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FAQs

EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW...AND MORE

CHOOSING A TRIP

Can people from outside of the UK or USA volunteer with PMGY?

Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now extending between the UK and US, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of volunteers from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries volunteers have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.

Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other travel organisations?

The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.

 

Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed hand-guides and interactive webinars. There, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time volunteering. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our volunteers really appreciate.

 

Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.

What is your best destination?

People join PMGY from around the world and are all looking for their own unique experience. It is therefore impossible to suggest an overall ‘best destination’ as we believe certain locations suit different people and their expectations.

 

All of our destinations across the globe offer an amazing, unique and productive experience for our participants. Having said this, we generally receive the best feedback from volunteers joining us in Bali, Ghana, India & Sri Lanka. Our local teams in these specific countries really go the ‘extra mile’ to provide the best possible experience. This feedback is frequently reflected in feedback from volunteers.

What kind of volunteer work will I be doing?

We offer a range of placements in areas such as education, childcare, wildlife conservation, disabled care and healthcare.

 

Each placement faces its own unique challenges. This means that your role will vary depending on the project you’ll be working on. For a clear idea of your volunteer role, please visit the information webpage of the program you’re interested in.

 

If you have any queries regarding our volunteer roles, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program. We have been to the projects and done them ourselves, so we can tell you exactly what to expect from your volunteer experience.

Can I talk to people who have volunteered before?

We have dedicated Facebook Groups set up for all our destinations, where you can connect with past, present and future PMGY participants. These groups can be found by searching on Facebook for ‘PMGY’ followed by the name of the destination. For example ‘PMGY Sri Lanka’, ‘PMGY India’, ‘PMGY Ghana’ etc.

 

In line with our Privacy Policy, we are unable to disclose the personal contact details of our previous participants.

Will I be there on my own or will there be other volunteers with me?

PMGY places over 3,000 volunteers around the world every year, making the social aspect of our programs extremely important to us.

 

Of course, there will be certain programs and countries that are more accessible and popular than others. There are also those programs and countries that are off the beaten track and lend themselves well to more independent travel.

 

For example, whilst some destinations will always be buzzing with lots of volunteers, there are other destinations that require a much larger level of independence. Each volunteer will often have a different preference. It is therefore important that you consider all these factors when applying. If you have any queries about the social aspect in any country, all you need to do is give us a call.

When is the best time of year to volunteer?

Volunteer feedback tends to suggest that joining us outside the European summer months is the best time to get the most out of the experience. This is particularly true when considering project involvement and cultural engagement.

 

The summer months tend to be our busiest times. This is especially true in our more popular locations, where we have peak numbers across the projects and with accommodation. Outside of these summer months, there is typically the greatest opportunity to become fully immersed in the project and within the local community.

Are there any age restrictions to be a volunteer with PMGY?

In order to join PMGY as a volunteer, you need to meet the minimum age requirement on your start date for your specific program of interest. Typically, this is 17 or 18. Generally, the average age range of volunteers on our programs is 17-25.

 

There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70-years old. Whilst we have found that our more mature participants get a lot from the experience, at times individuals have found it more challenging to integrate with a younger crowd. Furthermore, some participants have perhaps expected a higher level of accommodation, the structure within the local community, and general overall communication at the project setup. Consequently, whilst we welcome volunteers of all ages, we stress that all participants should remain open-minded and flexible. Additionally, participants must appreciate that the majority of our participants are across the 17-25 age range.

What are the requirements to volunteer with PMGY?

PMGY welcomes volunteers of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. The minimum age to join a PMGY program generally ranges from 17 to 18, and there is no upper age limit. Each specific age requirement can be found on the project page of interest.

 

Furthermore, all volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language. In most instances, you do not need to speak the local language. However, you will find that learning a few words in your days with us will go a long way.

 

All volunteers must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.

 

Volunteering overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, if you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas, then these must be declared to us during your online application. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.

What costs do I need to consider?

In addition to the Program and Registration Fees that are associated with our projects, the other costs you’ll need to cover include:

 

• Flights
• Travel Insurance
• Visa Cost
• Immunisation Costs
• Background Check
• Spending Money

 

The amount of extra spending money you should take with you as a volunteer with PMGY can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 75-150 USD per week a suitable amount.

