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How to prepare to volunteer abroad?
After committing to volunteer abroad and selecting the appropriate program of your desire there is yet another important concern that you should deal with. To become a successful volunteer and get best out of your work during volunteering you should prepare yourself consciously. Here is a list of points which you can refer as your preparation checklist for volunteering abroad.
Below are some of the concerns you might have about the application and booking procedure.
Prepare your passport
As a fact, you cannot travel abroad for volunteering without having a passport. You must get your passport first, if this the first time you are going for volunteer abroad. I is good to get your first passport 6 months prior to leaving for volunteer abroad. If not for the first time, you need to fix all the issues like validity and blank pages for entry and exit stamps.
Book your flight
Finding a flight in reasonable price is a hard deal in this process because of budget. you can compare the flight rates on many sites like Hipmunk and Kayak. The best time to buy is generally between 2 to 5 months before your programs. As a tip, lower flight rates are most likely to be launched on Tuesdays. There are also some special travel agencies such as, Key Travel and Fly for Good that provides services like “Flights for Humanitarian Travel” and “Humanitarian Airfare”. These rates are the discounted rates for travelers who are engage in volunteer service. However, the key is to get all possible price list and compare them all to find the best.
Apply for your visa (if needed)
The visa policies for different country are different. Some country gives you on arrival visa whereas, some require a pre-entry visa. This all depends upon the citizenship you're holding. Since the duration of your program many range between 1 to 12 weeks you volunteers need not have to be paid, you can apply for a tourist visa for volunteering abroad. But, if you are planning to work there then you have to apply for working visa. Some of the countries like Tanzania and India also provides special kind of visa called Volunteer Visa with special permit. The best time to apply for the visa can be 1 to 2 months prior to your program date. You may have to pay to buy visa. The cost generally range between $10 to $300 depending upon the country and duration of your stay. You can go on your government website or embassy website of the host country to find out the visa type and cost required for your volunteering abroad.
How long will it generally take to get accepted?
It is an obvious concern since, to wait for the decision especially when you are willing to volunteer at particular site for a long time. However, you don't need to worry much since the selection process generally takes only between 1 and 3 weeks depending upon the organization. There is the policy of screening process for the applicants in most of the international volunteer abroad organization. This mostly aimed to check if you have been involved in any criminal activity or not. This is very essential, especially when you are working with children or teaching kids in schools. Most of the time, volunteer will be accepted for the program unless they have a serious criminal background.
Register your travels with the State Dept or Embassy
Register your date of travel with the State Department or your Embassy on host country (if available). This will help you to receive safety updates about your destination. It can also be very useful for tracking you in (if any) worst case scenario.
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