Preparing to volunteer
There is so much you can do to prepare to volunteer overseas!
- Essential reading: The Volunteer Guidebook. If you have any questions about the program, the answer will be in here.
- Read more about the Australian Volunteers program on DFAT's website.
- Get to know the Child Protection Policy and AVI's rights based approach to child and youth protection.
- Explore the Australian Council for International Development's (ACFID) website, the peak body for international development in Australia.
- Download the Australian Aid Resource and Training Guide (AARTG) for a comprehensive snapshot of the sector.
- Immerse yourself in a volunteer's world! Read candid accounts of volunteer experiences.
- Volunteers are required to have an Australian standardised First Aid HLTAID003 certificate in order to manage risks to their own health and others' whilst on assignment.
- Training and mentoring is what volunteers do. Consider the need to undertake a formal qualification, such as the Certificate IV in Training and Assessment, to strengthen your application.
- ACFID has a host of learning courses specific to operating in complex, community development environments.
- The Australian Aid Resource and Training Guide (AARTG) lists a range of training options available to you.
- Do you have the personal competencies required to become a volunteer?
- Consider which countries you're most suited to. The climate, customs, food, transport, people and culture. Explore where you can go with this in mind.
- You may have considered the professional challenges, but are you ready for the physical and emotional challenges? How do you respond to change, stress or social isolation? Can you work in an under-resourced environment?
- Think in advance about returning to Australia after an assignment. Volunteers spend time away from friends, family, and, in some cases, partners. Volunteers leave behind houses, jobs and comfortable routines.
- Have you spoken to your nearest and dearest about your plans?
- Look for books or documentaries that tell stories from the grass-roots level of countries or communities you're interested to work in.
- Learn a language or the foundations of one. Although not a pre-requisite for most assignments, it certainly helps!
- Volunteer closer to home, with organisations engaged in the issues you are passionate about. Check out GoVolunteer, Seek Volunteer or Ethical Jobs.