Advice for volunteering.
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04-02-2013, 12:02 PM
Advice for volunteering.
Sorry if this thread is in the wrong place but I'm new to this site. Please let me know if it is.
I've been seriously thinking lately about taking an abroad trip to help others in need. I think that I might be of some help in helping others in need as well as being helpful to me in terms of new experiences and meeting new people. This is the first time though that I will be doing something like this outside of a few week long trips to Mexico with the church I used to be a part of.

I don't have the funds to make such a trip which will run somewhere between 4 to 10 Grand depending on the length and I don't know know what is the best means of getting the money since a church is not up for consideration.

I also don't know whether it's better start small like a Month long trip or whether such a trip is too short.

I do know that the organization that I've chosen, Cross Cultural Solutions seems from what I've gathered to be a respectable, secular volunteer organization.

Any advice would be awesome. I would love to hear from those with experience in this matter.

Thanks

Just an outsider looking inn.
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04-02-2013, 12:14 PM
RE: Advice for volunteering.
Hey!

First off - welcome.

Second - we may need a bit more info to be able to help. First of all, what kind of work are you thinking about (teaching, orphanages, environmental, etc.)? Also, what countries are you considering?

Please bear in mind that if you go through a volunteer organisation, you may end up paying a bit more, than if you manage to get in touch directly with the place where you will be volunteering.

Also, there are different types of volunteering: some may cost you a lot, others - much less and there are also volunteering projects where you do not pay anything (and yet others, where they even provide housing and food).

The way I did it, was search the web for different opportunities in the country which I had in mind (Brazil) and ended up with a really good site with the addresses of all sorts of volunteer organisations ( http://www.volunteersouthamerica.net/ ). There must be similar sites for other continents. The good thing about this particular site, is that list all sorts of organisations, incl. those that you'll be volunteering with directly, not just the intermediaries (with which you may end up paying more).

Not sure how helpful this was, but feel free to ask more questions. I'm actually considering my next trip right now (still not sure where I wanna go this time, but that's a different storySmile )

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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04-02-2013, 12:35 PM
RE: Advice for volunteering.
(04-02-2013 12:14 PM)Vera Wrote:  Hey!

First off - welcome.

Second - we may need a bit more info to be able to help. First of all, what kind of work are you thinking about (teaching, orphanages, environmental, etc.)? Also, what countries are you considering?

Please bear in mind that if you go through a volunteer organisation, you may end up paying a bit more, than if you manage to get in touch directly with the place where you will be volunteering.

Also, there are different types of volunteering: some may cost you a lot, others - much less and there are also volunteering projects where you do not pay anything (and yet others, where they even provide housing and food).

The way I did it, was search the web for different opportunities in the country which I had in mind (Brazil) and ended up with a really good site with the addresses of all sorts of volunteer organisations ( http://www.volunteersouthamerica.net/ ). There must be similar sites for other continents. The good thing about this particular site, is that list all sorts of organisations, incl. those that you'll be volunteering with directly, not just the intermediaries (with which you may end up paying more).

Not sure how helpful this was, but feel free to ask more questions. I'm actually considering my next trip right now (still not sure where I wanna go this time, but that's a different storySmile )
Hey thanks. Yeah that's definitely helpful. I've got my eyes set on South Africa and I'm focused on any developmental/Environmental opportunities since those are the things I've got the most experience in.

I'll take a look though. In your experience ( assuming I have the option of course) is it better for a first timer to do a shorter trip ( like a month) or longer ( 6 to 12 months)?

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04-02-2013, 12:46 PM
RE: Advice for volunteering.
(04-02-2013 12:35 PM)Foxcanine1 Wrote:  I'll take a look though. In your experience ( assuming I have the option of course) is it better for a first timer to do a shorter trip ( like a month) or longer ( 6 to 12 months)?

It really depends on you - how much time you have (can you put the rest of your life on hold for a longer trip), why you want to do it (for the experience or to get some work done, in the latter case - the longer, the better; of course, it can be a mixture of both motivations). I personally went for two months... and stayed almost five. And they had to kick me out of the country in the end... well, almost Tongue

What do you mean by development work? Building? Something else?

Also, do you speak Spanish? Speaking the language always helps. It's not obligatory, of course - in Brazil, I was the only who spoke Portuguese among dozens of volunteers. A lot of those organisations also offer language courses for those interested. Which is another plus (at least in my eyes).

Just make sure you do your research before deciding on a project. Takes time, but it's worth it. As is the whole experience Thumbsup

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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04-02-2013, 12:59 PM
RE: Advice for volunteering.
(04-02-2013 12:46 PM)Vera Wrote:  
(04-02-2013 12:35 PM)Foxcanine1 Wrote:  I'll take a look though. In your experience ( assuming I have the option of course) is it better for a first timer to do a shorter trip ( like a month) or longer ( 6 to 12 months)?

It really depends on you - how much time you have (can you put the rest of your life on hold for a longer trip), why you want to do it (for the experience or to get some work done, in the latter case - the longer, the better; of course, it can be a mixture of both motivations). I personally went for two months... and stayed almost five. And they had to kick me out of the country in the end... well, almost Tongue

What do you mean by development work? Building? Something else?

Also, do you speak Spanish? Speaking the language always helps. It's not obligatory, of course - in Brazil, I was the only who spoke Portuguese among dozens of volunteers. A lot of those organisations also offer language courses for those interested. Which is another plus (at least in my eyes).

