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First, check out our FAQs:
It depends on the country you’re going to and your citizenship.
From our homepage, go to the specific destination page that you want to join, click the “FAQ” tab and scroll down to the visa question. There we provide location specific information.
If we don’t answer your question there, go to the website of the embassy of the country you’re going to that is in your country of citizenship.
So, for example, if you’re a US citizen and want to know visa requirements to go to Cambodia, go to the website of the Cambodia Embassy in the US.
Once you apply and are accepted into a UBELONG program we will provide you with much more visa information, including any documentation you may require from UBELONG to get a visa. We make the visa process as easy for you as possible.
Probably much less than you think! A big reason for UBELONG’s enormous success is the affordability of our volunteer trips. Simply, without compromising safety, support or flexibility, we aim to offer the most affordable volunteer trips in the world.
For exact pricing, visit the page of the location you want to volunteer in and then click the “cost” tab. As you’ll see, there’s always a US$295 reservation fee plus a program fee, which varies depending on where you go and for how long.
Every Volunteer Abroad project has specific date requirements. You can check these by going to the location where you want to volunteer, clicking the “project” tab and then opening each project’s description.
For example, if you go to the “teaching English” project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia you’ll see it starts every first and third Monday of the month and runs year-round. The minimum time commitment is two weeks, which means you must join for two weeks or more.
As for whether we have spots open or not during your exact dates, if your project is on our website then we probably do. However, our spots are in very high demand and, while a spot may be open today, it may not be tomorrow because somebody else applied first.
So, assuming you follow the date requirements of your project, we can only tell you if your dates are available once you submit your application.
We offer over 100 projects across Asia, Latin America, Africa and Europe. It’s up to you to decide what project best fits you based on your background, interests and skills.
Your first step is browsing the volunteer projects, it’s very easy. You can search by country or activity, for example caregiving, education, health, etc.
Then, you should browse our Volunteer Abroad news section, where we feature many past UBELONG Volunteers. Learn what they have to say about their UBELONG experience to help you determine where you want to volunteer abroad.
You should apply as soon as possible as we receive a very high number of applications for a limited number of spots.
Plus, we have a thorough preparation and training process before you head out, so you want to give yourself time for that.
However, even with all that said, you should only apply when you know the exact location, project, and dates of your placement, and when you’re 100% sure you’ll join if accepted. We put a lot of time into reviewing each application, so please don’t break our hearts by applying and then backing out 🙂
Most UBELONGers apply three to six months before their start date, although some apply even earlier and some with as little as a week before.
Again, the earlier you apply the better, but only apply when you’re 100% ready to commit.
The short answer is that we only waive our date requirements if you’re part of a group of four or more. If that’s the case for you, scroll to the bottom of this page, send us a message and we’ll let you know if we can waive our date requirements.
Now, here’s the long answer so you understand our thinking. Every Volunteer Abroad project has specific date requirements. You can check these by going to the location where you want to volunteer, clicking the “project” tab and then opening each project’s description. When you do this, you’ll see the following as it relates to dates:
- Minimum time commitment: This is the minimum number of weeks for which you must join the project. The requirement exists to ensure you’re able to make a real impact on the projects and that you’re able to settle in, fit in and get up the learning curve as quickly as possible. Every project is different. For example, the minimum time commitment for the “caring for children with disabilities” project in Rabat, Morocco is one week because you can walk into the project and from day one start making an impact by assisting the local staff with basic activities like feeding and cleaning. Additionally, you can right away start giving affection and love to the children, and that’s critical. However, it’s four weeks for the “cultural enterprise development” project in Cusco, Peru because the work is complex and there are many people and systems that you first need to understand before actually being able to settle in and make an impact.
- Project schedule: This specifies the day of the week the project starts and during what time of the year it runs. Most of our projects start every Monday and run throughout the year, but others may only start every other Monday and/or not run during certain times of the year, for example holidays like Christmas and Tet. Having a fixed start date helps us stay organized. For example, in Mexico the projects start every Monday, so our team knows Mondays are orientation and project visit dates and the rest of the week are for other tasks. Plus, it’s nice when all the newly arriving UBELONG Volunteers start at the same time. As for holidays, that’s of course something we can’t control and if the projects are closed then we can’t have you in the field with us.
UBELONG is a social organization with a commitment to make positive impacts in communities around the world. An important part of that is making sure UBELONG Volunteers are qualified for whatever project they’re looking to join.
Plus, if you find yourself in a project that you’re not qualified to be in, you won’t get up the learning curve and make an impact. Your experience will not be as good as it could be.
So, generally, we do not make exceptions and waive our requirements to participate. For example, the “medical assistance” project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia requires that you’re at least a first-year masters student in medical or nursing school. There’s no room for us to make an exception if you’re still an undergraduate.
With that said, we understand that sometimes there are grey areas because requirements are broad. If that’s the case, scroll down, send us a message and tell us about your specific situation.
An example would be the “assisting community development organizations” project in Hanoi, Vietnam. There, we require you have business, computer and/or some NGO-related experience. These are broad requirements, so if you’re not sure if your experience qualifies you then send us a message and we can talk it through with you.
