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Experiences

Placement Programs Posted on Sun, February 12, 2012 19:58:48

Choosing the right volunteer placement organization /program can be quite challenging.

What you probably
found out by now, after hours of online research, is that there are myriad international
volunteer placement organizations to choose from and the number is even still
growing. It can be pretty exhausting
and difficult to make your way through all the brochures and web sites
describing all options. But trust me; it
is totally worth taking the time to carefully consider the various programs
available to find your own perfect project in the end.

Here you can share
your experiences & ask prior volunteers about their opinion. They are more
critical of the program than the staff of the respective organization!

There are important thoughts
that you should consider to make an informed decision:

Your interests

Make
yourself a good cuppa tea, take the time, sit down and explore your own
interests. While you are doing this it` s important to consider the various
components of your identity: age, ability, race, and sexual orientation. Where
do you want to go and for how long? What are you looking for in your daily work
environment? Do you want to work in the marine conservation field i.e. conduct
a sea turtle monitoring or in the terrestrial field i.e. replanting rainforests?
Or would you like to help to rehabilitate animals that will be released? Where
do you want to live; in a city or in a remote area? Do you want to stay with a
guest family, at a field station or in a hotel?

Your questions…

I
know, sometimes it’s hard to come up with questions when you haven’t got a clue
of what you are getting yourself in to. So, here I wrote up some questions for
you that you should really ask before signing any contract:

How
much are the costs and what do they cover?

What
is included in the program fee? Program fees can range from less than 100 $ per
week to thousands of dollars. Be sure to take into account any hidden costs:
airport transfer, health insurance, visa, inoculation, and gratuities,
etc. Many organizations offer tips on
how to fundraise if necessary.

Is a training or orientation offered?

The
level of orientation and training needed is really up to the individual
volunteer and the specific experience. Some organizations offer in-depth
training and orientation programs, and others just offer some useful materials,
such as information documents.

Where will I go?

Don’t
just think in terms of a country or region. You need to find out specifically
where a project is located and learn as much as you can about that place. Will
the program take me to a place that I want to go and not to any other place
because they need volunteers more urgent?

What
work will I be doing?

What skills do I
need? Are there opportunities to
develop my skills? What will my schedule look like? How many days do I have
off? Will I be doing the same work every day, or will I take on a variety of
tasks? What are the goals of the work being done? Will I work on my own or in a
group?

Where will I live?

Will
I live in a tent, a hostel or a hotel? Or will I stay with a guest family? Here
it is important of what you want and what you can afford. Some sites do not
even have electricity or even running water. If I am not staying at a hotel:
How much of the cooking, cleaning, filing, and so on will I be expected to do?
(Most volunteer vacation organizations run on a tight budget and can’t hire
someone to take care of these things. They often divide routine work among all
of the employees and volunteers).

Your contract

Last
but not least. If you have the right feeling and prior volunteers gave a good
reference begin the application process. But please remember that you have to get
the contract in writing – explaining fees, benefits, logistics, and health
insurance issues and refund policies – no matter how nice the people you talk
to are.

Travel advice

Normally
your placement organization should cover all issues concerning your safety
while travelling and while your stay abroad. Anyways, it’s always better to
double check and seek travel advice by yourself.

Considering these
issues, asking the right questions, and being honest about yourself – your
needs, desires, and expectations- you can have a great experience volunteering with
the help of a placement organization.



Experiences

Conservation Projects Posted on Sun, February 12, 2012 19:45:21

Hi,

here you can share your experiences if you have already worked as a volunteer in a wildlife conservation project or you can ask for advice from others about specific projects if you are interested in volunteering.

Cheers Janine