Can I organise my own accommodation, food or transport and get a discount?

Some individuals ask whether they are able to arrange their own accommodation, meals or transportation. Whilst we can appreciate personal preference for this, we aim to provide a safe and secure experience in-country. Understandably, these factors can become difficult if individuals wish to alter the foundations of the program.

 

This means that in order to join PMGY you need to commit to the entire fee structure offered by the program. In the event where participants do not use an element of the program, we do not provide any discounts or refunds.

Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?

Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our host locations are safe. Firstly, volunteer safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our volunteer programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.

 

The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international volunteers. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist volunteers 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency telephone line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.

 

When you join a PMGY program, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and telephone support staff available 24 hours each day. Our advisers welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international volunteers to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.

 

When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the general volunteer program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.

 

Although we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible.

Where does my money go?

Your Registration Fee covers all the services provided by PMGY’s UK team. This includes staff administrative costs, regular program visits, full financial protection and our 24/7-support service. You’ll be surprised at how much effort we put into establishing our volunteer programs and making sure they run safely and smoothly.

 

Your Program Fee covers your stay in the host country. This includes food, accommodation, airport pickup, local transport and your in-country orientation. We have local teams in all our volunteer destinations. Each PMGY representative works around the clock to ensure that you’re safe, prepared for life in that country, and enjoying your time with PMGY. This support structure ensures that the safety net is in place and logistics are taken care of, allowing you to focus on your volunteer service and have an unforgettable experience.

How do I apply?

All applications should be made through your project page of interest on our website – planmygapyear.co.uk.

 

By navigating to your chosen program page, you will find a red ‘Apply Now’ button. Clicking on this will allow you to proceed to the Online Application pages for that specific project. The whole process takes around 15 minutes. Whilst this application process does not take long, the more we know about you, the better placed we are to meet and exceed your expectations.

 

If you are able to describe the type of experience you are looking for, we will be able to advise if we think there may be a program more suited to you. For example, if you want to be in a country that is always buzzing with lots of fellow volunteers, please do say. On the other hand, if you’re a more independent traveller who craves peace and quiet, somewhere completely off the beaten track, then it’s good for us to know that too.

When should I apply to be a volunteer with PMGY?

For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Therefore, it is particularly important that you apply in good time if you’re looking to travel between our peak period of June and August. This is because spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.

 

Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will not incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 60 days prior to your start date.

What duration would you recommend volunteering for?

Based on feedback from previous volunteers with PMGY, we believe that 4-6 weeks is the ideal amount of time to volunteer with us. Consequently, this means that you have enough time to integrate into the local community and really get involved in a project. For one thing, you will be able to make a positive impact on community development. Additionally, you will have a greater opportunity to explore during your weekends. Volunteers who join us for 2 weeks frequently tell us that this was long enough and wish they had stayed for longer!

 

For those looking to potentially join us for a longer period, we recommend checking out our Encounter Programs that offer a 2-4 week stay across 3-10 destinations.

Can I arrive earlier/later than my program start date?

For most of our programs abroad, we have two start dates per month. Whilst we do understand that people have time constraints and so forth, we strongly recommend that participants arrive on these set start dates.

 

We aim to provide a structured experience, and we feel participants are most comfortable when they arrive on the set start date to commence the program itinerary right away. Late arrivals can be problematic because participants will miss the initial orientation session. This is one of the most important parts of the whole program and attendance is compulsory.

 

If you need to arrive early/late (for whatever reason) please do contact us before applying to join us. A member of our team can advise if it is possible to arrive early, and the additional costs it may incur.

Can I volunteer abroad with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?

You’re more than welcome to travel and volunteer with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and volunteer for the same project. However, please note the majority of our volunteer accommodation is on a single-sex basis. Consequently, we cannot guarantee that you would be able to be placed in the same room.

 

Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.

Can I combine placements in one location?

In some of our destinations – such as Bali, Ghana, India and Sri Lanka – it may be possible to combine programs. This can allow you to contribute your time at multiple projects during your journey with us. However, we do insist participants make a minimum commitment of at least 2 weeks per project. This helps to provide a worthwhile experience for everyone involved.