Your first step is to visit the page of the location you want to volunteer in and then click the “project” tab. Then, click on a project title to see a full description going over typical duties, hours, etc. Go to our homepage to navigate to a particular location.
In terms of what specific organization we’ll assign you to work in, that’s based entirely on the need of the community and how we feel you will fit in. Generally, about two to three weeks before your start date we will assign you to one of the organizations we support. At that point you and your UBELONG Mentor will also have the opportunity to chat one-on-one on Skype/phone to talk further about your project, expectations, roles, etc.
Don’t worry, you will be in great hands and very busy!
Yes. The US$295 reservation fee and program fee are two separate fees.
The reservation fee, which is always US$295, is due immediately upon being accepted into one of our Volunteer Abroad programs.
The program fee, which varies depending on where you travel and for how long, is either:
- Due right away (together with the reservation fee of US$295) if your start date is less than 120 days away,
- If you’re more than 120 days away from your start date, then your program fee is not due until you get to 120 days from your start date.
All this is also laid out in our how to apply section.
Yes. While certain times of the year are busier than others, there are generally 5 to 20 UBELONG Volunteers in any location at any point in time.
You’ll be meeting plenty of other volunteers during your UBELONG experience. A great place to meet them beforehand is the UBELONG Facebook page. You should also browse our news section, where we feature many interviews with past UBELONG Volunteers.
- Review and sign a guardianship letter stating their understanding that you are applying to volunteer with UBELONG.
- Review and sign our Liability Waiver and Code of Conduct on your behalf.
If you are under 18, there are a couple scenarios where we can still have you volunteer with UBELONG:
Children between 5 and 17 who are accompanied by at least one parent (or legal guardian): We have a lot of success with families volunteering together on UBELONG projects.
Children between 5 and 17 years of age may join certain of our projects, as long as they are accompanied by at least one of their parents (or legal guardian) for the entirety of their volunteer placement with UBELONG. Children must volunteer on the same project as their parents and live in the same accommodations. We do not offer babysitting or daycare services, and, while we will do our best to accommodate all requests, we are generally not able to provide any special arrangements for children, for example cribs, diapers, formula, etc.
These are the projects open to families with children aged 5 to 17 years:
- Kindergarten teaching in Accra, Ghana
- Caring for children in need in Rabat, Morocco
- Care and teach for children from poor backgrounds in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
- Caring for disabled people in Merida, Mexico
- Caring for disadvantaged youth in Merida, Mexico
- Assisting at a day-care center in Quito, Ecuador
- Caring for orphans in Cusco, Peru
- Caring for disabled children in Cusco, Peru
- Assisting at an after-school center in Cusco, Peru
- Kindergarten teaching in Cusco, Peru
Also, to make it easier for families with children, we ask that, except in Mexico, they stay with local host families. In Mexico, where we do not have host families, families can stay at the Volunteer House.
All children under 18 pay the same fees as adults – there are no exceptions. They do not need to submit their own application. Only parents need to submit an application and then indicate in the “additional information” question in part six of the application that they would like their children to join.
Children between 14 and 17 who are not accompanied by at least one parent (or legal guardian) and who are in a self-organized group of four or more: In such cases, which oftentimes includes high school seniors who have just graduated but are not yet 18 years of age, we will dedicate a member of our team just to support your group. They will join you at the projects, and also lead discussions, reflections and team-building activities for you. We feel this is really important – in our opinion, volunteers who are 14 to 17 years old, and who are not accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, need extra guidance and mentorship through the volunteering experience. This is our way of stepping in and providing that extra support.
There is an extra cost associated with this extra support. It ranges from US$100 to US$400 more per person, depending on where you go, how many are in your group and the exact special requirements of your group.
If you are interested in this option, please scroll down and contact us and we’ll set up a conversation to chat through your volunteer trip with UBELONG.
Although most UBELONG Volunteers are under 35 years old, there’s no age limit to volunteer abroad with UBELONG. Our oldest volunteer to date was 81 years old!
We also have many mid-career professionals who join us, as well as retirees and families. As long as you are healthy, humble and ready to work hard, we’d love to have you apply to volunteer with UBELONG.
In terms of helpful resources for meeting past, current and future UBELONGers:
- Our volunteering abroad for people 50 years and older page.
- Our Facebook page, where many people post on the timeline to connect and ask questions.
- The UBELONG Volunteer Abroad news section, where we post many interviews with UBELONG alums.
Still have a question? Send us a message!
PO Box 14168
Charleston, South Carolina 29422 USA
We also have offices in Lisbon, Portugal and Cusco, Peru.
+1 202 250 3706 or +1 202 465 4683
Our office hours are 5AM to 7PM US Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Sunday. Give us a ring, we look forward to chatting!
At the heart of UBELONG’s success is our people. The expertise, passion and professionalism of our team sets us apart. It’s a big reason why so many trust UBELONG and join our volunteer trips. Send us a message, call us or keep in touch via social media. We look forward to meeting you!