Frequently Asked Questions
What sets World Youth International Apart?
- We are small, independent, grassroots, not for profit and non religious.
- We are uniquely Adelaide based.
- We have a track record of professionalism and effectiveness that comes from 30 years experience.
- We've had a huge impact over the years with minimal resources and no government funding.
- We invest in professionally Australian-trained Team Leaders to facilitate our group projects.
- We operate in a smaller number of countries which enables us to build close relationships with communities.
- We partner with local organisations in-country because they have the local-level knowledge and solutions to their communities' own unique development challenges.
- You can claim your CPD training hours on our Nurses in Action program, making your program fees and flights fully tax deductible
- We have a team of trusted and local 'In-Country Coordinators' who ensure our volunteers' safety and wellbeing, but also take on a community development facilitator role which ensures our projects genuinely address community needs.
- We believe in a 'hand up' vs. a 'hand out' approach to development that focuses on leveraging local-level knowledge and assets and developing local-level capacity.
- A key strength of our Overseas Action Programs (group projects for 18-30 year olds) is that they are open to people from a range of different backgrounds and do not require specific skills or qualifications to participate.
- When fundraising for your program, our Deductable Gift Recipient (DGR) status enables your sponsors to receive full ATO tax deductibility for their contributions
- Unlike many other volunteering organisations, we provide ongoing support for returned volunteers through our annual 'Personal Empowerment Program' (PEP) and the 'Step Out Australia' network.
- Above all, we are proud of our history and the inspirational story of our founder, Robert Hoey.
Volunteering overseas - what's in it for me?
- The rare opportunity to live and work alongside local people, on projects requested by them.
- Surround yourself with like-minded humanitarians and form friendships that will last a lifetime.
- Learn about another culture by being immersed in it.
- Utilise and further develop your nursing/allied health skills to assist those less fortunate
- Learn and observe how healthcare systems work in developing countries
- The rare opportunity to live with host families and experience the culture in a way a tourist is unable to.
- Fulfill a lifelong dream of travelling to unique and remote destinations in a safe and meaningful way.
- Embrace a life changing experience that will further your personal and professional development.
- Gain valuable career development experience through volunteering in a challenging context and completing an individual or team project.
- Gain first-hand insight into the field of international development.
- Opportunities to enhance your leadership skills through the WYI Step Out network; the possibility of becoming a Team Leader or Assistant on our NIA Programs and also at our annual Personal Empowerment Program.
- Confidence that you are supporting the humanitarian objectives of the Australian Aid program particularly in the areas of Health, Education, Food Security and Livelihoods.
- A coveted place in WYI's annual Personal Empowerment Program (PEP).
- Membership to the WYI Step Out network, which has been created for returned volunteers to continue to make a meaningful contribution to their local communities and connect with like-minded people.
Are you a religious organisation?
WYI is proud of its status as one of only a handful of non-religious organisations operating in Australia.
What countries can I volunteer in with World Youth International?
World Youth International programs run in Kenya and Nepal
Why do you offer only a limited amount of countries to volunteer in?
In comparison to similar organisations, World Youth International offers fewer destination choices. We believe in quality rather than quantity, and are committed to ensuring that the destinations we offer provide our volunteers with the greatest possible volunteer experience. We have been working in Nepal and Kenya since 1992 and have established a large network of strategic local and international partners in these locations. This allows us to offer a greater variety of in-country placements for our volunteers and means that we can focus more effort on making them successful for you.
How old do I need to be to volunteer?
All programs run by World Youth International require volunteers to be 18 years of age prior to the commencement date of their program.
Our Overseas Action Program is offered to young adults aged 18-30.
Our Nurses in Action program is for health professionals with the appropriate qualifications. There is no upper age limit.
Do I need any qualifications?
No formal qualifications are required to volunteer with World Youth International on an Overseas Action Program.
All NIA participants must have formal qualifications in the following areas:
I have professional qualifications, what can you offer me?
Please contact us to see if a placement can be arranged in your specialised field.
Those with nursing and allied health backgrounds may be interested in the Nurses In Action program.
What are the selection criteria?
WYI have only a few pre-requisites for volunteers wanting to do a program. Upon receipt of your application, WYI will process your application and contact you within 72 hours to set up a time for a phone conversation. The intention of the call will be to establish a relationship, assess suitability, provide information on the program and address any of your immediate questions. We would expect this call to take no longer than 40 minutes. WYI are looking to recruit volunteers who have the ability to work within a team environment. Participants must be flexible, adaptable, have a good state of health and have great communication skills. Applicants will be notified of their suitability at the conclusion of their phone call. If your application is unsuccessful, WYI will refund your application fee.
Do I need to speak the local language?
