What can I expect as a volunteer
What can you expect from us?
- An interview: based on your application we will schedule an interview with you. We will tell you more about the program you are interested in and ask you some questions. Together, we’ll talk through the programs and find a good fit for you.
- 4 weeks before your departure and after your final payment, you’ll receive pre-departure information that covers all the bases.
- Soft landing: We’ll make sure your arrival goes smoothly and comfortably, getting you off on the right foot. We’ll meet you at the airport or bus station and take you directly to your project. In some cases, this even includes an overnight stay in a hostel before we take you to the project.
- 24 hour support and emergency line, so that you’ll feel secure at all times. There’s always someone on hand to help.
We have close contacts with excellent language schools for additional Spanish or Portuguese lessons, giving you the chance to pick up new skills while you travel.
Are you the volunteer we are looking for?
- For most projects we require a minimum age of 18yrs, and for some projects this is 20yrs.
- Spanish is the principle language in Latin America, although Brazil speaks Portuguese. If you sign up for a social project, you’ll need a good basis grasp of the local language and we generally recommend taking additional language courses, to benefit both you and your project.
- We recommend to have at least some travel experience under your belt, so that you understand the nature of traveling to a faraway country and living in a culture that isn’t your own.
- We look for truly committed volunteers who know what they are looking for and how much time they have to spare. Breaking your commitment has negative effects on the programs, local community and your co-volunteers, so this isn’t a risk that we want to take.
- If you’re planning to work at one of our animal rescue centers, you’ll need a tuberculosis test, as the disease can spread easily amongst primates.
- Police clearance certificate/criminal background check.
- You’ll need to be open-minded and flexible. All of these programs are run in difficult places and sometimes things change at short notice, or with no notice at all. You’ll need to be prepared to face a few surprises along the way! You’ll need to be independent, as you’ll find your way around cities and between projects, often taking public transport. More than anything, you’ll need to be a hard-worker. Volunteering isn’t a holiday – it’s a real, working experience in inspiring but tough conditions. Expect a challenge and prepare to put in the hours.
We select our accommodation very carefully, to ensure that you will feel comfortable and welcome during your stay. The style of accommodation depends on your project and could be anything from a simple shared cabin on an isolated tropical beach to a remote home tucked away in the jungle. Sometimes you will stay at the project itself, sometimes in shared apartment-style accommodation, sometimes a guesthouse and sometimes a dorm hostel. Wherever you stay, you’ll have the amenities to prepare your own food and you’ll be given plenty of information about the local area to help you feel at home.
Why pay to volunteer?
Paying to volunteer has been a subject of debate for quite some time and it is natural to wonder exactly where your money is going. We only support projects that need your money to stay afloat and put your fee directly to good use, ensuring that your money – as well as your time – makes a difference to people that really need it. None of our projects receive money from the government. All of them are privately run and privately financed by inspiring individuals, fundraising efforts and passionate supporters. Every month these projects struggle to make ends meet. The fee you pay as a volunteer literally helps to keep the projects alive and goes exclusively to a good cause. This means that it has a direct and positive impact on local people, wildlife and conservation. Your money will go straight into the project itself and cover administrative costs at the same time.
In terms of administration, it will fund the travel services included in your project fee (arrival transfers and hotels etc), help to implement and monitor new initiatives within the project and go towards the salaries of support staff at the project. In other words, it will provide help where help is really needed. The fee covers your accommodation, including drinking water and hot drinks all day long. Many projects also include tasty home-cooked meals. You’ll have the opportunity to learn all about social struggles and wildlife challenges, come into contact with professionals from a whole range of different sectors, pick up new skills and learn a language along the way. Your money makes all of this possible. In other words, you’re paying for a meaningful experience that really needs your money to stay above water and continue building bright futures for the community. In many ways, that’s priceless.