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Volunteer abroad, Gap year in Warsaw


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If you are looking for a summer job or a gap year, voluntary work abroad may be the perfect way to gain valuable experience abroad. With a volunteer project you will get professional and personal experience, and improve your career prospects. An experience abroad will also allow you also to learn about another culture and encourage personal development, co-operation, tolerance and open-mindedness.

There are many organisations who will help place you in the perfect work experience job. We will give a list of different organisations throughout this article, focusing on volunteer organisations.

You will find more information on summer jobs, holiday jobs or internship abroad in our other articles on the left column of this page. You will find also details on visa and health insurance in those sections.

What is a volunteer job

Voluntary services are offered by choice - it is not mandatory or coerced. It contributes to the well-being of an individual or the community, and is usually coordinated by a non-profit or public sector organization, and does not pay any salary or wage (although you may have your expenses covered).

Voluntary work is often equated with unpaid work, and people who contribute their time and energy freely to build a better community don't necessarily get the support systems and recognition they deserve. However regarding people working as volunteers during their summer holiday, they will get accommodation and often a small amount of money for their personal care.

The European Voluntary Service (EVS)

The European Voluntary Service (EVS) is a European Union programme, set up by the European Commission in early 1996. It offers young people (between 18 and 25) the opportunity to work as a volunteer for six to twelve months in a non-profit project abroad. Three partners are the key partners of an EVS project: the volunteer, the sending organisation and the host organisation.
The European Commission take in charge the travel costs for the young, the insurance (health, accident, public liability) and provides a monthly allowance from 140 to 220 euros.

How to proceed: Find a sending organisation that will assist you individually along the procedure (you can find contacts through you National Agency, your National Coordinator or international volunteer organisations). Start contacting potential host organisations through your sending organisation. Keep your fingers crossed and persevere in your search as the difficulty is not to find a suitable project, but to find a project ready to host you within the time limit you have planned.

You can have a look at the European database on accredited host organisations and the Youth organisations.

More information also on the website http://www.britishcouncil.org

Volunteering in Poland

There are many opportunities to volunteer in Poland. Below are some useful links to websites and organizations specialized in voluntary work, cooperation and development:

    • http://www.volunteerabroad.com - international portal, offers a list of volunteer programs around the globe, including Poland
    • http://europa.eu/youth/volunteering_-_exchanges/ A whole section devoted to volunteering on European Youth Portal, useful information and list of volunteer opportunities in Poland
    • http://www.pah.ngo.pl/1987.html Polish Humanitarian Organisation, This organisation helps communities in crisis, both in Poland (e.g. flooded regions) and abroad (some of the projects were carried out in Chechnya and Afghanistan). Discover what you can do and who to contact if you want to volunteer. There is some information available in Dutch, English, French and Spanish.
    • http://www.habitat.pl Habitat for Humanity Poland, In this international, Christian foundation dedicated to building houses for the poor, volunteers work in a wide range of activities. Identify your local office under the links section. On the Warsaw and Wroclaw site, you can fill in an online application.
    • http://www.wolontariat.katolik.pl Jesuit European Volunteers. This 10 month voluntary programme is addressed to people aged 19-26 years . You'll be working with people in need - children, mentally and physically challenged or homeless.
    • http://wolontariat.ngo.pl Portal for volunteers. Whole portal dedicated to volunteering. Read about the legislative status of a volunteer and the tips for potential volunteers. There is also some basic information in English.
    • http://www.brat-siostra.org Big Brother, Big Sister, If you are over 18 and can dedicate at least two hours each week during the school year to a child or a teenager in your neighbourhood, join this international programme.

World Wide Voluntering (http://www.worldwidevolunteering.org.uk) is a search database with nearly 1000 voluntary organisations, in 214 countries worldwide.

NVOs

The website http://www.pozytek.gov.pl is the internet service of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy. Â It aims to serve all those who are interested in the implementation of the idea of civil society and the development of the public benefit work in Poland. Provides useful links and a list of NGOs in Poland.

Insurance

No matter where you go and for how long, it is prudent to subscribe to a travel insurance. This is especially even more important for 'exotic' countries where the chances of falling sick are relatively higher. Below are some companies that offer travel insurances. You can browse the internet for more options.

Make sure also that you have a current passport and valid visa as necessary.

You might also look at our other articles on Summer Jobs and Internship abroad on the left column of this page.

Update 17/04/2008


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