Your overseas trip with VESL comes around surprisingly quickly, here is a quick check list for you to run through before you go so that you know you are prepared and have everything you need!
– your passport has at least 6 months remaining from the date that you plan to leave the country you are volunteering in and it has the correct visa. Make photocopies of both your visa and passport (preferably colour) in case your passport gets lost, this will make it easier for you to sort out obtaining a new one. Keep a copy in your accommodation or with your project partner and keep a copy yourself, you could also scan a copy and e-mail it to yourself so you can access it via a computer.
- Bank cards
– make sure you call your bank to advise them that you will be using your card overseas, you don’t want to go to an ATM and not be able to get any money out!
– exchange money before you if this is possible (NB you can’t get Indian rupees outside of India), or take some pound sterling with you to exchange when you get to your destination, just in case your bank card doesn’t work for some reason.
– make sure that you leave enough money in your bank account to pay any direct debits that will continue to leave your bank account whilst overseas. If you have a monthly contract phone see if you can suspend the contract while you are abroad so you don’t have to keep paying it when you are not using the phone.
- Flight details
– check your flight details and make sure that there have been no changes to the scheduled times, it is best to do this 48 hours before you are due to go, remember to do this on the way back as well.
- Arrival instructions – make sure you know who you will be meeting at the airport and take a note of their phone number and keep it handy.
– you have a record of the insurance number and phone number for VESL’s 24 hour medical emergency insurance, keep it with you at all times, you never know when something will happen. If you are travelling before or after your project make sure that you get your own insurance for this and take those details with you as well.
- FCO Locate
– register yourself on the FCO locate service, you will be given updates of any civil disturbances that happen when you are overseas, and it means that in the event of a natural or manmade disaster the embassy and crisis staff can contact you and advise you what to do.
- Volunteer handbook
– read through the volunteer handbook, have a look at the lists ‘what to take’ and ‘what not to take’ and make sure you pack it to take with you. You can also read through the case studies of past volunteers while you are on the air plane!
- Teaching materials
– pack your ‘Teaching Activities’ and ‘Teaching Resources’ pack and any other resources that you want to take out with you (but don’t fill your bag with things that you will be able to get out there, remember you will be flying into a city which is going to have some form of stationary shop!).
– pack a blank journal so that you can record all of your adventures and new experiences, it means that in years to come you will have an excellent way to look back at all the amazing work you did!
- Pack your bag
– just remember to check your luggage allowance (NB if you are going to Thailand the internal flight baggage allowance is more than likely going to be less than your international flight so make sure you check).
Done all of the above? Sounds like you are ready for your adventure!