Volunteering employment Caribbean

1. You offer a variety of opportunities in many beautiful locations. Can you please tell more about some locations that may need more assistance than others, and ones that a student could apply for.

I would say the location defines the volunteer experience - (where to go?) is the most important question to ask first.

We are really in need of volunteers in Statia, Caribbean - more info: http://www.workingabroad.com/page/28/statia-project-caribbean.htm

St. Eustatius, better known as Statia, is located in the Netherlands Antilles islands of the Caribbean, and is only 8 km long and 3 km wide. It is a tranquil and beautiful island which gives a visitor the feeling of stepping back in the Caribbean of decades past – islanders enjoy striking up conversations, stray goats and chickens wander around the streets and the pace is calm and slow.

Visitors don’t go to Statia for its beaches, but rather for its amazing diving and snorkeling opportunities as well as for its hiking trails in the National Parks, and for visiting its old Dutch colonial buildings and forts. Statia has a population of approximately 3200 people, most are of mixed African and European descent. Dutch is the official language, but English is predominantly spoken.

Self funded volunteers can bring great help to national parks and nature reserves especially in creating new projects within the parks and also help with their research.

2. Do you believe that it is possible to have a lifetime career as a volunteer and working with NGOs?

To be a volunteer means you are essentially self financed, even if an organisation pays for your flight, food and board, it will not be enough to cover all your expenses. We all need to get a new pair of glasses, shoes and so on. I would say volunteering is a temporary commitment.

3. I noticed your site mentioned that there are some paid opportunities available. Could you please elaborate on these and any specific requirements that may go along with them?

Paid opportunities for students will be mainly manual work. Once you have qualifications and suitable experience then one can approach NGO's for paid work.

4. I saw that you are willing to make arrangements for couples who want to volunteer. Could you please provide more information about this?

Yes we are happy to accept couples in our programmes! But also we can provide documents and reports on programmes that would be open to couples.

5. What skills do you believe a student can learn from the volunteering abroad process that they may not be able to get from volunteering domestically?

Good question! The difference being that you will be forced to step out of your comfort zone, both culturally and physically. Going abroad is great as you quickly break down clichés and preconceived ideas of other people and countries.

6. What skills may a young person acquire from volunteering that might be beneficial later in their career?

If one is interested in a career in the developmental field or working internationally then knowing languages learn language is a paramount skill and volunteering can help with that. Others include organisational skills and learning how programmes are run. Personal development skills are more difficult to pin point as they personal, but a 6 month placement in Indonesia for example would change someone's perception of life.

7. Do you provide any sort of training to prepare volunteers for the areas in which they will be dispatched to, such as language training?

We provide documents and pre-packages, but no formal training sessions they happen when volunteers arrive at their destinations.

9. If a person who is mid-career consults you and says that they would like to volunteer, what are your recommendations? What do you say to him/her?

Short term or long term? Change of career? What your interests? If the person wants to go and change career, then I would say: join a volunteer programme, learn about the problems in the country, learn their local language (Arabic, Hindi, Spanish, Malaysian etc) and you have found yourself in a strong position for a career change, but it is not easy to do that!

10. You have a lot of areas where a volunteer can go to perform work. Which one do you consider to be most challenging and why?

You cannot generalise - apart from conflict, I would not suggest working in such places unless you are very well aware of what you are getting yourself into.

Visit Working Abroad for more information on volunteering opportunities