Are you travelling alone to a new country for the first time? Wondering if volunteering, interning or studying abroad is safe? We’ve been there. It can be daunting. But one of the things you can be 100% sure about is that you’re in good hands with us. For over 30 years, we've taken care of every aspect of your safety while you’re travelling abroad with us.
Keeping you safe while you’re overseas with us is our top priority. We keep in touch with you every step of the way, from the moment you sign up until you fly back home. We want your focus to be on your project and exploring. You can leave the rest up to us. This includes making sure our projects are run responsibly and ethically.
Here are 10 things we provide that you can tick off your safety checklist:
During your trip, we can ensure:
5. No hassle, airport transfers
We don’t want you to struggle to find your way around a new city when you first arrive. Come rain or shine, day or night, our staff will be at the airport to collect you. You can’t miss them in their green staff shirts, complete with a sign saying “Projects Abroad”. They’ll be waiting for you at the entrance of arrivals, and may even be mistaken as your overexcited extended family.
“We’ll keep track of your flight and ensure we are there when your flight lands. You’ll even receive a picture of our driver ahead of arrival so you know who to look for.” – Kay Hendricks, Jamaica Country Director.
6. Safe and comfortable accommodations
We want your accommodation to feel like a home away from home; safe, secure, comfortable and relaxed. Our host families and accommodations are chosen by us according to neighbourhood ratings, comfort and friendliness. Although there won’t necessarily be king-sized beds and gourmet meals, you can expect a safe and homely place to sleep, a full belly every day, and a host family or accommodation staff that really care about your well-being.
7. Full country and project inductions
You don’t need to scour the internet for days on end in order to feel safe during your trip. We’ll provide you with everything you need to know. Our staff will share cultural tips, how to travel around the country safely, what to be aware of when alone, who you can contact in emergencies and more! If there’s anything else you need, they are only a phone call away.
“During induction, coordinators will go through all safety information and procedures, and volunteers will have the opportunity to ask questions. This helps them adjust more quickly to life in South Africa.” – Justine McCarthy, South Africa Country Director
8. Organised transport to and from your placement
For your daily work commute, we've arranged the safest form of transport. In some countries, you’ll use efficient public transport and in others, we'll have arranged private vans or tuk-tuks to take you where you need to be. You may even walk or cycle every day if you live close enough. We’ll always go with you on your first day to show you how it works. And, if you're still not comfortable commuting alone, we’ll accompany you until you are.
9. 24-hour back-up and support from our staff
Do you think millennials are the only ones attached to their phones? Well, our staff would beat them! No matter what time of the day or week, our staff will be contactable. Whether it’s an emergency, an issue at your placement or you just needing someone to lend an understanding ear, our staff will be there. They really do go above and beyond the call of duty.
“Volunteers are given an emergency contact card during induction that has the contact details of all staff members and local emergency services. Every Friday, all staff, volunteers and host families are informed about which two staff members will be available over the weekend. They’ll always have their phones with them in case of an emergency.” – Justine McCarthy, South Africa Country Director
Your project supervisor will also be your support system during your stay. If you need help with anything, they’ll be there. They know your project, the local area and community well. So while you’re finding your feet, they can organise things quickly and easily and are always happy to do so.
“Our project supervisors always check in on our volunteers, be it a social call or visit, or just checking how their work is going. They're always appreciative about the effort we make to ensure their safety. We help manage their expectations, deal with any problems they have and celebrate the positive results they accomplish at their placements.” - Riyaad Herman, Vietnam Project Manager
After you get home, we ensure:
10. Post-project follow-ups
We want to know if you got home safe and we want to hear about your trip. Did it meet your expectations? Did you feel safe? Were our staff available when you needed them? There’s always room for improvement and with your feedback, future travellers will benefit from your volunteer safety tips.
These are just a few of the procedures and systems we have in place to ensure you feel safe and supported when volunteering abroad so you can focus on making the biggest impact possible.
“Essentially, we are committed and prepared to go above and beyond to ensure our volunteers are safe, and ensure parents or partners at home are confident that we’ll come up with a suitable solution to any safety issues that may arise." – Kristin Marin, Country Director.
Still wondering how to stay safe while travelling overseas? Contact us for more information and our Project Experts will be happy to chat!
With all this in mind, what’s holding you back? You have a range of projects to choose from with us. You can: