What You Need to Know

(Remember to look at the ‘Blogs’ to learn more about past volunteers’  experiences)

Safety and Security

  • Before departure we will brief volunteers on specific aspects of their project and the project location, as well as the project’s expectations.
  • Volunteers should always be sensible in their personal behaviour and sensitive to cultural context. Behaviour which is totally acceptable in one place may put you in increased danger in another place.
  • There will be someone English speaking locally available for volunteers (and families, if appropriate) to contact in case of emergencies.
  • We are in close contact with all the projects.
  • All volunteers should ensure that they obtain the latest contact information for the person in charge at their project before departure for the assignment.
  • NO volunteer should leave the UK or their home country without insurance. All volunteers are strongly advised to contact MIND THE GAP YEAR which specializes in insurance for this type of travel. If you buy Mind the Gap Year insurance by clicking on this link you will receive a 5% discount on normal rates.
  • ALL volunteers must check with their own GP/family doctor as soon as their plans are firm in order to obtain the most up to date information on relevant inoculations.
  • ALL volunteers are advised to register their presence with their own Embassy/Consulate/High Commission on, or just before, arrival in their volunteering location.


The most suitable volunteers for this type of adventure are those who:

  • Have a wish for adventure
  • Are independent and able to cope without the immediate physical support of family, friends or school etc.
  • Are able to get on with others, including those from very different backgrounds.
  • Are interested in learning about other cultures.
  • Are self disciplined and committed, because these projects are doing serious work for the children and young people they are helping.  They need their volunteers to provide support and not to need too much of it!
  • Are flexible and interested in trying new experiences (and able to be flexible about things like food!)
  • Are REALLY interested in helping others
  • Willing to try and communicate even when there is a language barrier


  • Our volunteers come from almost all backgrounds including, Australian, British, Caribbean, Chinese, Dutch, French, German, Ghanaian, Indian, Malaysian, New Zealand, Nigerian, Pakistani, Singaporean, Somali, Sri Lankan. However, due to visa constraints not all passports can be accepted.
  • While most volunteers are international, every year we place a few volunteers in their own country!
  • Volunteers will be asked to undergo vetting for suitability in their country of origin before departure (by Criminal Records Bureau or equivalent).

The Next Steps

  • The first step is to decide which project is most interesting to you.
    – Look on the websites
    – Talk to us
  • If you wish to volunteer with a friend we would encourage this, however, each volunteer is interviewed and accepted based on their own merits
  • We are very happy to talk to prospective volunteers at any stage about any aspect which concerns them; in particular, background of projects, potential costs and the selection/decision process
  • After you decide where you want to go we will interview you and if you appear suitable you will then be interviewed directly by the project concerned
  • If the project then wishes to invite you to join them we will then outline for you their expectations and requirements
  • If you are happy to accept the invitation you need to:
    • Accept the offer. (A copy of purchased plane ticket is considered proof of acceptance. We expect to see this within one month of acceptance or we will re-advertize the position.)
    • Check with your GP what injections you may require for this location.
    • Apply for your visa, if appropriate (Where an invitation letter is needed for you to get your visa this will be provided.)
    • Apply for your criminal background check (in the UK ‘Disclosure and Barring’ check.)
    • Arrange insurance.  NO volunteer should consider leaving the UK or their home country without proper travel and medical insurance. Mind The Gap Year provides a specialized service of insurance for young travelers overseas.  (Anyone applying for their insurance from this website will receive a 5% discount. And as they sponsor our website we request you to use them where possible!)


  • The cost of volunteering will include air fare, visa costs (where relevant), insurance, food – where it is not covered, and any local travel you choose to undertake.
  • Please also consider making a donation to the organization where you volunteered.
  • Many volunteers come home from their volunteering experience and then raise money for the project.

Monthly costs at projects are approximately as follows.

  • Beijing: NO charge for accommodation or food, no commuting cost. Suggested minimum pocket money per month £150 (project not in downtown Beijing so local transport cost for outings into Beijing is the major component).
  • Guangzhou: Small charge for cost of hotel where summer camp is held. Subsidized food during working day. No commuting cost. Suggested pocket money about £200 per month.
  • Hong Kong: NO charge for accommodation, small allowance provided for food, no commuting cost. Suggested pocket money per month approximately £200.
  • Malaysia: NO charge for accommodation and free food provided.  Suggested monthly pocket money £150.
  • Mongolia (summer camp): Accommodation and food about US$20 per day. Limited opportunities to spend pocket money. For one year assignments a local salary is paid.

Please contact us for further details.