Welcome to our FAQ section!
You will find answers to frequently asked questions here and if you don´t find what you are looking for please just contact us and we will be happy to help you. The FAQ is divided into Before- and During your trip. You can click on the questions to go straight to the answers in the text below.
Before the trip:
- When can I expect an answer to my application?
- Do I need any specific qualifications?
- Are there any age limits?
- Do I need to get a Visa?
- Do I need insurance?
- What vaccines do I need?
- Are there any physical requirements?
- What is included in the price?
- What should I bring?
- Can couples/families work together?
- Can I travel alone?
- When can I travel?
- What is the typical age of volunteers?
- What countries are the volunteers from?
- Do I need to know the language?
- What is the climate like?
- What is the local currency and where can I get it?
- What happens to my deposit?
- Why do I pay for volunteering?
During the trip:
- Will someone meet me at the airport?
- Where will I stay and with whom?
- How much will I work?
- What is the food like? Will there be any vegetarian alternatives?
- Do I pay for all transport?
- What transportation is used during the stay?
- Will there be more volunteers working at the same time?
- Will I get any free time?
- How do I keep in contact with family and friends?
- What happens if I get sick?
- How should I handle a tricky situation in the country?
- Am I making a difference as a volunteer?
- Is it possible to travel during my stay?
- Can I stay in the country after the program is finished?
Before the trip:
We will reply as quickly as possible by phone or email, usually within 24 hours. However, in some cases there might be a slight delay when the whole team is in an Internet-free zone (e.g. the Lao jungle).
Our programs are designed so that you’ll need motivation, work ethics and a strong will to make the best out of every situation. With these attitudes, you are highly qualified for our volunteer projects. If you are interested in working as an intern in one of our local internship programs, there are some specific qualifications needed which are shown on the Internship Specification page.
We recommend our volunteers be at least 18 years old but we accept applications from everyone. Have you already started your retirement? Not a problem if you’re up for it! We’ve had numerous 60+ volunteers doing great work. Families are also welcome to apply.
It depending on where you are volunteering. In many of our trips we will arrange this for you, but if you are working for a short time usually a tourist visa will work. This means that you might have to organize it yourself at the border. To see if the visa arrangement and costs is included in your trip, please go to the program specifications.
All volunteers traveling with us need insurance covering volunteer work and costs related to sickness, accidents, medical care and/or transportation to your home country. We can arrange insurance if you live in any of the Nordic countries through our insurance partner, Gouda Travel Insurances. Please contact us and we will help you in this matter.
We recommend you to contact a clinic since the necessary vaccinations differ among locations and also over time. The clinic will tell you what is appropriate depending on time and place of travel.
You need to be able to manage some strenuous work during you stay. If you are an average level of fitness you will do great!
The trips have different services included. Read more on the page for the specific programs you are interested in.
Here are some suggestions on what would be appropriate for you to bring. Just keep in mind that you shouldn’t carry too much luggage.
You should wear clothes that are appropriate for the work and culture. While working in Asia, we recommend that shorts or skirts do not end above the knees. Both males and females should cover their shoulders when they are at work, in temples, and other public places.
- Malaria Prophylaxis (according to the clinics recommendations)
- Mosquito repellants
- Sun Cream protection
- Disinfectant to treat wounds and injuries
- Nausea pills, stomach regulators
- Pain killers
- Throat sweets
Other useful items
- Mosquito net
- Sun hat/cap
- Swiss army knife
Yes, volunteering is a great way for a couple to travel. In some cases you can work in a joint project and sometimes you’ll be assisting different projects. There are also opportunities for families to participate in our volunteer programs.
If your children are young, you can share a position and work together to develop the project you’re placed at or sometimes you can both have part-time volunteer roles in different projects. Please contact us and we will make sure you and your family have a fantastic time.
Of course you can go by yourself! Travel alone usually results in connecting with more people. Other volunteers will be working with similar projects and you will live nearby other volunteers or share a studio/apartment.
Some of our projects are during specific periods and some are a bit more flexible. See specifications for each of our projects.
Everyone can join our volunteer projects! The majority of our volunteers have been around 20-30 years old but we’ve also arranged tours for ages 60+ as well as school groups.
All nationalities are welcome!
You don’t need to know the local language on our programs. It might come in handy to know a few words since many locals at your destination will not speak English. In some of our placements a quick intro course is given and our staff are always willing to help. You can always use your body language to make yourself understood and a smile goes a long way.
