We are aware that on Tuesday 8/10/2019 companies were speaking to students on campus and in lectures offering overseas volunteering opportunities.
We would advise students be wary of volunteering with these companies, which are not endorsed by ourselves.
We want you to be safe with both your money and details when looking at such opportunities, so would reccomend the following Dos and Don'ts
DO ask questions
DO research in depth about the companies
DO assess review websites and search the companies on Trip Advisor etc...
DO double check all costs
DO have your contracts double checked by an independent organisation such as an insurer
DO NOT assume the volunteer organization is being totally transparent, even if they provide FAQs and budget overviews
DO NOT sign up to any opportunity without having met the team first
DO NOT offer any personal details until you are sure the company is legitimate
DO NOT feel pressured into handing over money/deposits when you are uncertain
Also to be considered when volunteering abroad is that you are actually volunteering - whilst it may be fun to intergrate into a new community for a while, ask yourself whether the scheme is really helping that community or just bringing in profit for the company itself. Many organisations offer "overseas experiences" that offer little value to your host communities.
-Could your trip be preventing long term employment in the area?
-Are vulnerable people/species being exploited for your "help"?
-Are you fundrasing for money which will go towards your expidition rather than areas in need?
Please take a look at this current example of unwitting volunteers for "Conservation Reserves" in South Africa https://www.bornfree.org.uk/canned-hunting
Volunteering abroad should include work to promote knowledge, conservation and/or economic stability to an area- not be a photo op!
KeeleSU have partnered with Challenges Abroad to offer overseas volunteering opportunities, with a meeting on the 22nd October 6-7pm in Meetings Room 1&2 for students who are interested. https://www.facebook.com/events/469733486956888/
Our partnering with this organisation does not mean you need not follow our Dos and Dont's or question our considerations!
If you have any further concerns or queeries please do not hesitate to get in touch,
All the best