No. Introductory language lessons are built into the orientation period of each program - however, where possible, additional training at a local institution prior to your departure is highly recommended. The more you can communicate with local people in-country, the more enriching your experience will be!
How much time should I allow before applying?
On average, we recommend a minimum of 6 months when applying to avoid disappointment. If all program positions have been filled, you will have the option to be placed on a waiting list in case a spot becomes available or you can choose another program all together.
How far in advance can I apply?
We accept applications up to 2 years in advance. Often dates won't be advertised that far in advance but dates will reflect the dates from the year prior. The 2 main advantages of applying in advance is that you will receive the current advertised prices (as they are revised and often increased annually) and it allows you to pay off your program fee in much smaller increments.
What is the minimum time you can process my application?
Generally 2 months is the minimum time frame but we have processed applications in just 6 weeks. It will take an enormous commitment from your side and you will be required to pay your program fee in full upfront after you have been interviewed and accepted.
Can I apply for a program if I am not in Australia?
Applications from outside of Australia are welcome. All fees quoted are in Australian Dollars.
How many other volunteers will be in my team?
The Overseas Action Program and Nurses in Action program require a minimum of five participants to run a program. A maximum of 12 participants will be accepted on each program.
How does WYI select its OAP projects & what kind of projects will I be working on?
All projects selected by WYI are community driven, sustainable development projects. Applications from within the community are submitted to WYI for review and appraisal. If proposals are in alignment with our development model, we will proceed with the project. For a project to be considered, they must be in the fields of income generation, environmental, education or health care. Project reviews are completed over the following year to ensure the ongoing success of the project.
What kind of placements will I be working on during my NIA program?
As a volunteer on the Kenya NIA, you will support hospital activities in Odede within your specialised field. Your NIA group will also be involved in at least two medical camps during your program where you will treat between 300-500 people in one day. You will also assist in HIV support, women's groups and more.
You will work at a local government hospital in a department of your choosing and learn how the healthcare system works. Outside of the hospital, you will also have the opportunity to participate in a range of placements - these may include children's homes, monastery schools and women's crisis centres.
Can I stay on after my program?
You are welcome to stay on after your program completes and continue travelling through the country. If you would like to return to your village and project, you will need to gain approval from Word Youth International Australia before returning which is generally no problem.
Do I need to pay to go on this program?
World Youth International is a not-for-profit, non-government organisation and charges fees to participate on our programs. If you have specialized skills or qualifications and do not wish to pay for an overseas program, we would recommend that you visit the Government funded organisation, Australian Volunteers International (AVI). World Youth International does not require formal qualifications to participate on our programs unlike AVI which are looking for specific qualifications and skill bases. Volunteering with us allows you to have a comprehensive overseas experience allowing you to experience all aspects of volunteering. It is an opportunity to experience the world of volunteering in a supportive, structured manner.
Does the program fee include my flights and travel insurance?
Program fees cover your in-country expenses and do not cover your airfares or travel insurance; this is an additional expense that you will need to budget for.
What does my program fee cover?
The program fee for both our Overseas Action Program and Nurses in Action program is all inclusive.
How do I pay off my program fee?
Once you have been interviewed and accepted for your program, you will be given 2 weeks to pay your deposit of $550 which comes off your total program fee. You will then be invoiced equal monthly instalments with your final payment due no less than 3 months prior to departure.
What is your cancellation policy?
Intent of cancellation of your program is to be made in writing to WYI. From the time of making your deposit payment and up until 60 days prior to the commencement of the program, your initial deposit of $550 is non-refundable. Cancellation within 60 days prior to the commencement of the program incurs an additional fee, making a total of $1000 non-refundable. Once you have commenced your program, no refunds are available if you decide to cancel.
If you can no longer participate on your nominated date of travel we will allow you to change your program date up to 3 times within an 18 month period. If this change occurs prior to your 60 program commencement date, no fee will be charged by WYI. If a date change is requested by you within the 60 day period, then you will be required to pay a late change fee of $500 which will be added to your total program fee.
Requests for a program date change must be made in writing and must clearly outline the reasons for the request. Your monthly instalment payments will be adjusted to reflect the new dates and must continue to be paid in order to demonstrate your commitment to taking part on a WYI program. Failure to continue payments will first result in late fees being applied and then the possibility of the above cancellation policy taking effect.
Do you have a preferred travel agent?
WYI recommends STA Travel as our preferred Travel Agent. STA can offer a range of competitive fares including student fares that will take the worry out of planning your overseas adventure. World Youth International has briefed STA extensively on our preferred travel routes which will ultimately save you money.
There are 3 key reasons why we ask you to book with STA. Firstly, they are aware of our needs and can offer you competitive rates. Secondly, they can access databases and place you on the same flights as members from your group. Lastly, if you become ill or need to change your flights and require our assistance, we would be much happier dealing with an agent we know. This means quicker results with far less stress!
