weekend trips to nearby spots over the weekend. The local coordinator will help you make your travel plans or else you can contact the dedicated Volunteering Solutions Travel Desk for pre-planning your travel plans.
Take Language Culture Orientation Lessons - A great way to perk up your volunteering stint is to opt for language lessons. Our projects in Nepal, India, Peru, and Costa Rica offer language and orientation lessons by, well, the locals themselves. An absolute must for language and culture enthusiasts, contact the information desk to know about the constituents of these projects.
Take-Up Beach Extension/Hiking/Adventure Activities - Our summer volunteer program & 2-week volunteering and travel programs have the beach extension, hiking, and adventure trips that are made available by VolSol to all its volunteers and can be added at any point of their trip or even before their journey begins.
Taking Local Cuisine Cooking Lessons - Recommended for foodies who want to explore a different culture through knowing its cuisine must opt for this. Made available at several destinations, cooking lessons can be clubbed with your everyday volunteering sessions, especially during evenings and are a great way to spend your volunteering trip abroad.
Live Travel Blogging - There are several responsible travel and backpacking portals that love original content from ground zero and offer to submit your photos and content with the world. Go out there and inspire people to volunteer and travel while they make a difference.
WHAT DO I GET IN RETURN AFTER VOLUNTEERING WITH VOL SOL ?
While the learnings from the journey itself are rewarding, volunteers get several benefits such as a resume that stands out, exploring, honing, and cultivating interest areas, a safe and reliable way to travel abroad with adequate assistance, and finally getting the opportunity to take on a new adventure. Vol Sol also provides a valuable certificate of completion to all volunteers along with access to a wide network of volunteers, program coordinators, local organizations, and support staff.
NOTE: Volunteers who are aiming to volunteer for a longer period of time and need Academic Credits can contact the information desk for details. Several of our past volunteers who have worked for a long period have claimed academic credits for the work that they’ve done.
DO YOU OFFER SCHOLARSHIPS OR FINANCIAL AID ?
No, we do not have the funding to offer any scholarships or financial aid as such. We have a bunch of extremely affordable volunteering programs and strive hard to keep our costs low whereby you can get the best low-cost volunteering experience.
There are several portals that offer funds and assist volunteering trips overseas. From GoFundMe, Fundly, iCharity to FundRazr amongst others, you can create a profile on several such portals and seek financial assistance for your project. You can also do some more online research on how to fundraise for your trip. Additionally, volunteers can also seek scholarships and research grants for their projects especially if there are specific academic/non-profit goals.
You can fundraise for the project you want to work for and Volunteering Solutions will be happy to provide any documents or letters which you will require for the fundraising efforts.
CAN I GET SOME INFO ON THE ONLINE TEFL COURSE ?
Since the pandemic got us all to stay indoors for quite some time, we thought that this would be the perfect time for an online course that'll add some extra skills and prepare you for working abroad. Thus, we are glad to announce that we have an amazing TEFL Course (which we have started along with TEFL UK) and anyone can apply for that course, online. Once you opt for the online TEFL Course with Volunteering Solutions, you can do it in your own time, at your own pace and you don’t even need to leave the house! This is possibly the best way to gain the skills that are required to teach overseas students through online programs, qualify for digital and international teaching jobs and stand out in job applications. To add to that, you'll be eligible to get paid, as per international standards.
Flights and Visa
WILL VOLUNTEERING SOLUTIONS HELP IN FINDING AFFORDABLE FLIGHTS?
Volunteering Solutions’ Travel Advisors will be glad to guide you while you book your flight tickets. Volunteering Solutions has partnered with StudentUniverse to provide you with affordable ATOL & ABTA bonded flights and more to any destination around the world that your travels may take you. Student Universe can help you find the best flight for your forthcoming trip; with more than 75 global airlines, they guarantee to offer competitive flight prices.To book your flights and get a quote, please click here
WILL VOLUNTEERING SOLUTIONS HELP IN GETTING THE VISA?
We shall guide you about the procedure to get Visa, and also provide you with the necessary documents if needed. For most of the destinations, you can either check online about getting an eVisa or visit your nearest Embassy for more information.
There are several countries that offer Visa On Arrival, E-Visa, and/or a Visa-Free Stay for a minimum of 90 days. Countries such as Ghana, Nepal, India, Thailand, Spain, and few South American countries have a fairly easy application process.
For instance, US Citizens can travel for an initial 90 days without a visa in most South American Countries. Similarly, Spain lets American Citizens in without a visa for business and travel purposes for a maximum of 90 days. Similarly, Portugal, which is also a member of the Schengen Visa Agreement has the same guidelines for US Citizens.
Furthermore, Canadian and Australian citizens do not need a visa, just a passport valid for a minimum of 3 months beyond the period of intended stay for traveling and volunteering in Spain and Portugal for a maximum of 90 days. All the Passports (or equivalent travel documents) issued more than ten years before the date of travel, may not be accepted.
Staying longer than 90 days requires a more elaborate visa application process and embassy websites of the desired country can be logged in for the required information.
NOTE: Volunteering Solutions helps all its volunteers with the visa application process and sends across relevant invitation letters/documents, if needed, to apply for a visa. The process of getting a visa might vary in the post-pandemic world, so we’d suggest you enquire about the visa application process as soon as you decide where you’d wish to travel to.
