In all projects you will be provided with: Accommodation, Food, Training, 24/7 Support, Airport collection/ drop off, Informative welcome pack & clothing. In some of the long-term projects you may also receive an adventure package & a monthly allowance for your personal spending.
Where you stay during your time as a volunteer can have a huge impact on your ability to enjoy the experience. That's why all of our projects ensure that the accommodation they provide is safe, secure and comfortable. It might not be as plush as the Hilton Hotel, but it will be a place where you can relax and feel welcomed.
The type of accommodation depends very much on the project you are working with, but generally it will fall into one of the following categories:
Homestay – one of the best ways to immerse yourself in the local community, and also the quickest way to learn a new language if that's part of your challenge. You will be given your own room – although in some cases you may need to share with one other volunteer. Generally your main meals will be provided by the family, but you may be asked to prepare your own food at times – so dust off that Delia Smith book you got last Christmas and start reading up now!
Volunteer House – Some projects have property where all of their volunteers live together. These can be the most fun places to stay, and also the most diverse when you mix together several different cultures. You will generally find in these houses that you will share a room with another volunteer, and you will all need to cook for yourselves – you will never have realised how many things you can do with one can of beans until now!
Project Base – A few of our projects are fortunate enough to have rooms available in their project buildings. Where this is the case, they ensure that your accommodation is not accessible by any clients, and that all amenities are available to you just as if you were in a hostel. In this case, most meals are usually available in the project café.
Hostel – Where projects are unable to provide their own accommodation for you, your room will be booked into a local hostel close to the project base. We work with the project to ensure that the hostels used are clean, safe and secure. If you do find yourself staying in a hostel be sure to make the effort to get to know other residents – it's a great way to make new friends outside of your project, and maybe even to meet new travelling companions.
As outlined in the accommodation information, the provision of food depends largely on the project you are working for. In some cases all meals will be provided for you. Where this is not the case you will be provided with a weekly food allowance in order for to buy your food locally and cook for yourself.
Airport Pickup and drop off
When you arrive in your new country you will be met either by a member of Agapé staff, or by a member of staff from your project. Either way we will make sure there is someone to give you a warm welcome and guide you through the transport systems to your accommodation.
During your time with Agapé, we offer a series of training events, which aim to focus and encourage you in your service. Our training brings together experienced insights & knowledge of the voluntary sector, and utilises up to date project management skills to offer a training programme that is personal, pastoral & professional.
Our training is generally held via live online sessions so that we can fit the training around your schedule & location, we link you with other volunteers who are heading out on their adventures at a similar time so that you can begin to build up your new support network and hear from others in a similar situation to yourself. For team trips the training happens in one location over a period of one or two days with all the team present. The pre-departure training helps you to take time out to think through all the aspects of your adventure and to enbale you to prepare physically, mentally & emotionally for the experience ahead. As you prepare to leave your project we also support you with a briefing on reverse culture shock and the opportunities for you to stay involved.
For those coming to serve in Ireland we provide: On arrival training; Mid-service reviews (for those serving for more than 6 months); Final De-brief training.
For those serving overseas we provide: Pre-departure training and Re-orientation training.
As the overseas partners we work with all comply with the high standards of good practice in volunteering, they all offer additional training during your overseas experience. The contents of their orientation will vary depending on the focus of the project, some projects are also able to provide you with the opportunity to gain an accredited qualification which is a great bonus for your future career.
Agapé is also able to provide Child Protection training for those who will be working with children / vulnerable adults.
Agapé Adventures respects that each person is unique, and thus has different needs, and we endeavour to meet those genuine needs as effectively as we possibly can. We have an emergency support line that is available 24hours a day for the duration of each period of service, whether in Ireland or overseas.
We take time to listen to each individual, to question where appropriate, and to guide when asked. We have vast experience in pastoral care for all ages, and in varied settings. Should a situation arise which is beyond our experience and knowledge, we will always seek professional assistance from outside agencies with whom we maintain a close relationship in order to ensure the individual's involved are supported effectively.
Well, we couldn’t really be Agapé Adventures without extra Adventure could we?! As part of your experience, in the majority of our longer term projects, we give you the chance to take part in a range of different adventure activities.
We appreciate that everyone is different, and what might be an adventure to one person could be someone else's nightmare! Therefore we have come up with a range of different options to try and cater for most tastes.
For the adrenaline junkies – you could find yourself whitewater rafting down the rapids, or dangling off a rope on the side of a mountain (safely of course!), you might choose to go potholing or mountain biking. What ever your choice, you will certainly have a great laugh doing it!
For those who prefer a more relaxed approach to life, you could choose from options like horse riding along a beautiful beach or forest, painting classes amongst some amazing scenery, cookery classes in your host country's native cuisine, or music sessions.
The adventures will provide you with a break from your project, a chance to see your host country from a different perspective, and time to maybe live out a few dreams!
Volunteering is all about giving right?! Well, yes and no! Volunteering should be loads of fun for you too, and it's not so easy to get out and have fun unless you have a few pennies to spend! Agapé volunteers in selected long-term projects receive a stipend either on a weekly or monthly basis, which is purely for your own needs. You will be able to see from the project information whether or not a stipend is included.
Volunteering is about simple living, and so your stipend is calculated according to the local economy to ensure that you are not living above the standards of the local community around you