During your placement

During your placement

VSO will be there to support you throughout your volunteer placement.

Lisa McMahan in Rwanda

Volunteering overseas: getting settled in

Our local country office will meet you when you arrive, and organise a briefing and further training.  

Your in-country induction will last between two weeks and three months, depending on the country, and covers everything from medical and security procedures to language training to country-specific information. 

As well as helping you understand the locally important issues, the induction also allows you to meet other volunteers. 

You will agree your objectives with the VSO country office, along with the relevant partner organisations. Once you arrive in-country, your primary relationship will be with your partner organisation, but the VSO country office is always there to help with major personal, medical or security problems.

"The support from VSO is extensive, relevant and also on going. I feel very secure here; we get updates giving us information about possible problems, and we see the VSO staff based in Bangkok quite regularly." - Meg Mansfield, VSO volunteer in Thailand.

Life on placement

Your day-to-day routine will vary depending on your volunteer job, but you will be enjoying a new culture, mixing in a different community and challenging yourself professionally.

All volunteers are given an allowance paid in local currency. The allowance is designed to meet reasonable living expenses in country, but will not be enough for you to send money home.

Accommodation varies, but is generally basic. VSO works with some of the poorest and most disadvantaged communities in the world and you should be willing to live in accommodation similar to that of your colleagues. You will have a private room.

You are entitled to four weeks leave every year. However, we cannot cover your travel expenses to return home in this time, so you will have to pay for the transport costs yourself.

Staying healthy while volunteering abroad

We have comprehensive medical insurance and procedures put in place for all of our volunteers. In country, you will normally consult local doctors about health problems.

Each of our country offices has an appointed medical adviser, usually a local doctor or nurse, whom you can consult with (contact details will be provided during your in-country training).

You will also receive the VSO country office’s emergency contacts and medical emergency procedures, together with a list of recommended doctors, clinics, dentists and pharmacies in your region.

Safeguarding and Child Protection 

VSO takes its responsibility for safeguarding and child protection seriously. 

We will do all we can to ensure, as far as possible, the safety and protection of children, young people and vulnerable adults involved in VSO.

If you have concerns about the safety or well being of a young person, or wish to talk to someone in confidence about a safeguarding issue, please contact the VSO Lead Safeguarding Officer at VSO on +44 (0)208 780 7500 

Extending your placement

Many volunteers request extensions to their placements and are often successful. Whether this is possible depends on the needs of the organisation and whether they need you to stay longer than planned in order to complete the job or extend its benefits and impact. 

You can also stay involved with VSO after your placement.