Monday, September 6, 2010
Volunteer abroad training and orientation
Training and orientation programs are meant to give you an idea of the work you will be doing and what you will expect to get. Volunteer abroad training and orientation programs are unique in that they prepare you for the life you expect in the country you are going to. The programs give you a glimpse of the language, culture and living conditions that are there in the host country. Many organizations that offer volunteer abroad work programs offer training and orientation as part of their package. With some organizations they offer pre- departure training and orientation in the home and country as well as the host country. The orientation equips you with skills and tools that will help you adjust better to the new environment. Most of the training material is usually gotten from life experiences and some are from professional experiences. The training programs are general guidelines on behavior and conduct in the host country. With some organizations training and orientation takes place in two phases, i.e. pre departure and post departure. Pre departure is done while you are at home, while post departure training is done in the host country. These are usually done a few weeks before you leave and the first week of arrival. The training and orientation is usually general for most countries, here are some of the training you should expect:
Pre departure training
You can do this by yourself by research or go to your volunteer travel organization office and have them help with your training. The people at the office are normally past volunteers and will give you first hand information on how their experience was and what to expect. They normally have manuals available for you, to teach you the basics about the country and the expectations from there. They will teach you basic language skills, dress code and the currency that you will be using. During this training they will help you prepare for your volunteer travel abroad. They will tell you the details on how to apply and get a visa, help coordinate when to book your flights, give you suggestions on the best places to get travel insurance. They will give you advice on how to get a passport, and your letter of acceptance letter. They will also recommend the proper vaccination and medication you should take before your volunteer travel abroad. In some organization they will put you in touch with the person who will be taking care of you in the local country. They will give you the address and destination on the place on where you are going.
When you arrive, you will be picked up by a member of the travel organization in which you are using. The first few days are normally used for training and orientation. They will wait for you at the airport and take you to where you will be staying. They will also take you to the local forex bureau and help you exchange the money you have. Also they will tell you the value of things like how much it costs to use public transport from one point to another or how much it costs to eat in restaurants. They will take you to where you will be staying during your volunteer stay whether it’s a homestay, hostel, group home and a hotel. During this training you will also be taught the basics of the local culture, customs and current affairs.
Health and safety training
You will be given tips and advice on how to carry yourself in the host country. You will be told how to carry yourself to avoid being exposed to risk. They give you general tips that you should follow to make your stay more comfortable. The health and safety training will be done on the place there you will be working. You will be given advice on how to handle yourself at the volunteer program. You will also be given a tour to where to access the local pharmacies and the nearest hospitals or clinics.
At the home stay you will be given the general guidelines on conduct and behavior that is expected. The will tell you the meals you should expect whether there will be 3 meals or two meals. They will tell you what to expect in your future diet. Whether they eat meat often or they prefer to eat vegetables. You will be told when you are meant to back at night.
Language training is done during the first week. Most countries either speak English, Spanish or French and when you go to third world countries they speak other languages. They speak English and their local language; during your training you will be taught the local languages. For example in Kenya you will be taught how to say Hello in Kiswahili which is ‘Jambo’. You will be taught how to get simple words on how to get by. If you go to a country where you don’t speak the language, during the first months you will be given intensive language training. In some cases you will be given a translator to help you better communicate with the locals.