Just make sure you do your research before deciding on a project. Takes time, but it's worth it. As is the whole experience Thumbsup
I'll keep those things in mind. Last question for the time I promise. Is there any way to help determine the legitimacy of these organizations. Scuba diving organizations for instance have PADI to help you see whether the place is legit or a scam. Any Suggestions for making sure I'm not falling into a Scam?

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04-02-2013, 01:07 PM
RE: Advice for volunteering.
Nah, ask away. Would be glad to be able to help.

Being the naive person I am, I rarely expect people to lie to me or swindle me out of my (not so) hard-earned money, so I kinda assume that for an organisation to go into all this trouble of setting up a business, websites, what have you, they really are doing what they say they are.

So I'm pretty positive the vast majority of organisations you're going to find, are legit.

Also, with the one I used, you paid on arrival, not beforehand (I think there was just a very small amount I had to pay in advance), so that was a pretty good indicator (much easier to kick their butts when I'm there Wink). Their websites are also a good indicator. And again - with an intermediary organisation, there's basically no risk.

I can always take a look at anything that you may be considering, if you need a second (3rd, 24th) opinion Smile

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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04-02-2013, 01:54 PM
RE: Advice for volunteering.
(04-02-2013 01:07 PM)Vera Wrote:  Nah, ask away. Would be glad to be able to help.

Being the naive person I am, I rarely expect people to lie to me or swindle me out of my (not so) hard-earned money, so I kinda assume that for an organisation to go into all this trouble of setting up a business, websites, what have you, they really are doing what they say they are.

So I'm pretty positive the vast majority of organisations you're going to find, are legit.

Also, with the one I used, you paid on arrival, not beforehand (I think there was just a very small amount I had to pay in advance), so that was a pretty good indicator (much easier to kick their butts when I'm there Wink). Their websites are also a good indicator. And again - with an intermediary organisation, there's basically no risk.

I can always take a look at anything that you may be considering, if you need a second (3rd, 24th) opinion Smile
Look what you made me do. I'm already breaking my promise Smile. Actually the two that I know of are Cross Cultural Solutions and volunteerhq.

http://www.volunteerhq.org


That this one looks a lot cheaper overall. Which is good for me and they so far look respectably. I'll send them some emails later seeing as how my computer is crashing every ten minutes right now.

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04-02-2013, 02:14 PM
RE: Advice for volunteering.
(04-02-2013 01:54 PM)Foxcanine1 Wrote:  Look what you made me do. I'm already breaking my promise

Stay here long enough and you'll find out that I'm a terrible influence Tongue

Quote:Actually the two that I know of are Cross Cultural Solutions and volunteerhq.
http://www.volunteerhq.org

Had a look, they look okay (will take a closer look, see if something works for me, too). The prices volunteerh offer for Brazil are comparable to the ones I paid.

You have to make sure what is and isn't included in it.

Also, if you have a bit more time on your hands, it's still a good idea to look into the more local organisations, as they are usually cheaper (the more destinations an organisation offers, the more "middlemen" there are bound to be). For example, in my programme, I booked everything directly with the Brazilian organisation, while most of the other volunteers had used i-to-i.com and ended up paying more.

Also, smaller, local organisations sometimes give you more information about the details of the programme (for example where you will be living, stuff like this).

It may look bothersome, but a bit of searching and researching is always a good idea.

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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04-02-2013, 02:42 PM
Wink RE: Advice for volunteering.
(04-02-2013 02:14 PM)Vera Wrote:  
(04-02-2013 01:54 PM)Foxcanine1 Wrote:  Look what you made me do. I'm already breaking my promise

Stay here long enough and you'll find out that I'm a terrible influence Tongue

Quote:Actually the two that I know of are Cross Cultural Solutions and volunteerhq.
http://www.volunteerhq.org

Had a look, they look okay (will take a closer look, see if something works for me, too). The prices volunteerh offer for Brazil are comparable to the ones I paid.

You have to make sure what is and isn't included in it.

Also, if you have a bit more time on your hands, it's still a good idea to look into the more local organisations, as they are usually cheaper (the more destinations an organisation offers, the more "middlemen" there are bound to be). For example, in my programme, I booked everything directly with the Brazilian organisation, while most of the other volunteers had used i-to-i.com and ended up paying more.

Also, smaller, local organisations sometimes give you more information about the details of the programme (for example where you will be living, stuff like this).

It may look bothersome, but a bit of searching and researching is always a good idea.


Quote: Stay here long enough and you'll find out that I'm a terrible influence Tongue
So long as I don't fall into playing banjo music and hiding out in hills I think I'll be okay Shy

I've got a lot to do and even more to think over . Thanks so much for the advice.

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04-02-2013, 02:45 PM
RE: Advice for volunteering.
(04-02-2013 02:42 PM)Foxcanine1 Wrote:  So long as I don't fall into playing banjo music and hiding out in hills I think I'll be okay Shy
Sweet mother of god! I'm not that horrible!

Quote:I've got a lot to do and even more to think over . Thanks so much for the advice.

You're welcome. Good luck and don't think twice about asking, should you have other questions. And let us know what you choose Yes

"E se non passa la tristezza con altri occhi la guarderò."
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