Volunteering can be a challenge both physically and mentally, and if you want to volunteer, you need to be prepared and interested in learning about a new culture. Many questions come up and here we have tried to collect the most common questions in terms of volunteer projects.
Why do volunteer work?
The first question you should ask yourself when you want to go on a volunteer project is why you want to do this? It is important to realize that it is not a holiday and you are expected to work each day (usually not on weekends) and be interested in what you do.
How long should I volunteer?
Our projects range from 1 week up to approx. 30 weeks. Projects have a specified minimum stay, then it’s up to you how long you can commit. In our experience the longer you stay the more you will gain, as your understanding of the project broadens, and you take on more responsibilities.
What qualities should I have as a volunteer?
The most important thing is that you are open minded about new cultures and experiences, flexible, proactive and determined to work hard - life can be much tougher than at home. Most projects are run by local "not-for-profit" organizations, and these projects may be more or less organized – and resources are often very scarce. It could happen that the project will dissolve from one day to another and you may be forced to change project depending on what's happening in the country or region.
The only language you need to participate in our projects is English, both for communication with your fellow volunteers and to give non-English speaking communities a chance to practice their language skills. On most South and Central America projects basic Spanish or Portuguese is required, lessons are available both before and during your volunteer work.
Finally, remember that what you do is one piece in a large puzzle and all the pieces are equally important no matter how small or large. It may feel like idle work, even though it might be crucial for the project!
How will I actually make a difference?
Our volunteers give their time and energy to raise awareness of environmental issues on a local and global platform, support education initiatives, provide safe environments for preschool children and provide much needed help with the many repetitive but necessary tasks in the everyday running of animal rescue centres. The positive effect before, during and after volunteering can’t be underestimated, with the right expectations and an open flexible attitude, a volunteer can help relieve over stretched resources, inspire, motivate and provide a positive role model.
Why should I pay to volunteer?
- There are some costs involved, which needs to be paid for, such as:
- 24/7 local assistance, if something should happen
- Transportation to and from the projects
- Coordination of the project
- Donation to the project
- Administration of the project with local authorities
What is included in the volunteer projects?
Accommodation is always included. It will be basic living at a volunteer house or a hostel with bunk beds. Sometimes you can choose to stay with a family (homestay) or share a twin room with another volunteer. Sometimes it is also possible to pay extra to stay in a private room.
Food is usually included. Sometimes it includes all the food and sometimes only part of the meals. It is simple food, so remember to tell us in advance, if you have diabetic requirements or have any allergies.
Transport between your accommodation and the project is usually provided (there might be exceptions). In most cases the transfer from the airport to your accommodation is included too.
Since projects differ so much between countries and regions, it is important that you ask our travel advisors about the details of your project.
Do I need to have a specific education or work experience to be a volunteer?
No, nearly everybody can be a good volunteer worker and give a helping hand. On the other hand, let us know what you are studying or what you are working with and we will try to find a volunteer job that suits your skills and study.
Should I bring money or gifts to the project?
Avoid giving cash money as a gift. If you want to give something, it is better to bring clothes, pencils or books with you or buy supplies when you arrive and support the local economy. While you are working at the project, you can discuss with your local coordinator, if you should start any fundraising for the project or how it’s possible to contribute through existing social structures.
Can I not just travel and find a volunteer project locally?
You can do that, but we do not recommend it. You might not know if the project you're working for is legitimate, the organization may put money in their own pockets. It’s also very difficult to know if the project has both short and long-term goals and is developed as a response to the needs of the local community or as a response to travellers’ needs. With KILROY if anything goes wrong we can back you up, and offer you support before, during and after your stay.
Where can I volunteer?
You can do community volunteering, nature conservation, and wildlife conservation all over the World. See all our volunteer projects.