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Programs That Fly you To Foreign Countries for Free


RowaH

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I can't imagine many programs would do this unless you are willing to commit for a year or more, if they even exist (why would they pay for a foreigner to come over when they could pay a local for less?).

 

I know CIDA has internships but I don't know whether travel is included. I highly doubt accommodations are covered.

 

Good luck in your search! Let us know once you find something like this!

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Hello,

 

Are there any programs that fly you to foreign countries for free, or near free, in order for you to help the needy?

 

I seek a good, international volunteer job, in which most/all expenses are paid.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

You better have some "maaaad skillz" to offer for someone to pay for your flight and expenses haha.

 

And I think the skill of willingness to help the needy doesn't cut it :)

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Well, I think it depends on many things : your background, on where you're willing to go and on the amount of time you're willing to committ... Did you consider Canada World Youth, assuming you're Canadian & relatively young (check website for exact age...)? (http://www.cwy-jcm.org/en)?. Although they ask you fundraise a part of the costs, they provide the tools to do so and friends I know who did it said the fundraising part was relatively easy. Very little money would have to come out of your pockets, I think, and the program is preaty well structured, giving good volunteering opportunities and good pre-departure preparation.

 

Another option, although maybe more complicated and restricted, is Doctors without borders (http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org/). I don't know your background and I think they are very selective (you would probably need experience and a relatively long term committment, maybe a year...), but they actually pay to do humanitary work. You don't have to have a medical degree, they hire for other jobs too. There are other organisms (for instance, Engineers without borders...) that could be suitable to other backgrounds.

 

Is your desire strictly to volunteer, or would you also be willing to study? If time committment is a problem, this might be a good alternative. I know my university offers many bursaries for all-expenses-paid language learning abroad. I have friends who went to Mexico for a few months to learn spanish or to Belgium to perfect their french. Many universities have such programs and often they're not very much advertised. Student career centers might be able to give you some ideas. Sometimes, these programs don't restrict the lenght of the stay (although they would stop covering accomodations once the courses are over, you're free to stay at your own costs aferwards, and they still pay your flight back), so you may be able to sqeeze in some volunteering before or after the courses...Also, maybe try your local volunteer center, or maybe even the local offices of humanitarian organisations, such as Oxfam? They may be able to lead you in the right direction, you never know :)

 

Good luck!

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Hello,

 

Are there any programs that fly you to foreign countries for free, or near free, in order for you to help the needy?

 

I seek a good, international volunteer job, in which most/all expenses are paid.

 

Thanks in advance.

 

 

I have yet to hear of one. As for free living expenses overseas, I call them family :D .

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Engineers Without Borders will send you overseas and your chapter will cover the costs (generally about $6000). Furthermore, you don't have to have an engineering background. My friend who graduated engineering with me is over in Zambia doing mostly business/organization building stuff with local agencies.

 

HOWEVER, overseas fellowships are extremely competitive with EWB. There are many applicants for each spot. Most of them have been with the organization for several years and are extremely committed. Also, EWB overseas work is very serious. They make it quite clear that you are not there to vacation or sight see. They are extremely serious in their work and expect you to be too. They are not "pay some cash to pad your resume" type programs.

 

If you are seriously motivated to help promote development, then get involved in your local EWB chapter. Even if you don't go overseas (the majority don't), they are a very rewarding organization to be part of. Of all development agencies that I have seen, it's one of the best.

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No problem, RowaH :).

 

Be sure, if you embark on such a journey, that it's actually something that interests you, not just something that'll make you look interesting to admission commitees... this could be a big mistake, as really, the programs I mentionned are alot of work and can be really hard (living conditions and otherwise)... if you hate it, you'll really be miserable! Anyway, there are tons of ways to look interesting to admissions commitees, most of them right in your neighbourhood :) Make sure what you choose what fits best with who you are. If traveling does, that's great, go for it! Canada World Youth definetly offers really unique and rewarding life experiences.

 

Also, don't forget that very soon, you'll be out of high school and into university :). If you want to travel and volunteer abroad, you'll soon have a chance to find out what programs/commitees are available at your university and what scholarships are offered. If you want to increase your chances of being chosen for expenses-paid international experiences, you may want to start by getting experience in related fields closer to home. As NLengr mentionned, Engineers without borders, Doctors without borders, Oxfam Canada, Youth Canada World and many others all offer great volunteering opportunities that will show others you're serious about wanting that international experience.

 

Good luck!

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Check this resource

 

http://www.destineducation.ca/cdnstdnt/witwigo_e.htm

 

It is the web version of the book "What in the world is going on" (at least you could get it in hard copy years ago when I first got it) and it is for Canadians.

It has alot of good information not only about programs but also what it may be like abroad.

 

If you plan to head to a developing country just to have it to put on your med school application, you may really hate the experience. So be sure to evaluate your reasons for leaving before leaving.

 

If you expect your expenses to be paid, then you need to be prepared for 1) a significant amount of fundraising with your organisation before you leave in order to cover costs and/or 2) making a significant time commitment..1-2 years. You may find a rare program that wants to encourage cross-cultural understanding for youths and so will fund the travel, but that is generally rare. If you think about it, it wouldn`t make sense for say, an orphanage in Malawi to spend $2500+ airfare so you can get there, spend a month or 2 padding your resumé and then leave. If they had that money, they could spend it on food, mosquito nets, medicine etc.

 

And don`t forget, you don`t have to go far away to find people who could use your help. So don`t worry if you can`t find anything abroad within your budget. And if the cross-cultural thing interests you but you find yourself grounded on Canadian soil, you can always see about working with new immigrants etc...