 

If this is of interest, we recommend that you contact us in advance of an application. This will allow our team to discuss the possibility further with you.

How do I apply to join PMGY in multiple destinations?

Many people choose to join PMGY in multiple destinations. It is something we definitely encourage as it provides a great experience volunteering in different countries and cultures.

 

If you are looking to participate in multiple locations, then we encourage you just to apply to one in the first instance. During the Online Application process, you will notice a ‘Special Requirements’ box. Please enter in this field all the programs you would like to join and our International Team can make the necessary arrangements for you. This saves you needing to complete multiple application forms!

 

Alternatively, you might first wish to explore our Encounter Programs in the first instance. These programs offer a 2-4 week stay across 3-10 destinations, with total durations ranging from 6 to 40 weeks.

When do I pay for my volunteer program? Can I pay in instalments?

In order to apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your Registration Fee will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying. The remaining fee is then due no less than 60 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge.

 

Payments made in advance of the 60 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance, or book a flight with PMGY, then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 3% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur. Bank transfers can be accepted by UK participants only.

 

If you’re applying within 60 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.

Can I use a PMGY project as part of a university or college placement?

It is certainly possible to be a volunteer with PMGY as part of your university or college placement. However, PMGY is unable to guarantee that our programs will fulfil the requirements of your establishment. Therefore, participants are encouraged to speak to a member of the International Team to establish whether the required parameters can be met. This should be done in advance of applying to the program. When appropriate, school/college/university representatives are welcome to contact PMGY to discuss further the suitability of the program in meeting the participant’s requirements.

 

First of all, the PMGY International Team are able to complete paperwork after volunteers have confirmed their place on the program. Additionally, project staff on a PMGY project can also sign-off any paperwork that is required by your course tutors. However, while our team will do their best to complete any paperwork, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university/college. PMGY regularly receives medical, nursing, childcare and psychology placement students on our projects globally, with ties with some leading universities.

 

If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programs could meet the placement requirements for your course, please contact us directly to schedule a meeting.

BEFORE YOU DEPART

Do you offer an online TEFL course?

For PMGY volunteers teaching English abroad, the only real ‘qualifications’ you need are bags of energy, commitment and enthusiasm. However, if you’d like a chance to do some preparation work before you hit the classroom, we’ve got the perfect introductory online TEFL course for English language teaching abroad.

 

At only 60 hours and completed online, this course is obviously hugely convenient. The course can be done in your own time, at your own pace and you don’t even need to leave the house! You have got a whopping 75 days to complete the course, so there is no rush and you can fit it in when you can. Obviously, an hour here and there certainly adds up. Therefore there really is no pressure.

 

Once completed, you’ll not only have acquired key skills for teaching English abroad but also an internationally accredited certificate. If you find that teaching really is your calling, this course can be built upon with more modules in the future. There are 5 modules to this 60 hour course, covering aspects including ‘The Roles of the Teacher’ and ‘Lesson Planning’.

 

The cost of the course is 120 USD. If you’ve already signed up for one of our programs and would like to enrol on the online TEFL course then please contact us.

How do I register for your online webinars?

Every Tuesday at 4pm (London time), the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide our volunteers with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.

 

For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of volunteering abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.

 

For volunteers who have already confirmed their volunteering role on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.

 

• Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.

 

• Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.

 

• Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.

Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my volunteer work?

It is possible that as a volunteer with PMGY, you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your volunteer work. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your volunteer destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.

How do I arrange my flights to volunteer with PMGY?

When you apply to be a volunteer with PMGY, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once your place with PMGY has been confirmed, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.

 

After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. PMGY have an ATOL Licence to ensure any flights booked through us are financially secured by the Civil Aviation Authority. Therefore, you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.

Do you offer travel insurance?

Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our International Volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.

 

We have partnered up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.

 

Please note that PMGY Travel Insurance is purchased in week-long blocks. Therefore, you should carefully identify how many days you’ll be away, including the date you depart and return to your home country. Indeed, this will ensure that you select the correct duration of travel insurance. For example, if you’re travelling for 29 days in total, you’ll need a 5 week policy, not a 4 week policy.

