Accommodation during volunteer abroad is most important since your living environment can make or break your total experience of volunteering abroad. Whether you stay on a hostel with other volunteers or volunteer abroad with host families, it is more important that the environment is comfortable for you. This ensure a favorable environment for you to work and get immerse yourself totally into the local culture. In this article, we will explain everything you need to know about the accommodation and arrangement for your volunteering program.
Where do I live in while volunteering abroad?
Volunteers abroad generally stay with the host family. However, this depends upon the project, program location and the host countries. There are also some projects that will require you to stay in a volunteer house or a hostel with other volunteers. If you join some projects like conservation programs that require you to be in very remote area then you may have to stay in quarter or cabin close to the project location. Health workers or volunteers working on health projects sometimes must stay in temporary shelters or tents depending on the host country.
Can I choose where to live?
Generally, you will not be able to choose your volunteer abroad accommodation, because the volunteer programs are designed with certain accommodations. Most volunteer organization have already created accommodation with host families or hostel. However, in some special cases you may be able to choose staying with host family and staying in hostel. Your volunteer organization may give you the option of finding your own apartment as well. Check your volunteer organization to find different options for accommodation.
Which type of accommodation is best?
Since it is all about your taste and preferences, it cannot be said which type of accommodation is best. If you prefer having lot of cultural exposure, or you want to immerse into local culture then staying with host family might be a best option for you. However, if you an independent person who likes more privacy and freedom and also likes living alone following own schedule then staying in a hostel with fellow volunteers might be a better option for you.
Can I get my own room or do I need to share?
This actually depends on the program and volunteer abroad organization that you have selected. If you are staying with the host family then most probably you will get a single room. However, if you are staying in a hostel, you may have to share the rooms with other volunteers.
Are there any rules in accommodation?
When it comes to volunteer abroad accommodation, there will definitely be some rules. While there may not be anyone to monitor, you must be respectful to the host family. For instance, you may not be allowed to come home drunk, or smoke, have any activities that violets the value of local culture at the premise. You may not also be allowed to bring an outside friend to stay with you in your room. All in all, you should be respectful to the host family and the local culture and take good care of what your host family and host country offers you.
Can family, boyfriend/girlfriend, wife/husband live together?
Most volunteer abroad project accommodation will allow families or couples to stay together. However, you should make sure that you request for make a deal for this earlier so that volunteer organization can make the necessary arrangements for you.
What about meals?
The policy regarding meal can differ according to each project and organization. Most volunteers staying with host families will be provided with at least 2 meals or 3 meals a day. The food you eat will be local and mostly delicious. When, you are staying in a hostel or somewhere with a shared kitchen, you may not receive any meal with your accommodation. You may have to purchase your meal or cook your own food.
I am vegetarian or allergic to some food, will my needs be a problem?
Your needs will not be a problem at all and your organization will be able to accommodate your requirements. For this you will need to inform and discuss about your requirements prior to your trip.
Can I ask for food that I like?
When living with a host family or somewhere there is very little choice or no choice at all regarding food. So, you will most likely not be able to request for the food that you want.
What about laundry? Who takes care of it?
This vary from country to country. In most countries, laundry service may be provided for additional charges. However, in some Asian country such as India, it is offensive for the host family to do their volunteers' laundry. Each organization have different policies regarding this. So, check your organization and discuss for what you want.
Will there be basic facilities like internet, phone, electricity, etc.?
Depending upon the project and their location, you will have hot water, 24/7 electricity, internet or Wi-Fi, phone connections. Meanwhile, some other project site may lack these facilities. Please check and confirm with the organization before your trip.
Do I need to bring toiletries?
Yes, bringing toiletries with you is always a good idea but make sure you don't over-pack it. However, you will have opportunity to visit local markets and purchase things you need.
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