BUNAC Volunteer Programs
For UK Citizens
So, you like the sound of working for a well-established company, but think volunteering is more your thing? BUNAC offers a range of placements in South Africa, Ghana, Peru, Costa Rica, Cambodia, China and the USA, and the country dictates what type of voluntary work is available. Teaching placements are a speciality in Cambodia and China, whilst Costa Rica and South Africa have conservation projects and Ghana and Peru tend to focus more on community development.
Although BUNAC offers Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) courses for Teach & Travel China, for most of the voluntary projects it is not necessary to have a TEFL qualification, although previous experience is always useful. BUNAC has a partner organization in each country so there is always a local point of contact for volunteers, who come from all over the world.
Each placement is highly individual, with a basic cost of £695* (subject to variation) and includes food and accommodation in some cases. Placement lengths vary from five weeks to six months and flights and insurance are not included in the costs.
For all BUNAC Volunteer placements, you need to be over eighteen and a British passport holder living in the UK. Applications are accepted year round. Here's a taste of one of the projects offered...
This is the newest project offered by BUNAC, and 'adventure' is definitely the word to describe it! Launched in March 2007,Volunteer USA is available for 8, 10 or 12 week stretches. It is designed to give you the opportunity to really get the most out of a short space of time.
You will be working on several ecological and conservation projects, such as trail maintenance and protecting endangered species, in some of North America's most spectacular National Parks, including Yosemite, Bryce Canyon and the Grand Canyon! This is the best way to appreciate the majesty of the natural world, and even better, help maintain it.Your days off can be spent exploring Las Vegas, Lake Mead, Lake Powell, San Francisco and the Grand Canyon!
The beauty of this placement is the lack of paperwork - there is no need for a work visa on this particular BUNAC programme!
The Nitty Gritty
This placement is a lot of fun, but it is also demanding.Volunteers work in teams of 6-11 people on a four days on, three days off basis. All projects involve outdoor work, often at high elevations, and in hot, sunny conditions. As you will be working for up to 10 hours a day in remote areas, in most cases you will be required to camp during your projects, with the campsites ranging from developed campgrounds to a flat stretch of land. All volunteers take turns to cook, clean and so on whilst on project. However, on your days off you will be staying in dorm-style rooms at the regional accommodation in either Flagstaff, Arizona or Santa Cruz, California.
Placements are allocated on arrival depending on where needs help first - unfortunately it isn't possible to spend the entire 12 weeks working in the Grand Canyon!Instead, you experience a variety of environments as the projects are rotated every 2-4 weeks.
The reason there is no need to apply for a work visa is that you will travel on the U.S. Visa Waiver program - meaning you can stay in the USA for no more than 90 days and cannot get paid for the project. Bear this in mind if you want to travel afterwards - a 12 week placement leaves a few days for additional exploring.
* prices correct at the time of going to press
For more information on all BUNAC's voluntary programmes, please visit: www.bunac.org/volunteer