Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Being part of a volunteering project means being part of a team for several months. There's a lot involved beforehand, the trip itself, and a little bit afterwards. We reckon that you'll need to devote an average of four hours a week from the time you're accepted to the time you depart, but bear in mind that it won't be spread out evenly. While you're away, the days can be really long, but they're rewarding. If you can help us out when you get back, you'll make our day.
Here's an example to give you an idea of what to expect.
- October – January: Project open for recruitment, applications live.
- January: Successful volunteers will be invited to the selection day.
- February: Complete all paperwork and pay deposit at compulsory volunteer briefing.
- February – May: Compulsory team meetings roughly every month; fundraising; team socials; preparing for specific projects, like readying teaching materials; organising jabs; getting insurance; and pre-departure shopping. Don't worry – we'll remind you about all of this.
- June – August: Depending on your project, you'll volunteer abroad.
- After the project: Help with evaluation, attend a volunteer reunion, and assist at various volunteering events – such as talking to other potential volunteers and supporting next year's team briefings.
Who can apply?
Current Nottingham Trent University students can apply. The Volunteering team works within NTU's Schools, Colleges and Community Outreach (SCCO) department, which raises the awareness of higher education amongst local young people and encourages their aspirations to attend. Much emphasis is placed on enabling students from disadvantaged backgrounds to achieve their goals, regardless of where they've come from. There'll be some financial assistance available to support students in taking up these opportunities, and we'd therefore encourage you to apply.
Can I apply for more than one project at a time?
Yes. You'll be asked on your application form whether you are applying for any other projects. You'll need to apply for each trip separately, and complete the relevant forms. Please remember that different skills and experience will be required for each volunteering opportunity, so you'll need to tailor your application to the opportunity you're applying for.
How many trips can I go on during my time at NTU?
In theory you can join several projects during your time at NTU, but there are a few things to bear in mind. During the selection process priority may be given to students who aren't in their final year of study.
How do I apply?
When we're ready to recruit, we'll put application forms and guidance notes on the Nottingham Trent Volunteering website and on FutureHub. We'll also notify everyone on our mailing list, and put adverts out at Freshers Fair, at our Volunteer Fair, and around the University. Once the deadline for application forms has passed, we'll make a shortlist of volunteers to go on to the next stage. Applicants will be invited to a selection day where prospective volunteers are given group tasks and activities to complete. We'll let volunteers know a few days later whether they've been successful or not.
What if my application isn't successful?
If you submit an application form and aren't shortlisted, we'll let you know by email. If you're turned down at interview or selection-day stage, we'll keep you on a back-up list in case anyone drops out.
How much will it cost?
The price for each project is different. Usually we add up the cost of flights, transfers and accommodation, and sometimes food and local transport. You'll find a list of what is and isn't included in the additional information about each project. These are the project costs.
The following things are definitely not included:
- spending money
- the cost of any vaccinations that may be required
- the cost of any independent travel
Sometimes it works out better if volunteers pay for their own food or local transport, but we'll always let you know well in advance what is included in your project.
How do I pay?
The cost will be split into an initial deposit, and then three or four subsequent payments. Details will differ slightly from project to project, but you'll find everything you need to know in the volunteer handbook that you'll receive once you've been recruited.
Can I fundraise to help pay for my trip?
Yes, of course you can. We just ask you to make it clear that you are fundraising for your costs rather than for the charity.
Can I fundraise for the charity I'm going to?
Yes! It's a great way to get to know your fellow volunteers. In fact, fundraising is a requirement for being accepted on the project – you'll find details of the minimum fundraising target for each project in the additional information. Once accepted onto a project, we'll give you ideas for your fundraising and encourage you to work as a group to organise larger fundraising activities. Don't forget that volunteering and fundraising look great on your CV.
What fundraising support will I receive?
Once you're signed up for a trip, staff in the Volunteering office and from the organisation you'll be working with will help you with ideas for fundraising. Mostly we encourage volunteers to organise their own fundraising, or to work with the rest of their team to do so. You can always ask us for help and ideas and we'll do our best to support you.
Will we get to do any sightseeing?
It depends. We usually try to incorporate some time for sightseeing and cultural activities into each trip, but for some it may not be possible.
How much free time will there be?
This depends on the nature of the opportunity, and on where the project is based. Volunteering can be really hard work, so we do try to allow some free time to unwind and relax. We also try to incorporate some sightseeing and other cultural activities into the programme, but it's important to point out that on some projects there may be limited things to do with your free time, and there may also be restrictions on where volunteers are allowed to go.
Is it really hard work?
Yes, it certainly can be. Each trip is different. For some, the days are long and might be mentally tiring. For others, the work is more physically demanding and the conditions, like the temperature, can make things even harder.
Do I need to get travel insurance?
As the international volunteering programme is recognised as authorised business of the University, you are covered by NTU's business insurance. However, if you intend to take part in any activities in your free time that have not been authorised by NTU (skydiving, white water rafting or horse riding, for example), you'll need to make sure that you also get yourself some personal travel insurance. More will be explained in the team meetings and in the project handbook.
How much time do I need to commit before I go?
Participating in one of our volunteering projects is as much about the activities before you go as it is about the time you spend abroad. You'll need to attend a series of compulsory meetings, which may be in the evenings or at weekends. There may also be training or preparation activities that you need to complete relating to your volunteer role, and there will definitely be fundraising activities to join in with and probably a few socials too. All of these extra activities are just as important as the trip itself, both in terms of preparing you for the experience and for your personal development generally.
What support will I receive when I'm out there?
Staff from the organisation you'll be volunteering with will be there to support you. Usually there'll be a member of NTU staff with you too, for at least the first week of your trip, if not the entirety. If they're not with you, a dedicated member of Nottingham Trent Volunteering staff back in the office in Nottingham will be on call 24/7 should you or your next of kin need to contact us in an emergency.
What training will I receive?
This will also include a team briefing with information about your host organisation, and about the practicalities of your trip – what you'll need to take with you, for example. There may be specific training provided for some projects, such as language classes, or on how to teach English.
I have previously volunteered on an NTU Volunteering international project and my costs were reduced by 40%. Will I receive this deduction if I apply again?
We don't want any student to be put off applying for an international volunteering opportunity by the cost. There are therefore a number of places reserved on each project for students from low-income households.
The 40% is only available for students who have not previously been on an international volunteering opportunity with NTU Volunteering. If you've previously applied and were unsuccessful, you may be considered for the 40% provided you meet the eligibility criteria. If we're unable to allocate all the funding, second time successful applicants may be considered.
If you're accepted onto a project but aren't eligible for 40% deduction, you may still be considered for an international travel bursary as part of the travel scholarships offered by NTU Global. Details of this can be found below.
Is there any further funding available for international volunteering?
You can apply for an NTU travel scholarship sponsored by NTU Global and Santander. You could be awarded either £250 for a European destination, or £500 for opportunities further afield. This is a competitive process, and you'll be asked to explain how the experience is relevant to your studies and how you'll personally benefit from the project. Find out more.