With so many international volunteer opportunities out there, selecting a project can be difficult. Here are the seven top questions for connecting with the perfect volunteer project abroad.
The ‘7’ Top Questions for Overseas Volunteering
1. Am I suited to a volunteer project?
Matching your own expectations with a non-profit international volunteer organization’s mission, will help you to find the right opportunity. If the main objective of your volunteering experience is to establish credibility in a chosen field, select an organization that reflects that vision. Investigate a target organization’s reputation as an international development partner. Knowledge of an organization’s history and continued commitment to a project, will better inform your decision to join. Volunteers interested in conducting a comprehensive international project search can explore their options prior to selecting a project.
2. How should I prepare for the experience?
Volunteer abroad programs typically require advance preparation in the form of visas, flights, and ground transport arrangements. Inquire with the volunteer organizations about travel itinerary, as well as housing and meals onsite. Foreign language study may be required. Allergies, dietary restrictions, and physical mobility issues all have the potential to impact the decision. Beware of scarcity issues such as clothing, equipment, tools, or other details not available at the project location.
3. What are my volunteer responsibilities?
The decision to volunteer overseas is a major responsibility. One of the biggest concerns international volunteers face is the particular duties of their role at the field site. Although unpaid, overseas development projects typically assign daily or weekly tasks to be performed by their volunteers. Request information about the project timeline and expectations of volunteers, before assenting to the relationship with an agency.
4. Will there be time off to in the local community/excursions?
Find out if there is time off in the local community or other location. A reprieve from the demands of the project site may be vital to a well-rounded volunteer experience.
5. What is the program placement fee?
Organizations providing a transparent statement about volunteer placement program fees are considered the most trustworthy. Request a breakdown of volunteer program fees. Reference volunteer abroad scholarships and grants for information about offsetting program costs.
6. What are the health or safety concerns of the region where the project takes place?
Volunteers traveling to areas with a security warning or health concerns should take notice of special passport visa entry rules, as well as alerts about crime, terrorism, and communicable diseases requiring vaccination, before entering the country where the project is located. Request information about evacuation, liability insurance, and medical insurance coverage that may be required of a project volunteer during an emergency scenario.
7. Are there current or past volunteers available to discuss the project?
Review participant feedback and request contact with a current or past volunteer for more information about an organization or project.