How do I obtain a background check?

To become a volunteer with PMGY, you’ll need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check that must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the volunteers we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.

 

If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal after confirming your place on the program. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date.

 

If you don’t have a valid DBS check (also known as CRB or Police Check), then you will need to apply for one. UK volunteers need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 23 GBP and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a CRB check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, received once you have confirmed your place as a volunteer with PMGY.

 

For volunteers from the US, you can apply for a background check through US Criminal Checks. It costs 17.95 USD and is usually processed immediately. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or governmental body.

 

For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.

When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?

All volunteers will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.

 

This Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare as a volunteer with PMGY. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Skype, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!

Do I need a visa?

All volunteers will require a visa to enter any one of PMGY’s destinations. You may be granted this visa on arrival into the country. Alternatively, you may need to arrange this in your home country, prior to travelling. Please note that before applying to PMGY, you should contact the relevant embassy in your home country to ensure you’re legally entitled to enter your desired destination.

 

We will send you full information about obtaining a visa in your country-specific Volunteer Handbook. This document will be received once your place on the program has been confirmed. Please note that these are only guides, with instructions tailored towards UK participants. Whilst the information within our Handbooks is deemed accurate at the time of writing, this should be verified before any visa application.

 

Your visa fee is not included in your Program Fee, thus will need to be purchased at your own expense. Not all PMGY locations charge a fee to acquire a visa. We will send you full details of how to obtain a visa within your country-specific Volunteer Handbook.

How do I get the local currency in advance?

For many of our volunteer destinations, the currency is closed. This means that you are unable to purchase the local currency from a Post Office or travel agency in your home country. Currencies such as the Vietnamese Dong and Sri Lankan Rupee are close, meaning that they cannot be sold outside of the host country. In such instances, it is best to withdraw cash upon arrival into your chosen destination. You may also wish to take out some cash in your home currency as a backup. Furthermore, during your first couple of days in your PMGY destination, you will receive an orientation. Across this period, our local team will show you the local ATMs and money vendors. This means that you do not need to change up money immediately, upon arrival at the airport.

How much spending money will I need?

The amount of extra spending money you should take with you as a volunteer with PMGY can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 75-150 USD per week a suitable amount.

What is the dress code at the projects?

Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask that our volunteers adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. Our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival into your PMGY destination.

 

The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like manner, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our volunteers, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. There, our Volunteer Handbooks outline preferred dress-codes in detail.

 

Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.

What should I pack?

A packing list is included within your Volunteer Handbook. This will be sent to you once your application has been confirmed.

 

The majority of our placements are located in or around major cities, so you’ll be able to pick up most things you’ll need whilst you’re out there. It is also advised that you arrive with some space in your suitcase, as you’re highly likely to pick up a few souvenirs along the way!

Can I travel before/after my volunteer placement?

You’re welcome to travel before and/or after your volunteer placement. If you’re travelling before joining PMGY, then we ask you to keep us posted with your travel plans so we can organise your collection accordingly.

 

If you plan to travel after your program, our local team can assist you with planning and/or organising any in-country travel you wish to undertake.

Can I fundraise for my volunteer trip?

With PMGY, the money our volunteers pay goes towards the structure you receive on the volunteer program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.

 

We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY volunteers decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that volunteers set up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.

 

PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for volunteers to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.

Can I raise money for the projects?

The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415). This charity has been created to help provide financial aid and assistance to projects we work with on an ongoing basis. Importantly, the objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty for people living in the communities we support. This is achieved by providing or assisting the provision of education, training, healthcare and general living support. Therefore together, we hope that the support offered by the PMGY Foundation helps to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient. Consequently, donations made to the PMGY Foundation will be directed to the projects most in need. This is determined by the trustees of the charity during our International Team overseas visits.

 

If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation, you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. 100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. However, please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas. For volunteers looking for further information on how to raise money for their trip abroad, please visit our fundraising page.

ON YOUR TRIP

Will I be met at the airport?

For all of our worldwide programs, you’ll be met at the airport by one of PMGY’s local representatives. The program page for your specific project of interest will provide you with the exact information about the collection service included in your Program Fee.