We operate in a tropical climate where it is usually hot and humid. Some placements during wintertime require a sweatshirt and during the rainy season a raincoat will be handy. Please ask us if you are in doubt of when to travel or what to bring.
In Laos, the local currency is LAK (Laotian Kip). 1 USD is equivalent to around 8400 Kip. In Sri Lanka the local currency is LKR (Sri Lankan Rupies). We recommend you to bring some local currency before your trip.
If you are traveling to Laos, the most convenient is to bring Thai Bath since LAK is not accessible in many places. To Sri Lanka you can bring USD, which is easily exchanged at the airport. After arriving in the country, there are ATMs in the cities where you can withdraw the local currency.
In most volunteer programs you´ll be assisting local organizations working in vulnerable environments or populations, may it be nature, animal protection, childcare, education or development of rural communities. These organizations have to operate on very tight budgets and their opportunities to cover your costs while you´re assisting them are usually very small. In almost all cases the fee that you pay covers your costs related to travel, education, visas and living expenses. In some cases the fee includes a portion of the costs for resources such as building materials if you are traveling to work on a school building project or an orthopedic leg or food for school children.
During the trip
One of our coordinators will meet you at the airport and bring you to the hotel or site, depending on your volunteer program. In some cases you will be guided the whole trip, e.g. during our school- and library building programs. If you look at the volunteer placements itinerary it will show you how it is organized.
We will arrange accommodation for all volunteers during the program. If you are working in the city we arrange an apartment/studio/guesthouse for you and the other volunteers. When working on shorter projects in rural areas you sometimes stay in community buildings, in a home stays (one of the villager’s house), or in a bamboo hut.
These home stays are well organized and the participating families enjoy these occasions and are compensated for food and housing. You’ll be staying in home stays together with World Volunteer staff and English speaking guides.
The working hours vary a lot depending on project placement and the local conditions. Some of our placements have a 50% work load with possibilities for individual variation on the rest of your day when you can follow your own interests such as teaching sports, English or doing additional work in you spare time.
In some programs, such as those which assist a village in a construction program, you work early morning until afternoon and then some days are spent visiting interesting projects and/or relaxing at the beach/river side. Please see the specific information on our volunteer programs.
Since we are operating in Asia the local food is delicious and contains a lot of spices (usually lots of chilies). Depending on where you are in Asia, the food will be different.
A large percent of the Asian people are vegetarian, mostly due to their religion, so getting hold of excellent vegetarian food is never a problem.
The transportation will be different from project to project. We could be traveling by car, “tuc tuc”, bicycles or buses. Some transportation is included in your itinerary and some you’ll have to organize yourself. In our long-term volunteer placements in Vientiane (Laos) you’ll be provided with bicycles.
During your stay you use local transportation and in our long term projects we sometimes can provide you with bicycles. Look at your itinerary for more information.
We are always trying to get a group together for our projects. Especially when we are going to rural places, we tend have a group of 6-15 volunteers working together. However, if you are working in the city there might be fewer volunteers and you’ll sometimes work as the only volunteer from World Volunteer. At all placements you will have a mentor at work and a contact person 24/7.
Of course you will have free time during your program. Depending on if you are working for two weeks or four months, the free days will vary. During the longer periods you will have your weekends off and during the short period there will be arranged free time.
If you have an old phone at home, we would recommend you to bring it. Buying a prepaid local sim card is very cheap, and calling home will be less expensive with a local number. We will help you arrange this on arrival. This will also help you to avoid expensive roaming charges. Otherwise, you can stay in touch by email, Skype and other mediums that let you communicate with your friends and family back home.
If you don’t feel well, we advise you to make contact with our local coordinator. He/she will help you and, if needed, follow you to the clinic/hospital. We have always 24/7 support.
Try your best to work around cultural difficulties and you can always contact our local coordinators who are able to help and guide you.
Of course! Your contribution is important and you are very appreciated at your volunteer placement site. Our programs are designed in a way that’ll provide opportunities for contributing no matter how long a period you are volunteering for.
Traveling on your own during our programs is possible when you are staying for a longer period. However, if you are working with us for a week or two on a site, there will not be much time for travel during the programs. However, there is definitely time for travel before the project or after. On most programs we also have included different excursions for you and possibilities to experience the local culture and visit exiting places.
Yes! Volunteering is a great way to get to know the culture and the people and many volunteers choose to combine their volunteer work with some travel on their own. You can also end your trip with a volunteer placement with us.