 

Oh...try googling Help the Aged. It is a Canadian based organization and I believe seeing awhile ago they have youth internships....which may or may not be paid, but check it out! :)

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Alternatively, you can work part of the summer, earn enough money to fly yourself to a developping country and seek volunteering opportunities over there. Although you need to be adventurous and resourceful to pull it off, I think, so it might not be the best move for a high school student, but my suggestion might benefit someone else, so I am writing it anyway.

 

Here are some ideas: fly to Cambodia, settle in a youth hostel, find an orphanage and go there and offer your help. Fly to Thailand, settle in a youth hostel, volunteer to teach English in a high school. Fly to another developping country and volunteer at a local hospital. Some African countries have English as one of their official languages (if you think language might be a barrier).

 

I have done that and met many people along the way who had volunteered somewhere (like in an animal orphanage in Zimbabwe! They got to play with lion cubs everyday!!!). The cost of living can be very small if you can budget. In Laos, for instance, you can live on less than $20 CAD a day, and there are plenty of opportunities to volunteer. I found that I could just show up somewhere and ask them if I could be of any help. I was never turned down. Thai people are really keen on learning English, BTW, and their country is amazing (and so are they!).

 

I guess if you've never done anything like this, it might appear intimidating and crazy to just pick a place and fly to it and find some volunteer work ONCE you're there... so I guess you can also look up some NGO's in a country that interests you, email them and ask them whether you could come and spend a few weeks with them over the summer, volunteering. Depending on the country, food and accommodations can be very cheap. For the records, though, Africa is NOT the cheapest place, and by far. Latinamerica and South-East Asia would be the best and cheapest, IMHO.

 

However, I must mention that in my experience, like others have said before, it is not easy work, the living conditions are not the nicest, there are several issues such as diseases like malaria, crimes, different sanitary conditions, etc. Doing it for the sole purpose of making your CV look good could be suicidal. Kinda would be like trying to get into medicine just for the salary! Padding your resume can be done locally and can be just as impressive, depending on what you do.

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You should also remember that international development efforts are not only needed overseas. As much as everyone loves the "sexy" side of development work (i.e. overseas), there is much to do at home. You can have quite a rewarding time doing development work here in Canada.

 

Most development agencies have extensive programs to educate Canadians about development efforts at home and abroad. For example, EWB (the one I know best) does extensive outreach to students and the public. They run workshops, presentations and publicity stunts (car smashes, pumpkin drops) all to try and increase development awareness among the Canadians. Development agencies also have huge efforts to lobby government. For example EWB did massive lobbying for a bill called C-293 which would force Canada to provide better, more targeted aid.

 

So if you are looking at development work, don't feel like you need to go overseas. Just by efforts here at home you can make a huge difference.

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However, I must mention that in my experience, like others have said before, it is not easy work, the living conditions are not the nicest, there are several issues such as diseases like malaria, crimes, different sanitary conditions, etc. ....

 

One thing I should add to this is that even if you drink bottled water and take measures to avoid diseases, you're still at risk. This is because of the environment itself; there's more dust in the air just to list one example. And the way food is made overseas for is very different from the way it's done here. The drastic change might not be too enjoyable for your stomach :eek:

 

In fact, Many of my friends (who grew up overseas) before they go back to their home country after spending a couple of years here take some pills first, on top of the all the medications they already have packed in their bag. Just to let you know... ;)

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In fact, Many of my friends (who grew up overseas) before they go back to their home country after spending a couple of years here take some pills first, on top of the all the medications they already have packed in their bag. Just to let you know... ;)

Tell me about it, my mother's cooking is not for the faint-hearted.:cool:

 

 

Oh god, this reminds me - a friend did a year in Bolivia and the program included a 2-week stay with a family up in the mountains in the middle of nowhere. One day they had nothing to eat for dinner and so the father crawled up on the roof and took down a dead chicken who had been decomposing in the sun for 3 days, and the mother made soup out of it. Not eating was hardly an option, since there was nowhere to go buy food otherwise.

 

My friend spent 2 years getting medical treatment for all the parasites she brought back with her! Made me think twice about joining non-urban programs, that's for sure. Diseases you can vaccinate against, but not so with parasites.

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I know that the UN does 3-4 month internships based on what you’re studying (undergrad and graduate students that is). They pay for all your expenses, however, the work can be very scary and dangerous as many interns are placed in refugee camps surrounded by a wall of combat. Not to mention, because of their neutrality, the only protection they give you is a bullet-proof vest that is too heavy to wear.

 

Those I know who have done this, say their initial reason was for basically a resume boost; although after seeing first hand the desolation, they realize how selfish they were and what really matters. Some of them have decided to go back, while others have decided to work closer to home. The point being is that make sure you think carefully about going international because you are pretty much stuck there and if it’s not for the right reasons, it makes it even harder physically and emotionally.

 

The UN also has an immense volunteer program (UNV) which basically depends on the type of qualifications you have because they have many programs focusing on key areas of help and development – but there is a minimum age requirement of 25 with a university degree, plus there is up to a 24 month commitment. And they have an online volunteer program as well.

 

And…..you should check out church organizations because every year the youth group at my church goes to various remote villages in Mexico for two weeks to build homes, and every other year they head across seas to Africa. It does cost a lot to do this, but they easily raise money by fund-raising and through sponsors. And being away from home isn’t as bad because you become like a family since you spend so much time together before you leave. And it’s not a whole religious thing either since they get a lot of people outside the church going – they all just do it because they want to help.

 

Besides, I don’t think med schools necessarily "favour" one applicant who has gone overseas to volunteer, over one who volunteers locally, since not everyone can get an opportunity to travel elsewhere and fundamentally it's the same rationale.

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