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A guide to international volunteering SOS Trips are learning experiences not vacations! Here are some tips about volunteering abroad from past volunteers!

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Presentation on theme: "A guide to international volunteering SOS Trips are learning experiences not vacations! Here are some tips about volunteering abroad from past volunteers!"— Presentation transcript:

1 A guide to international volunteering SOS Trips are learning experiences not vacations! Here are some tips about volunteering abroad from past volunteers!

2 Welcome! So, you’re about to volunteer abroad with SOS on an outreach trip. We’ve been running trips for years and gather tips and lessons each time. This PPT will share some lessons with you, in hopes of preparing you as much as possible for this experience. As always, please do not hesitate to email the VP Outreach or the Director of International Outreach with any questions or concerns you might have!

3 Goals of International Volunteering Learn about a new culture and other styles of living Learn new skills and a new language Get out of your comfort zone and make a difference Building isn’t the focus – getting to know the community is!

4 Some Inspiration… “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow- mindedness and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime.” -Mark Twain “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” -Marcel Proust “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” -Gustave Flaubert

5 What to Prepare

6 Documents Passports – photocopy version with you and with your parents Make sure it is valid for at least six months after your departure date

7 Travel Flights – we book them for you! Flights are usually booked with the most affordable airline, but we make sure that they have a great safety record Double-check what time you are departing – it only takes one person to make an entire group late

8 Travel Travel Insurance – make sure to get documents for everything you want to claim. The more paperwork you have, the better. If you get sick, get a doctor’s note to file an insurance claim. If something of yours is stolen, file a police report to file an insurance claim. Leave your non-essential valuables at home.

9 Packing List There is a full packing list in your Community Information PowerPoint, but here are a few extra tips for things to bring! Mosquito net Lots of socks! Power bars Protein supplements Gatorade powder Gravol for motion sickness First aid kits are for emergencies. If you feel like you may need something, bring it! The less you bring, the better!

10 Money Bring extra cash with you in case there are any extra- curricular activities, etc. Make sure they are in small USD bills (20’s, issued after 2005 are ideal) Easiest to exchange your money when you arrive in the country. Use your judgment! If you think you’re going to spend a lot of money for souvenirs, etc. bring extra cash

11 What to Expect Awesome Fun Times!

12 General Itinerary Opening ceremony for the first night Cultural activities throughout your stay Work during the mornings, have some time in the afternoon to interact with the community, evenings with your group 2 Rest-days…. TBD before your trip. Closing ceremony on the last night – this would be a great time to give any donations to the community that you might have!

13 BUT things happen and change. You itinerary may be different than what you thought it would be. Just be flexible and patient!

14 Food Much of the diet is corn based, so be prepared to not have too much variety. If you don’t think you will adjust, perhaps bring some protein bars. The community will be doing their best to accommodate you, but remember that you are a guest!

15 Dress Code Be respectful of a communities dress code! Don’t impress us with the way you look! Instead, impress us with your hard working skills and willingness to learn and share. Revealing clothes may work for Betty Boop but won’t work for you!

16 Weather Whether rain or shine, you’ll have an amazing time! For seasonal information, check out: Unfortunately, here at SOS we can’t predict the weather. And even the weather man can’t really predict it either. So how do you best prepare? Be open minded and flexible! There’s nothing you can do about it anyway!

17 Living Conditions Bed? Maybe. Tent? Perhaps. Bugs? Yes. Each community has different degrees of accommodation. The showers may be hot or cold, there may be a flush toilet or a hole in the ground. If you enjoy camping, this will be right up your alley. Anything extra will just be a bonus Check your community PowerPoint for accommodation information!

18 While There

19 Reminder Remember that you are a guest in your host community for the next 2 weeks. Yes, as your parents would say, this means be on your best behaviour! This is a learning experience for both you and your host community. Learn from one-another and your experience will be that much more rewarding.

20 No drugs!!! (this includes being around any too) And please don’t smoke cigarettes near kids! They look up to you and mimic your actions. If you smoke, please indicate it on your Participant Information form so we can give the partners a heads up. Also, having a drink or two is fine. Getting drunk is unacceptable.

21 Tools Tools will not be the best quality, as they are donated by the community. Tasks may take longer than planned. Learning alternative methods of construction is part of the experience. Remember that the build is only part of your experience. Getting to know the community is arguably the most important bit. If you haven’t got a task to do, go talk or play with someone! We finish and follow through on all projects. Don’t worry if you leave and things are not 100% done.

22 Misconceptions You are bound to have many misconceptions about your community Take this as an opportunity to learn from the community rather then to try to change things They have a lot to teach you! Ask questions and travel with open ears.

23 What it means to Volunteer This is an opportunity for you to learn and be integrated into a new culture. To make the most of it, be open and willing to absorb all of the experiences you’ll face!

24 Cultural Sensitivity Different communities have different cultural practices. Be open to learning about a new culture and you’ll have a rewarding experience. Research into cultural norms before you travel so that you have some familiarity with what to expect. Avoid judging things as good/bad. Embrace them as being different, and see what you can learn!

25 Donations Give donations to a group – not individually! Don’t make post-trip promises!! This is extremely important.

26 Where Are You Going? Know where your country is on a map Where is your community located? Up in the mountains? In a desert? If you’re not sure, ask! Play this interactive game to learn your Central and South American Countries: ver2.html Read the country information page/wikipedia

27 Things we wish we knew… We’ll leave you with the final pearls of wisdom from past participants… As always, let us know if you have any questions! Learn Spanish (link to portal) Check out the weather Bring some warm clothing for the occasional cold night Bring extra powerbars, gatorade and band-aids Take Dukarol, stay hydrated and bring diarrhea tablets Bring extra cash just in case


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