Frequently Asked Questions
1) Is this company registered / legitimate ?
Volunteers Without Borders Association is an established Non-profit Society based out of British Columbia in Canada. Our organization has spent a lot of time, effort, and research to locate international Non-Governmental / Non-profit organizations located mainly in Asia and Africa and have built valuable working partnerships with them.
2) Why volunteer with VWB ?
There are several hundred different organizations to choose from so deciding which company you want to volunteer abroad for can be quite a time consuming and difficult decision to make. With Volunteers Without Borders we can assure you that we are a legitimate volunteer abroad organization that provides a safe, rewarding and positive experience. If you are ready to volunteer and immerse yourself into the life of the country where you choose to work, we can ensure you that our projects we offer will match you perfectly. VWB was created to provide our volunteers with VERY AFFORDABLE and flexible volunteer abroad opportunities to give back to places in the world that need it the most. Also, on each project there is a director that offers you support as much as you need it during your stay. So, why not choose VWB to volunteer abroad with and let us give you the ultimate experience of a lifetime that you will be able to treasure forever!
3) Why volunteer overseas ?
To volunteer means that you are willing to offer your assistance, your energy and spend the time to give back and offer help where it is needed. Each country in our world has their struggles and problems, while some to a much higher degree than others. We feel that most of the world's population living in a developed country lack the understanding of what it means to suffer. To volunteer abroad means that you are willing to challenge yourself and break free out of your comfort zone. It also means that you have accepted the fact that some parts in the world need a lot more help than others. By leaving your own country, it will challenge you and we can assure you that by doing so, the rewards you gain will be far greater than if you did similar work in your own country. As an international volunteer, you are going to have a tremendous effect on the people you will work with and come in contact with. It is rare for NGO's to find a volunteer who feels they have given back more than they have received. The life lessons and benefits that a volunteer receives while volunteering are endless and can help one increase their self confidence and social awareness. Volunteering can be a rather emotional experience but we can assure you that whatever you are willing to give, the help you offer will only make you to grow more as a person. While volunteering abroad, you can expect to build very strong friendships with others and also learn a lot about yourself that will help you become more independent on your own. Furthermore, international volunteering is viewed very highly in the business world and can often be a contributing factor to help one become more successful in their career of choice. By volunteering abroad, you can look forward to increasing your knowledge of real world issues, gain valuable work experience and while doing so, you can make new international friends and contacts along the way.
4) Why do I have to pay to volunteer ?
As a volunteer you are giving up your time and your skills to help those in need, therefore many people fail to see why they should also have to pay for this. The program fees we charge includes a personalized volunteer placement, pays for expenses associated with your stay such as meals, lodging and accommodation, transport, orientation as well as staff salaries to ensure your volunteering stay in the particular country of your choice goes as smoothly as possible.
5) Can I fund raise to cover the cost ?
Yes, many of our volunteers successfully raise funds for all or part of the program fees and airfare. We highly encourage you to fund raise. We have partnered with a company called Volunteer Forever that is specifically designed to help you fund raise. You can find their link on the 'Partners' tab. There are so many ways to fund raise, here's just a few:
- Spend a day going door to door on a bottle drive.
- Buy 50/50 tickets and create a lottery at an event, keep half the sales as fundraising.
- Collect all your old belongings and have a garage sale.
- Organize a weekend charity car wash in a parking lot to raise funds.
6) Can we volunteer as a group ?
Yes, Volunteers Without Borders accepts group booking and can even organize special projects for your group. Please email us to find out more about a specific country.
7) Can I volunteer with a friend/partner ?
Yes, Volunteers Without Borders can ensure you are placed in the same accommodation and project as a friend or partner. All we ask is that when you apply; please mention your friend's name on the application form.
8) Is the program fee tax-deductible ?
Yes, program fees are tax-deductible for Canadian and U.S.residents. If you are from a different country than stated above, please contact your government for more information.
9) Can a minor (under 18) volunteer ?
If they wish to volunteer abroad by themselves then the short answer is no. However, if they are volunteering as part of a group (with an adult 18 years or older) or with a family or parent/caregiver (18 or over) then we can accept them as a volunteer. If there is someone under the age of 18, please mention this when you apply so we can ensure you are placed together and our staff also know they are eligible to volunteer with our program.
10) Do I need specific skills to volunteer ?
No, the only requirement for volunteers is to be fluent in English. However, in most of the medical and health placements, volunteers must be qualified or trained in a relevant medical field (documentation must be presented to partner organization on arrival in host country). If you do have specific skills or qualifications please mention this on the application online and we will do our best to ensure your skills will benefit the people your working with.
11) Do you accept donations ?
Volunteers Without Borders was created to give anyone the opportunity to volunteer abroad. In doing so, we offer to provide the most affordable, positive, enhancing, safe and flexible volunteering opportunities available and therefore we try to stay away from playing the role of intermediary in donations. While volunteering, you will encounter many worthy causes that you are more than welcome to donate the money to directly. If you cannot volunteer and still would like to donate, there are several other larger organizations such as World Vision or Unicef that accept donations so we encourage you to do so and help make a difference.
