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Paying to volunteer

 
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dustinm90



Joined: 20 Jun 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:12 pm    Post subject: Paying to volunteer Reply with quote

Hi there,

Read quite a few threads here but none quite touch my issue.

My ambition is to eventually secure work with an NGO...but of course I need some international experience first, and I love the concept of teaching as a way to build up the skills of locals.

Are the "pay to volunteer" organizations (such as WorldTeach I saw mentioned in another thread) worthwhile when it comes to teaching in a semi-professional/stipend or paying job later?

Looking to learn Arabic and/or French which is why I'm focusing on Africa (even though I'm aware the Maghrebi Arabic will be useless outside of that continent.)

(Full disclosure: No degree yet; starting in September, going for Human Services/Social Work, hoping to earn a Masters in International Development.)
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mzuri



Joined: 30 May 2011
Posts: 63
Location: Louisiana

PostPosted: Wed Jun 22, 2011 9:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You would be welcomed with enthusiastically open arms as an English teacher at English Alive Academy in Nazret, Ethiopia.

Teaching opportunities include nursery through grade 4 and teaching English to the Ethiopian teachers.

For men, you can stay at a local (and economical) hotel within walking distance to school but eat delicious meals at the co-founder's mother's house for a very low weekly fee.

For women, you can have your own room at the mother's house (no charge) plus the meals (for the low weekly fee). (The weekly fee is approx. $21 per week for all meals.)

Nazret is about two hours from Addis.

For more info, go to www.englishaliveacademy.org.

You don't get paid, so you'd be responsible for your own living expenses (taking into account the above notes).

Within reason, you'd set your own schedule. No weekend work.

The teachers and staff - friendly, welcoming, gracious.

Volunteer for a couple of weeks or indefinitely.
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steady



Joined: 10 May 2005
Posts: 72
Location: Morocco

PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 1:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Projects Abroad have an office in Rabat: http://www.projects-abroad.org
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mzuri



Joined: 30 May 2011
Posts: 63
Location: Louisiana

PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 2:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Projects Abroad have an office in Rabat: http://www.projects-abroad.org


I see they charge "volunteers" a fee of about $3000 USD for the privilege of volunteering at the Ethiopian schools for one month. This does not include airfare. Plus an additional $2500 for one month language class. Remarkable.

I wonder what the Ethiopian teachers and staff earn at this school. Maybe 1% of this amount?
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dustinm90



Joined: 20 Jun 2011
Posts: 10
Location: Ontario, Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jun 23, 2011 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

steady wrote:
Projects Abroad have an office in Rabat: http://www.projects-abroad.org


Funny you should mention them, they were the first place I'd looked at (they have a local office here in Toronto.) They charge about $4,100 for 12 weeks of teaching.

Is this really worth it? The alternatives for my summer(s) are to pay for work in my field overseas and leave TEFL experience until I've earned my degree, or to work locally in my field. Not nearly as big a resume booster but excellent for the wallet.
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sounion



Joined: 28 Aug 2011
Posts: 30
Location: Bhutan

PostPosted: Wed Aug 31, 2011 3:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Volunteering abroad, will it help in the future? Well, it really depends on the program and what you are actually doing there.

I chose to pay to go abroad right out of college for a few reasons: I had written a huge research project on Uganda and felt the need to go there, I was interested in teaching but had zero exposure except 2 college education courses (so to see if teaching was for me), and to immerse myself/challenge myself in a different culture.

One thing I noticed while doing the initial search was the plethora of crap programs out there. Really do your research, talk to past volunteers, google reviews, etc. Look at their requirements. Do they have an extensive application? Do they require an interview? What will they have you do exactly? A large, sad majority of other foreigners 'volunteering' in Uganda were teaching Rugbee and physical education on days that they weren't too hungover to make it to school or too busy offending cultural values by dressing like sluts. Will you be doing just one thing or will you have different components to your work? For example, while I was teaching sexual reproductive health in schools, I also had to search out locally operated NGO's to bring into the community, create a youth resource center, hold community seminars, etc. So flesh out the program in all avenues.

Also, what role do locals play in the program? Are they included in the work? Are they working with you or being trained by you to continue the work after you've left?

Pay...can you afford the program? If not, is it going to be something that you can fundraise for? Will people actually want to donate to what you will be doing when you're there? Are they asking crazy prices? I think you mentioned 12 weeks for $4,100 or something. That's just under what I paid for 8 months. Also, what does the money go to? Does it go into someone's pockets or into the communities or into donations toward development, etc, etc.

Additionally, is it something that will actually be relevant to future goals you have set for yourself? Uganda benefitted me as now I have an international teaching career. But if I went into sales or something, this experience might hold less relevance on a CV.

And finally, (phew, sorry for the long winded response) do your motivations for the specific program go beyond, 'this will look good on a CV.' Cause if you're heart isn't in it, it won't be a very easy experience.

Many of these questions you can/should ask the group directly before paying.

The program I went through was called Student Partnership Worldwide but has since rebranded to Restless Development. They have programs in 11 different countries in Africa (at least they did when I worked with them) and are worth checking out (google them since I don't have the URL, sorry!).

Hope this helps and feel free to pm if any questions. Smile
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