• Study Abroad

Things to Do Before Paying For Your Volunteer or Study Abroad Program

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  • read time3 min Read
  • By:CANAM Group
  • Updated On:Sep 06,2023 05:21 PM IST

Things to Do Before Paying For Your Volunteer or Study Abroad Program .webp
Often, international students sign up for an overseas study program based on a positive feeling. They might only see the course description on the program site to ensure that the program they are taking up best fits their needs. Students can also be coaxed into a program by the coordinator who is working for the program, or they might think that all programs are the same, and they might as well choose one and go along with it. All of these are some of the most common reasons for selecting a study abroad program, but a lot of times, they have been known to backfire.

Over this last year, a friend of mine paid a considerable amount of money to a volunteer course in Argentina. He went due to a few reasons: He wanted to improve his Spanish speaking skills and experience a new country and culture. He got through the program through a volunteer placement agency. The agency assured him that he would be volunteering in Argentina while improving his Spanish speaking skills, all while having the experience of a lifetime. My friend spent a lot of time chatting with the program coordinator, and she convinced him to pay upwards of $1500 to volunteer for six weeks in Argentina. This cost was not inclusive of the flight, accommodation, transportation, etc.

When he finally arrived in Argentina, it didnt take him long to realize that the organization which he had volunteered for wasnt there. There was just a middleman to the volunteer organization in Argentina. The organization was responsible for everything, including his accommodation, support, and volunteer placement. The residential facilities were excellent, the staff was accommodating, but the volunteer placement over there was virtually non-existent. My friend was placed in a clinic where the organization didnt need his assistance and would sit by himself most of the time while the other staff members would be talking amongst themselves in a different room. When my friend went and complained about this to his volunteer placement, then he was decided to be moved to a temporary kids camp, which was highly disorganized. His stint at the kids camp came to an end with three weeks left of his volunteer program. So he decided to spend the rest of his time with his host family.

One day while my friend was talking to his host family, he was told that his hosts were getting only $90 a week for him to stay there. This made him realize that most of his program fees went to the volunteer placement organization, which didnt do anything for him to get paced anywhere. He went and spoke to other volunteers who also felt cheated and scammed. Some of the volunteers went through other shady intermediaries who took even a more significant cut. The intensive medical students, who paid a lot more, ended up being more cheated as they were promised much more of medical-related work, but they were delivered only 25% of the time.

The only volunteer who seemed happy and satisfied with the experience had done some prior research before signing up for the program. Instead of going through an intermediary, he directly enrolled in the program through an organization in Argentina. He also negotiated with his host family directly, so he could leave whenever he wanted to. He had read a blog of someone who had already experienced the volunteer program, which made him mentally prepared for what to expect.

It is disheartening to see that volunteer organizations are taking advantage of good people all over the place. I hope that the students who opt for volunteer programs will go through the abroad reviews before signing up with the organization. If any person happens to have a bad experience, make sure to post a negative review to warn others.

We hope that this blog has been helpful to you. In case you have any further queries about studying overseas, be sure to get in touch with your nearest Canam office.

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