12) Can I volunteer with VWB if I'm not Canadian ?
Yes, although Volunteers Without Borders is based in Canada, we are an international volunteer placement organization and can therefore accommodate people from any country in the world, all nationalities and/or backgrounds.
13) Where do most volunteers come from ?
Volunteering is a growing trend and has been for years. Most people who decide to volunteer come from very developed countries such as the Canada, United States, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and Japan.
14) Will there be other volunteers there ?
It Is impossible for us to guarantee just how many other volunteers will be on the program at any particular time. The number of volunteers working on the same project varies depending on the time of the year. There are usually more volunteers during the busy summer months (May - August) than compared to the slower season (September - April).
15) Is travel insurance included ?
In order to keep costs as low as possible for the volunteer we do NOT include travel insurance in our fees as we have found that volunteers can generally acquire it cheaper by getting it privately. While travel insurance is not compulsory to volunteer for our programs, we do recommend it. Although we can assure a very safe environment for you to volunteer in, there is no guarantee that things will go exactly as you planned while you are traveling abroad. Before you begin volunteering, it is very wise to ensure you have adequate travel insurance should you fall sick, get injured, or have your belongings stolen.
16) How far in advance should I apply ?
There is no deadline for applications and registrations but our advice is to apply and register as soon as you know your ready to commit and have your dates picked. The more notice you give us helps to ensure we offer you a placement that suits you perfectly. We recommend starting the registration process one month before your desired start date.
17) Do I need a travel visa to volunteer ?
Yes, Almost every single country in the world requires you to apply for a visa to enter. Each country has its own unique set of rules and regulations to enter and can refuse you entry if you do not have the appropriate documents upon arrival. Depending on the country you may be issued a visa upon arrival at the airport. If you are unsure as to how to find out this information, feel free to send us an email and we will be happy to provide this information for you.
18) What are the accommodation and meals like ?
The program fees cover your accommodation so that will all be arranged for you upon arrival. For some projects you will be given your own room but for others you will be sleeping in a common area with other volunteers. As a volunteer you will be provided 3 meals a day and the food varies depending on which country you choose to work in.
19) What vaccinations are required ?
Vaccinations and immunizations can vary greatly depending on which country you are planning to volunteer in. Once you have filled out the application and are committed to a project, we can guide you in the right direction to help you determine which required vaccinations or immunizations you will need to get before your arrival.
20) Do I need to speak the local language ?
No. Although speaking the same language or some words of the same language would be of a great benefit, It is not mandatory. Upon arrival, we highly encourage our volunteers to spend some time with their director and learn some of the basics of the countries language. Just having the knowledge of simple questions or commands can further enhance your volunteering experience and help you connect to the people you will be working with.
21) Can I take time out to travel around ?
Most volunteers fly several hundred kilometers to reach their destination and will quickly realize it is a lot different than what they are used to. We believe that the more the volunteer immerses themselves in their surroundings, the richer the experience will be. Most volunteers spend thousands of dollars on airfare and while we believe our work is the most authentic way to experience a country (living and working with local people), visiting famous sights and traveling to other places within the country will only enhance your experience further. Our programs are flexible and will often encourage you to take time out from volunteer work to travel and explore the country. The Project Directors are experts on their country and are happy to offer you suggestions as to where to go or can even help you plan your trip and get you connected to people they know once you get there.
22) How many days/week will I need to work ?
Most projects require the volunteer to work from Monday to Friday with weekends off. If you are not interested in taking time off, you can offer to work on weekends as well just as long as the project permits you to do so.
23) How many hours/day will I need to work ?
The hours can vary depending on your chosen program and country. Most projects require you to begin volunteer work at 8 - 9 am and finish around 3 - 4 pm.
24) What will happen if I am unhappy with my volunteer abroad program ?
As a credible company, we take careful consideration as to where we place our volunteers. If someone becomes unhappy or feels at all uncomfortable with their placement, all we ask the volunteer to notify their director in charge or our company directly with their issue and we will offer to work with that volunteer to determine the problem and come up with a course of action to resolve the problem. If it is required, we are willing to relocate that volunteer to a different project where they would feel more comfortable.
25) What will happen if I decide to leave before the completion of the project ?
A lot of planning is involved for each program and the Project Director creates a schedule or personal program for you. If you are planning to leave the project early, due to sickness or are unhappy with the current project, we require you as the volunteer to give us two weeks notice if possible. Part of the program fees will be refunded. The refund will be determined depending on the length of stay and the time period the volunteer failed to complete.
26) Are there grants/scholarships to help fund my program ?
Yes, many universities and colleges have scholarships and grants specifically for the purpose of encouraging international volunteering. If you're a student, additional funding may be available through your university. Contact your university or college to learn more about how you can find scholarships at your school.