Volunteer Trips for School Groups
Our commitment begins from the outset of planning the trip. Each group trip is tailored to the interests and talents of its members with the group leaders playing a large part in formulating the itinerary. Risk management is the foundation of this planning process.
The team planning the itinerary involves:
- Destination Country Director
- Destination country Head Office Coordinator
- Hong Kong Office Director and Deputy
This team guarantees you extensive experience of managing volunteer projects, local knowledge, and group leadership experience. Along with the itinerary, a thorough preliminary risk assessment report will be produced for you.
Through the Hong Kong office, destination office staff, and international Volunteer Advisers, we aim to ensure well-briefed volunteers and group leaders, covering:
- Realistic expectations – what the group seeks to achieve and contribute during the trip
- Being prepared – culture shock, homesickness, the first few days
- Travelling smart – being safe and responsible
- Cultural matters – understanding, respecting, and adapting to local customs
- History and current affairs – understanding context
These and other matters are covered through face-to-face and online meetings, with a dedicated group liaison from the Hong Kong office and relevant staff from around the world.
The Hong Kong Office
Your first point of contact is our dedicated team at the Projects Abroad Hong Kong office. The team is a bridge between volunteers and overseas staff, and can provide you with comprehensive information about our projects and safety procedures, and can advise you on which project would best suit your skills and interests. The great thing about our Hong Kong advisors is that they have all had extensive experience living and volunteering overseas, and you can always chat to them about what to expect from such a unique and rewarding experience.
As an organiser of a tailored group trip, you will be supported by our Hong Kong team throughout the process. They will discuss options of destinations and projects to suit your group’s particular needs. They will also provide you with a detailed budget, tailored itinerary, and safety information specific to your school or organisation’s standards. The team are always happy to meet and chat with trip organisers, staff and participants, before, during and after the experience. A Hong Kong staff member will also accompany your group overseas to ensure that everything runs smoothly in-country.
Planning Sessions and Pre-departure meetings
Your group trip starts long before you board the plane, and we’re here to support you every step of the way.
In the lead up to your trip away, Projects Abroad staff will meet with group trip organisers to discuss and finalise itinerary and budget. Staff will then present an outline of the itinerary to potential participants to gauge interest.
After the group members have been confirmed, there will be a series of pre-departure meetings and communications with the group as a whole to discuss a range of topics, including:
- Cultural and destination information (food, accommodation, placement)
- Addressing parent concerns
- Personal safety
- Our expectations of participant behaviour and conduct
- How to prepare for placement
- Packing advice
- Fundraising ideas
All participants will be given access to their personalised ‘MyProjectsAbroad’ online portal. This portal will provide project and destination specific information, including:
- Emergency contact information for in-country staff and local emergency services
- Your Volunteer Coordinator’s contact details
- Insurance policy
- Visa information
- Arrival procedures
- Full itinerary
- Country guide (incl. Food, culture, safety & travel advice specific to your destination)
- Packing list
- Invoice and payments
- Fundraising tips
- Accommodation information
- Placement information and resources
- Feedback forms
- Travel blog
- Project-specific Facebook group access
International Volunteer Advisor
The Volunteer Advisor is there to help volunteers at any point during the preparation process. If you have concerns or need advice about anything related to your placement or destination country, it’s simply a case of calling or emailing your personal advisor for a chat.
For organizers of group trips, there will be opportunities via Skype and email to get to know the Projects Abroad overseas staff before departure. Our overseas staff are employed full-time by Projects Abroad, and work at the Projects Abroad Office in your destination country. They will be there in-country to support your group throughout the trip. They are a wealth of local knowledge and are always happy to discuss host families, local safety tips, food, weather, and culture in more detail.
Flights, Visas, Insurance and Other Documents
We have a dedicated team of experts who are in contact with you in the lead up to your trip away.
The Travel Team can book airfares on your behalf, including domestic and international flights, and they will be on hand to make changes if need be. Once your dates have been confirmed, they will also arrange for your airport transfer.
The Insurance Team will confirm the start and end dates for your medical and travel insurance policy, which is provided by us as part of your project fee. They will provide you will your full policy statement after dates have been confirmed.
The Admin Team will provide you with the latest visa information appropriate to your destination, including advice about your nearest consulate and any supporting documents that you will need to provide. They will also get in contact to advise you about any police checks or medical checks required for your particular placement, and the appropriate channels to do so.
In the lead up to, and upon arrival, we take every care to ensure the group is comfortable, well-informed, active, and safe. This includes:
- Risk assessment review – project sites, accommodation, transport, and documentation will all be reviewed in the days leading up to arrival
- Pre-arrival preparation and review – all activities and arrangements are checked and the itinerary reviewed
- Meet and greet – local staff will collect the group from the airport and take them to their accommodation/li>
- Orientation – a thorough initial briefing including:
- Safety procedures and tips, preventing illness
- Tour of the local area
- Itinerary review
- Transport arrangements
- Problem solving
- Communications – local phones will be provided to group leaders
- Group coordinator – a dedicated coordinator to accompany the group at all times to act as problem solver, translator, and advisor
- Full time local staff – in addition to the group coordinator, the assistance of our full local team when required, 24/7
We believe that our in country support is unrivalled in their experience, commitment, and skills. The group is supported at all times by local people, supplemented by Projects Abroad staff in many countries, whose first priority is the welfare of the volunteers.