DO I NEED TRAVEL INSURANCE ?
Yes - travel insurance is compulsory for volunteers. For your convenience, we have arranged a comprehensive package specially designed for volunteering. It includes medical coverage, emergency medical evacuation, local ambulance expenses, trip interruption and Covid 19 medical treatment expenses.
Click here to know more about the Travel Insurance that we're offering and in case you have any doubts, our team would be happy to assist you.
Accommodation and Living
WHAT KIND OF ACCOMMODATION WILL BE PROVIDED ?
The accommodation entirely depends on the project you chose. In most of the projects, volunteers stay in a volunteer house or with a host family in a homestay. For certain projects, volunteers might have to stay at the placement site.
No matter where you stay, we'll ensure that you have all the basic necessities and our team will take care of your privacy as well as safety concerns.
HOW WILL I REACH THE ACCOMMODATION?
Our in-country coordinator will be there at the airport to receive you, with a placard having your name written on it. He/ She will accompany you and take you to your accommodation. You will also be given an orientation about the place and transOur in-country coordinator will be there at the airport to receive you, with a placard having your name written on it. He/ She will accompany you and take you to your accommodation. You will also be given an orientation about the place and transportation facilities, and in case you need any assistance, you can reach out to us at any point in time.
WILL I HAVE TIME FOR SIGHTSEEING OR EXPLORING THE COUNTRY?
Yes, you will have the weekends free and you can do sightseeing as well as explore the most popular places of tourist interest in the country where you will be volunteering. Our local coordinators are always available to arrange any local trips. On the weekdays, volunteers and interns are free during the evenings to explore the local markets. We also have planned tours, about which you can find in your "My Account" section.
CAN I KNOW MORE ABOUT THE MEALS?
Meals are provided 2-3 times a day, as mentioned in your program itinerary. Mainly, the local cuisine will be served, and it's absolutely healthy and freshly prepared by our staff. Both veg and non-veg food options are available, and if you have any specific dietary preferences, you can mention that in your application and we'll take care of it. We'd also tell you about the best local eateries, where you can go and enjoy a meal if you feel like it. At homestay accommodations, you'll have a chance to eat along with your host family, which will be an incredible experience in itself.
WILL THERE BE INTERNET SERVICES AVAILABLE?
While most of the accommodations do have internet facilities, we cannot assure you about getting WiFi. However, there shall be cybercafes near your accommodation, where you can go and access the internet. Otherwise, you can get a local SIM card once you reach your destination, and get a data pack in your phone.
CAN I GET A PRIVATE ROOM FOR STAYING?
We usually accommodate rooms on the same gender sharing basis. However, if you inform us about getting a single room and there's availability in the destination you choose, we shall be glad to offer you a private room. To be honest, we cannot give assurance in this respect but we'll definitely try our best for this. If you are traveling with your partner or a friend, or along with your family, then we'd accommodate all of you together so that you can have a good time.Extra charges for private room accommodation may apply depending on the program location.
WHAT WOULD BE THE LIVING EXPENSES LIKE, OTHER THAN ACCOMMODATION ?
The fee that you pay for volunteering covers your accommodation, most meals (depending on the project), project placement costs, and in-country assistance. Besides that, if you choose to head out for eating, exploring the city you are placed in, taking weekend travel options will add to your existing costs. Additionally, it is important to note that since volunteering projects are located in developing countries, everyday living and travel costs aren’t sky high and you can get by reasonably well at $50-$80 per week depending on your program location.
Connect with Past Volunteers
HOW CAN I CONNECT WITH PAST VOLUNTEERS OR INTERNS ?
Please visit our Volunteer Testimonials Page to know more about the feedback. You can also contact us and tell us your choice of program destination, and we can give you a list of past volunteer references as well if you want to get in touch with them. You can drop us a mail at firstname.lastname@example.org for any assistance, in order to get in touch with past volunteers. You can also connect with our past volunteers and dig out their experiences on our Facebook Group.
Health and Safety
HOW DO I STAY SAFE WHEN VOLUNTEERING ABROAD ?
Staying safe requires a significant amount of homework which includes taking the right vaccinations and packing journey essentials before it starts and once the journey begins, you need to be cautious about in-country safety precautions that include traveling, staying, and eating safely. Vol Sol, therefore, provides you with an extensive pre-departure information kit that prepares you for your packing, accommodation, transport, and information for everyday navigation.
Volunteers are guided and assisted by in-country program coordinators and in-country support staff from the moment they land at the destination. Placed in verified and centrally administered accommodations, which although basic, are secure and offered on a same-gender sharing basis. Even though the nature of accommodations varies from location to location, they are usually dormitory-style or with vetted and verified host families. Lockers/Safe Spaces for valuables are provided.
Participants can contact the information desk for videos/photos and reviews of in-country accommodations and in-country support.
WHAT ARE THE VACCINATIONS NEEDED TO TRAVEL & VOLUNTEER ?
Vaccinations are a must when traveling abroad, especially in developing countries. We highly recommend you to consult your doctor for advice on immunizations. Check this detailed infographic about recommended vaccinations while volunteering overseas.
Also, in the current situation, we would also suggest you take the Covid Vaccine for your well-being as well as for the safety of others.
Note - Destination-specific vaccination recommendations can be found here.
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