OUTREACH TRIP OVERVIEW

Below you’ll find everything you need to know about participating on a SOS Outreach Trip. SOS’s unique relationships with our partnering organizations enable our volunteers to have an immersive experience in the lives of our host communities. If you have any questions, please email us at trips@studentsofferingsupport.ca!

Training Before You Go

Housing

Your Trip Itinerary

Communication

 
Balancing school work and preparations for your Outreach Trip can be difficult, so we conveniently place everything you need to know online. Once you sign up for an Outreach Trip you’re given access to your very own Outreach Trip account on our volunteer portal.

It is important to SOS to promote integration and collaboration between international volunteers and local communities. Outreach Trip Volunteer Groups sleep in available community structures (classrooms, community centers, etc.), and live as close to the conditions of the community as possible. We believe this encourages a greater understanding of the lives and conditions of the community members, which ultimately results in more genuine, mutually-beneficial working relationships.

This means that your logistics are similar to camping – but just indoors! You’ll have to bring a sleeping bag, a pillow, a mat, and live out of your bag for the two week trip. SOS will provide all volunteers with clean drinking water and meals, but hot water will be scarce and there will be no air conditioning.

Many of the communities we work in have limited access to electricity, running water and the basic amenities you may be used to in your daily life. We know that living in the conditions of the community makes the experience and the lessons learned more impactful and valuable. You will be challenged in ways that, while not affecting your safety or security, will create an opportunity for growth and education.That being said, we want you to be informed every step of the way. We communicate expectations from both parties well before arrival so that everyone involved can prepare.

Standard Build Days
Of your 14 day trip, 2 days will be spent travelling in and out of your host country, and 2 days will be spent on Rest Days (more below). The majority of your trip days will be Standard Build Days.

A Standard Build Day looks like this:

7:00am – Wake Up, eat breakfast, get ready for the day
8:00am – On the worksite ready to get to work!
8:00 am to Noon – Build!
Noon to 1:00pm – Lunch
1:00pm to 3:00pm – Build!
3:00pm to 5:00pm – Community Activities (half are planned by SOS volunteers!)
5:00pm to 6:00pm – Unwind, and get ready for dinner!
6:00pm to 7:30pm – Dinner
8:00pm to 9:00pm – Nightly Facilitation and Discussion
9:00am to 10:00pm – Free group time!

Rest Days
You won’t work every day! Our partnering organization will organize two Rest Days for your group to relax and learn more about the culture of your host community and country. These activities are NOT included in your participant fee. Planning to bring between $200.00 CAD should be sufficient, but we will confirm with you in advance! In the past SOS volunteers have gone on boat rides, to beaches, to cultural heritage sites, to markets, to ancient ruins, and more. Sometimes SOS groups will spend a night in a hostel on their way to the airport before flying home.

The Rest Day fee will include: transportation to and from the activity and community, entrance fees, supervision, and, if applicable, guided tours and hostel stays. A suggested budget for meals on rest days will also be given, but how much is spent on food is of the participant’s’ discretion.

  
Leading up to your trip, you’ll be in constant communication with your SOS Trip Leader, the rest of the students on your trip and SOS’s International Office. Your SOS Trip Leader will organize a series of pre-departure meetings to help you prepare for your Trip, and you’ll be asked to attend virtual meetings with SOS in Toronto! We’re always a phone call or email away to answer any questions that you have before you depart.

Support

The safety and support of our volunteers is our primary concern.


Partnering Organizations

SOS works exclusively with registered organizations in every country we work in to not only ensure the efficiency of our projects, but to ensure our volunteers have the best experience.

Our partnering organizations are leaders in community development and have an established relationship with your host community. They prepare the accommodations, transportation, and itinerary for your group to suit the host community’s needs and structures. They have experience working with international volunteers and provide every group with a bilingual Trip Leader (more below).

 

 


Host Community

Your host community has been waiting for your Outreach Trip team for over a year for you to arrive! We spend that time ensuring each of our communities are able to safely host and support volunteers with our partnering organizations on the ground. The majority of our host communities have hosted SOS volunteers before, so they know what to expect and what works best within the local context.

SOS volunteers are always guests in our host communities, and we expect our volunteers to act in accordance with the hospitality you would expect of a guest in your own home.

 

 


Trip Leaders

NGO Trip Leader

The NGO Trip Leader is a bilingual staff member of the organization who knows local safety systems, the community, the culture, and how to assist a group of international volunteers. Your NGO Trip Leader will pick you up at the airport and be with the group 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, for the entire duration of your SOS Outreach Trip.

They are responsible for coordinating with the community members and the foreman to oversee the successful execution of the project. They assist in mitigating any concerns between the community and the volunteer group and are there to provide guidance in emergency situations.

 

SOS Trip Leader

Your SOS Trip Leader is a student from your travel group who has volunteered to take on a leadership role. The Trip Leader is responsible for communicating between the volunteer group and the community, and between the volunteer group and SOS. Before you depart, they’ll do their best to help you prepare for the journey and organize meet-ups for the whole group.

Trip Leaders undergo an 8 week training intensive with SOS’s Head Office in Toronto. During that time they learn about culture shock and it’s remedies, how to facilitate discussion, the dynamics of team building, and so much more.

On the Outreach Trip, your SOS Trip Leader is your first point of contact should you have any questions or concerns. Your volunteer group will likely be a big one, so it’s important to use your Trip Leader as a source of information before going to anyone else. Your Trip Leader is also in charge of facilitating nightly reflections and exercises so you can understand the bigger impact your Outreach Trip is having in the world. They’ll lead you through a deep process of unwrapping concepts like poverty and privilege, and the impact they have on you.