Volunteering frequently asked questions about volunteering
Welcome to the section of SCI workcamp frequently asked questions. If you ave more questions, please contact us directly, we would love to help.
What is a volunteer camp?
An international volunteer camp or “workcamp” is a project from 7 days to 3 weeks where volunteers from different origins and cultures support a project of community interest, in the social, environmental or cultural field. Volunteers from 18 to 99 years old can participate although there are also camps for youth and families. The fields are divided into two programs:
EUROPE AND MORE
- European countries, Armenia, China / Hong Kong, South Korea, the United States, Japan, Malaysia and Turkey.
- Countries located in Africa, Asia or Latin America.
- It is necessary to be 20 years old on the day the field begins and attendance at a training cycle is compulsory.
How do I apply for a volunteer camp?
Following the instructions given in the Camp Finder section. Please note that the procedures change depending on the destination.
What are the requirements?
You must be:
- A resident of Spain (except if you live in Catalonia, Valencia or the Balearic Islands, because in this case the SCI Catalunya branch corresponds to you)
- Over 18 years old (although there are some projects for youth and families).
- A member of the Madrid International Civil Service (€ 40) and pay the participation fee of the volunteer field (€ 90)
When can you participate in a camp?
Although most of the volunteer camps are between the months of June to September, you can find camps throughout the year.
Where are the volunteer camps?
The volunteer camps are developed in more than 60 countries.
Is volunteering just work?
To complete the experience there will also be a theoretical session on the subject that you discuss in your camp. Free time is also an essential part, as it is time to enjoy together, socialise with colleagues and open up to the local community.
How much does it cost?
Every camp has fees of 130 euros, which consists of a SCI Madrid membership fee (40 euros) and a field participation fee (90 euros). See our payment and refund policies for more information.
- In the North-South projects, a solidarity fee must be paid to the host organisation to help with accommodation and living expenses as well as to collaborate with the local project.
- The journey to and from the camp is always at your own expense (organisation, costs, expenses of date changes or cancellation …).
In the North-South camps, why do I have to pay a solidarity fee?
The projects of the North-South Program are in countries in a serious socio-economic situation, and have scarce resources. Without the financial contribution of the volunteers, these camps could not go ahead and your fee goes to other local projects as well.
What is the North South training?
North-South training is an essential requirement to participate in the program in all countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America (except Armenia, China / Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Malaysia and Turkey). We try to do more than one training each spring, but we cannot repeat it continuously throughout the year. If you still haven’t decided if you want to go or not, we recommend that you do the training just in case.
What language is spoken in a volunteer camp?
The working language is usually English. Otherwise, it is always specified in the field description. For example, Spanish is spoken in the Latin American camps. We remind you that language will be the communication tool you use, so if you do not have a very high level, we recommend that you give a review of your knowledge of the language, as it will make the experience much more enjoyable.
What is the accommodation like in a volunteer camp?
Accommodation is specified in the description of each volunteer camp. It varies a lot: tents, youth hostels, conditioned community spaces. It is usually simple conditions.
I am a person with a disability, can I participate?
Yes. Although not all, many projects are specially designed to receive people with disabilities. It is specified in the description. And if not, ask us. We will do our best to find a project that suits your interests and special needs.
Can I go in a group?
Unfortunately at SCI we do not accept groups. The camps are intended for individuals who want to meet people from different countries work together on a community project. To maximise variety, no more than two people from the same country are accepted unless the total number of volunteers is really large.
Can I go with my friend / partner?
In Service Civil International we try to ensure that in each volunteer camp there are a maximum of two volunteers of the same nationality. In the case of couples or two friends, we can look for a camp that will accept both of you, but you are less likely to find a camp. Therefore, volunteers are advised to apply for six field options, to increase their chances of being chosen.
Are there camps for family or volunteers with children?
Some camps are prepared to host families with children or a father / mother with children. Although the offer is lower and is usually limited to some countries. We recommend filtering the search engine to only show camps for families and children.
Are there camps for minors?
Some projects are able to take on 16 and 17 year old volunteers. To find these camps, you have to enter the camp search engine, in the options tab and select the filter “International volunteers under 18”. To participate you will need signed consent from your legal guardians and a permit for minors to go abroad.
Am I insured during the activity?
SCI insures the participants in its volunteer activities. The journey is not insured in any case. Previous or chronic illnesses are also not covered. On many occasions there are volunteers who stay for longer in the country traveling on their own. We recommend this experience, but it is important to highlight that that SCI insurance only covers the days of the camp.
How will I know that I have been given a place?
We will notify you by email. For this reason, it is very important that when you register, you put down an email account that you check regularly.
How do I get to the project?
Once accepted onto a project, you will receive a route guide a month before the start of the camp, with complete travel and transport information so that you can get to the camp by your own means. The trip is organised by you.
When should I arrive?
The day of arrival is the first day of the camp. For example, in a camp from 1st July to 15th July, day 1 is the day of arrival and day 15 is the day of departure. We recommend that you take the first journey available on the first camp day and the last available on the final camp day.
Can I leave before the camp ends?
Your commitment is to participate from the first to the last day. Leaving early alters the dynamics of the camp and you would also miss the farewell party.
What happens to the fees I have paid if you cannot find a place for me?
We refer you to our Payment and returns policy to see our payment conditions.
Can I not reject a place in a camp when it has been offered to me?
If you have requested a camp through the system and it is offered to you, we wait for your confirmation. In the event that you do not confirm it and decide to choose another camp, we need you to justify the change of mind. In the event that the causes of non-acceptance are justified, we will proceed to request your next place on the list.
What if I decide not to participate in the volunteer camp when I have already accepted?
If you cancel your participation, for whatever reason, when you already have a place assigned, the fees will not be refunded. SCI is not responsible in any case for travel expenses. We refer you to our Payment and returns policy for more information.
What if a camp is canceled?
It is truly exceptional, even if it has happened to us. In the event that a camp is canceled, we will do our best to find a similar viable alternative: another camp in the same country, with similar dates and themes. If this is not possible, SCI will refund your participation fee of 90 euros. If you have already bought your travel ticket and want to cancel it, SCI is not responsible in any case for travel expenses. We are a small volunteer organisation that cannot bear these circumstances. We refer you to our Payment and returns policy for more information.