Frequently Asked Questions

Check out our Frequently Asked Questions below. If you have a question that isn’t on this list, feel free to send us an email at trips@studentsofferingsupport.ca 

The Application Process

Can I talk to/email with someone who's been on a trip?

Absolutely! Again, send us a quick email at HQ (trips@studentsofferingsupport.ca) along with any details that you’re looking to find out and we’ll put you in touch with a past participant.

Do I need to speak Spanish?

Our Latin American communities are predominantly Spanish speaking. While it is encouraged, Spanish is not a requirement for the trip. Each group is provided with a bilingual guide who will work to translate between the community and volunteers. However, the ability to communicate in Spanish, even at a basic level, will allow you to have more meaningful interactions with the community, for this reason we encourage participants to take advantage of the basic Spanish learning resources available to you once you are confirmed on a trip.

How do I apply for a trip?

Check out our list of current trips here and hit “Apply Today” to submit an application to the trip you would like to join!

What is the application process?

To start, you fill out our online application associated with a specific trip. The initial application form should only take about 15-20 mins to complete. Once you submit that, you’ll get an email from our on-campus Outreach team within 48 hours. They’ll set up an interview with you to chat and make sure you’re a good fit for the group. After that, you will get an email shortly after to let you know if you’ve been accepted.

Is there a deadline?

There is no deadline for applications, although we do suggest that you get your applications in as soon as possible so that you don’t miss out (as some of the trips fill up fast). Another bonus for applying sooner rather than later is that you’ll have more time to fundraise and get to know the other people on the trip.

Can I still apply for a trip with a specific university if I do not attend that university?

Yes! Although each trip is organized by a particular university, participation is open to any University or college student. To participate on a student trip, a volunteer must be between the ages of 18 and 29 at the time of trip departure for insurance purposes. For those outside those age ranges, we also run National trips with participants from a variety of backgrounds & ages based on demand and available funds from Exam-AID’s.

What happens after I am accepted?

The first thing you’ll need to do once you’ve received your acceptance email is submit your deposit. Once we’ve got that, you’ll be sent login info to an SOS Portal account. This is where you’ll find all your trip resources to help prepare you for your trip. The outreach team will also be in touch to introduce you to the other trip members.

Why do I have to pay a deposit?

The deposit holds your spot on the trip (so we know that you’re serious about joining us). We also purchase your insurance we receive your deposit, so that just in case anything happens you’ll have insurance in place.

I haven't heard back about my application and It's been over 48 hours, what do I do?

Outreach teams on campus are students just like you, so from time to time they get pretty busy and you may not hear from them immediately (especially if it’s around mid-term or finals). If this is the case, shoot us a quick email at HQ (trips@studentsofferingsupport.ca) so we can check in with them and see what’s going on.

How do I apply to become a Trip Leader?

Every Outreach Trip has one student SOS Trip Leader who helps prepare volunteers and ensure everything goes smoothly on the ground. If you have proven leadership skills, are highly organized, and longing to lead a group of your peers, please apply here: http://sosvolunteertrips.org/trip-leader-application/

Volunteer Trip Logistics

Will we be able to contact our parents during the trip? If so, how often?

Since volunteers stay in rural communities, access to internet is limited and sometimes not available at all. Our partners in country will have a cell phone for use in emergencies, but not for day-to-day contact with home. Participants are usually able to contact home on rest days. In order to gain the most out of the experience, we discourage constant contact with home, as it is a barrier to full immersion in the local community and culture.

How will I know if I need a visa or vaccinations?

Because the specific needs vary for each country, you will receive more information from your trip leader and head office once you have selected a trip. In general, visa information is available online, and recommend that all volunteers see a travel doctor to receive professional advice regarding vaccinations.

I have allergies/dietary restrictions, is that an issue?

Not at all! Once you sign up and before you head out, we’ll ask you to fill out a form so that we’re aware of any allergies and dietary restrictions. We’ll share this information with the group leader in destination so that they can make arrangements and be sure that you’ve got plenty food to eat.

Where do we stay?

Outreach Trip volunteer groups stay in community structures/buildings (schools, community centre, churches) right in the community where you’re working. Conditions are basic so you’ll likely need to bring a sleeping bag, pillow and sleeping mat, but this allows for a closer connection to the community where you’re working.

Will there be access to electricity to charge cameras, phones etc.?

Many communities will have limited access to electricity. We understand that cameras are a necessity for capturing memories, but discourage bringing cell phones.

How much will we interact with the host community?

It is important to SOS that we promote integration and collaboration between international volunteers and local communities. Participants typically stay in available community structures (classrooms, community centers etc), and live as close to the conditions of the community as possible. The level of interaction varies from community to community. In some cases, local children and adults are present throughout the day and interact with volunteers while construction is taking place. In others, community members are not present until later in the evening.

What kind of work are we going to do? Do I need construction experience?

Groups work on the construction of various infrastructure projects, such as schoolrooms, teacher houses, sustainable garden, and dining centers. Each work site will have an experienced foreman to direct the project and community members helping with the work. Participants only perform the tasks that they feel comfortable with and do not need any specific construction skills; you just need to be willing to lend a hand!

What do we do on our rest days?

HQ and the local team in destination will send your group a couple suggestions to decide between. Generally rest day activities are things like a day at the beach, a hike, visiting a larger city or nearby tourist attraction.

If you still have questions or concerns about anything at all, please do not hesitate to reach out to us at head office. email us at trips@studentsofferingsupport.ca or call us at 289-210-1855 and we would be happy to chat.