Once you have decided which volunteer location and provider are for you, you then need to begin the booking process. It is important to allow ample time for this process as there is a great deal associated with volunteering abroad and you need to allow yourself the time to complete the various steps. Here, we will talk a little bit about how to apply for volunteer work and what the process involves.
Most volunteer organizations do not have actual application deadlines. However, volunteer work placements tend to have a limited number of spaces and these can fill up quickly depending on factors such as the popularity of the volunteer job in question and the time of year. You should also consider the fact that different volunteer destinations have different visa and vaccination requirements and these processes can take some time to complete. Many vaccinations actually need to be done 4-6 weeks before departure. Also consider that prices of flights can be more expensive if booked with little notice. Therefore, we recommend booking your volunteer work programme 3 months in advance.
Most international volunteer organizations accept applications from around the world and therefore the application processes tend to be entirely online. This usually takes the form of an online form but is sometimes a downloadable document that you need to email back. Most application forms are very detailed and require not only personal information but more detailed responses such as your reasons for wanting to carry out volunteer work abroad and your experience. You will also likely be required to submit an application deposit, which can be anything from $50 to $500.
Once you have submitted your application, it is usually forwarded to regional offices in the country in which you wish to volunteer. The staff here will then review your application in order to appropriately match you to a project, based on your interest, experience and education. They will then find you accommodation and send a confirmation report to head office.
You will then receive a confirmation of your acceptance with all details about your assigned volunteer job. This will include details about your host family, your contact person from the organisation, the project, your itinerary/schedule. Many organizations will also send you information to help you prepare for your volunteer work such as visa and vaccination information and information about the country such as culture, currency and even food.
The application process can last from1-3 weeks. Most organizations accept volunteers with any experience and educational levels. The screening process is primarily to conduct criminal background checks as whilst taking part in volunteer work abroad you will be in contact with children and other vulnerable individuals. Therefore, it is very rare to be rejected unless anything serious is found on your record.
Most international volunteer organizations require some form of application/booking fee. Usually this is a deposit which is part of the overall cost of the volunteer work programme and exists to ensure only serious applications are made as many of these projects rely on volunteers.
Refund policies differ between organizations. Some offer full refunds, some offer partial refunds and some offer no refunds at all. Always check the refund policy with the organisation before applying.