Can I travel with my partner?
All group programs - Where possible, we strongly recommend that you DO NOT travel with your partner on these programs. The reasons for this advice is varied and we would suggest that you contact our office direct to learn more about the challenges that volunteers in a relationship face on this program. If we have discussed the challenges at length with you and our decision is to allow you both to join our group programs (which does occur), there are strict policies around how you will be managed. For example, couples are not permitted to share the same room during their program or show public affection in the communities. It is often frowned upon by local communities when they discover that volunteers are in relationship, but not actually married.
Can I travel with friends?
Absolutely! You may travel with friends on any of our programs. We will ensure that you are placed in the same village and in the same accommodation. Having friends to travel with creates a great supportive environment.
Can I travel with my children/family?
Over the years, we have created programs for many families who have travelled, worked and lived together for 1 to 6 months. Their experiences have been life changing and have created amazing family bonds. Children must be 10 years of age or older to travel on our programs due to health, hygiene and safety concerns in developing countries. Special family rates are offered so be sure to ask one of our staff about our packages.
Can I have someone visit me during my program?
Regretfully, visitors are not permitted to visit you during your program. This is a strict policy enforced by World Youth International. Friends and family may arrange to meet with you at the end of your program and you can travel back to the communities you lived in as a visitor.
What do you offer me after my program completes?
Travelling overseas is often half the journey. The challenge of returning home is often tougher than the challenge of being in the country. Reverse culture shock can take effect and challenge your day to day activities. We understand the importance of providing support upon return and have included a comprehensive program for our volunteers.
Your program fee covers an all inclusive 4 day live in training held annually in Adelaide. The Personal Empowerment Program brings together like minded inspiring people from all over Australia to experience an exceptional self development leadership program. It focuses on debriefing your overseas experience, looking at your leadership style and how to best utilize it in today's society and ways to support local community initiatives.
In each capital city, World Youth International hosts a Step Out' team. These teams are filled with like minded people who have experienced our overseas programs and want to continue contributing to communities both overseas and locally. Teams meet regularly and engage in a range of activities (predominantly social) and enjoy being around like minded people.
Volunteers often remain in contact through our social network pages and attending our fundraising events. There is always something you can become involved with upon returning from your overseas adventure.
I am under 18, what can you offer me?Unfortunately we do not offer programs for minors.
If you are under 18 and interested in going on one of our programs, you can still apply and begin the application and preparation process.
It is not uncommon for 16/17-year old students to enrol in a program 12-18 months in advance. However volunteers must be 18 years of age upon the commencement date of their program. It is not permitted for volunteers to be 17 at the start date of the program.
Do I leave Australia with my team or do I meet them there?
Volunteers are required to arrange their own flights to their program destination (in line the arrival requirements of each program) and to notify the program coordinator of their flight details no less than sixty days prior to the commencement date of their program.
A WYI representative will meet you at the airport upon arrival and look after you from that point on.
The WYI travel agent has access to the database and can consequently connect you on the same flights as your peers. The contact details of the WYI travel agent will be provided to you shortly after your initial application.
I really want to travel but I'm currently suffering from an anxiety disorder, can I travel?
Each situation is considered on a case-by-case scenario. In most cases, volunteers with an anxiety disorder are permitted to travel providing a medical clearance is given by their regular GP.
We are committed to supporting you to the best of our ability but need to ensure that you are aware of and prepared for the challenges you are likely to encounter on your program. Extra time will be spent with you during the interview process and in the lead up to your departure to facilitate this.
I have a criminal record, can I still travel?
All volunteers are required to undertake a screening process which will provide them with a national police clearance. This will provide World Youth International with an overview of a volunteer's criminal history in the 10 years prior. Any criminal records will be carefully scrutinized and evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Prior to your application, you will be asked if you have a criminal record. Police clearances must be submitted to WYI no later than 2 months prior to departure. Volunteers may be refused a placement if there are serious matters of concern relating to theft, burglary, drugs, violence or child related matters that have not been disclosed.
Potential applicants who are unsure about their suitability should contact the WYI Office for clarification prior to applying for their program.
I would like to be a Team Leader for one of your group programs, what is the process?
Many volunteers return from their programs with a thirst to continue travelling and volunteering. If this is you, get in touch with our office and discuss your interests and upcoming programs.
Team Leader and Assistant Team Leader roles for our programs are recruited for regularly and are advertised on our website and Facebook page.
All applicants are required to submit a written application. Those shortlisted will be asked to attend an interview. Applicants from all over Australia will be considered.
Successful applicants will be required to undergo a 3-month training program will take place via Skype.