What is the best way to keep in touch with home whilst I am away?

There are numerous ways you can keep in touch with home whilst you’re away. Virtually all accommodation types, apart from in our most rural locations, will have telephone access for local networks. For this reason, we advise that you bring an unlocked mobile phone and buy a local SIM card in order to connect to this. Some of our accommodation set-ups will offer Wi-Fi – this is outlined under the ‘Accommodation & Meals’ section of each project page. In any case, please note that any Wi-Fi access is likely to be intermittent. If Wi-Fi is not available at your accommodation, our team will be able to direct you to an Internet cafe in town.

 

Our local coordinators and UK team are also contactable 24/7. We will provide you with contact details of our UK and in-country emergency numbers, for you or your parents to call in such an instance. If you have difficulty contacting home, or perhaps your parents have difficulty contacting you, we are always available to pass on any messages on your behalf.

 

And if you fancy contacting home the old fashioned way, you can always write a letter or postcard! However, please remember that postal services in the developing world are often very slow, so please allow plenty of time for your letter/postcard to reach home!

What if I get sick?

In the event you are sick or get injured, it is extremely important to let our local team know this as soon as possible. They will be able to help arrange any necessary time off the project and assist you in accessing any medical treatment you may require.

 

In case of a serious incident, we recommend you try and inform your designated PMGY Program Manager as soon as possible. Please note that our International Offices are closed over the weekend, however, in emergency cases, we can be contacted by our emergency number.

 

Our main point of contact will help you in any way you need to ensure you are as comfortable as possible. It is sometimes difficult for our local team to know everyone’s individual concerns and issues, so it is important that you let them know if you require assistance in any way. You are always welcome to contact our International Team for any issues and we can help to liaise with the local team directly.

 

Although our local teams will assist you in receiving medical attention or treatment, they are unable to pay for any medical fees. You must ensure you possess the appropriate travel insurance to cover relevant medical expenses.

 

Due to language barriers or cultural issues, you may find that project staff, drivers, maintenance staff etc perhaps do not understand or take the issue as seriously as you may expect them to. Therefore, if you do not feel like you are receiving the response you require from these staff members, we recommend reaching out to your Program Manager immediately.

 

Our International Team liaises daily with our local teams. This means that in the event of an incident, we can contact your family and friends to ensure everyone is fully aware of your situation. We can also relay any messages between you and your family if you’re unable to contact each other directly. This service is available 24/7, 365 days of the year.

Can I make donations to the project?

It is absolutely fine for you to make a donation to the project you’ll be working at. In many cases, you’ll find that you can pick up most things you may wish to donate within the host country itself. Therefore, we recommend that you buy any goods whilst you’re in-country, rather than purchasing in your own country. This not only provides much-needed stimulation to the local economy (and frees up space in your luggage!), but it also gives you the chance to see with your own eyes exactly what the placement needs and what you can give.

 

We highly discourage participants to donate cash payments directly to their project. Ultimately we can never guarantee where these funds would end up.

 

If you have any questions, please contact our team to discuss the options available to you.

Can I arrange a private room?

Almost all of our accommodation options across our programs involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unless it is mentioned explicitly on your program page of interest, unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for our volunteers.

Can you cater for my dietary requirements?

Our teams will do their best to cater for any dietary requirements. However, this cannot be guaranteed as a volunteer with PMGY. Consequently, there may be instances where you need to purchase alternative ingredients at your own expense. Any dietary requirements should be noted within your application and re-iterated to the local team on arrival into the country. Importantly, any concerns for major requirements should be raised with the PMGY International Team before confirming your place on the program.

Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?

We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore In such instances, we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide volunteers with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. In addition to this, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.

Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?

You’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time! Most of our programs have been designed so that you have weekends off. Therefore, this gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the weekend opportunities and travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures. During your time as a volunteer with PMGY, you are sure to make some travel buddies along the way!

 

Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities across dates on either side of your volunteering placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to volunteer in. However, if you plan to travel extensively, please factor this into your flight itinerary. This is since we only encourage travel during weekends while you’re volunteering, as you have made a commitment as a volunteer with PMGY.