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Q&A FOR LATIN AMERICA
Are vaccinations required?

Please understand that AMPED does not retain any medical professionals on staff. All participants are, therefore; required to consult a travel physician prior to the start of their project.

Passport Health (www.passporthealth.com) is a recommended resource.

Can I stay with a friend?

Yes, arrangements can be made for you and a friend

Can I volunteer more hours or volunteer on the weekends?

Sure this is possible in some countries. Speak with AMPED’s Latin America Program Manager to learn which countries apply.

Do I have to take the Spanish lessons offered?

The Spanish lessons are free and therefore of no cost to you. They are only required if you do not meet the requisite Spanish level for your project/host country. If you have any doubt, please speak with the Latin America Program Manager before booking your placement.

Do I need a mosquito net?

Conservation projects may require that you have a mosquito net.

Do I need a passport or visa?

Currently, citizens of the United States and the United Kingdom are only required to have a passport to travel to most countries in Latin America. Please keep in mind these requirements are subject to change without notice and are beyond AMPED’s control. Therefore; it is each participant’s responsibility to research the tourist entrance requirements for their chosen host destination by contacting the embassy or consulate’s office.

Note: AMPED does not provide visa assistance services.

Do I need travel insurance?

Yes, medical/travel insurance is required and it may be purchased through Travel Protectors. Phone 877.515.9055 or email info@travelprotectors.com.

Do you accept groups or families?

Absolutely! Please contact our Latin America Program Manager to find out which destinations and projects are best suited for groups and families.

Do you have to be from the US or UK to participate?

No, AMPED accepts volunteers from all corners of the world provided they meet the eligibility requirements and are able to secure the appropriate travel documents.

Does my host family speak English?

Come on! Live a little! The beauty of having a cultural immersion experience is learning the language and culture of another country. While some families may speak a small amount of English as a result of having hosted volunteers over the years, it is better to assume that your host family will only speak their native language.

Electrical outlets?

Please refer to your placement information for specific details.

How are the host families selected?

There are many criteria taken into consideration for the selection of our host families, including:

Interviews - Our in-country partners will conduct home visits to ensure the accommodations are suitable for hosting volunteers as well as to get a feel for whether the family is a good fit for the program.

Personal references - Many of the cities where our projects are located have a small town atmosphere. Residents are familiar with the reputations of individuals in their surrounding community.

Experience - Previous experience with hosting volunteers. The majority of our host families have served as hosts to visitors from around the world for many years.

How do I contact my family and friends?

You may stay in touch with your family or friends via cell phone or internet.

Internet cafes are within walking distance of our in-country partner offices. And in some cases, you may be able to logon at our office. Just be sure to ask the staff for permission first.

You can call your family by purchasing and international phone card while in country. You may also use your cell phone in some countries provided your phone is equipped with an international SIM card.

How do I get to my project?

Most projects are usually within walking distance, or easily accessible by bus or taxi. Travel time may vary according to the destination selected.

Bus stops are conveniently located near the accommodations and projects.

The first day of your project your in-country coordinator will accompany you to the project site to show you how to get to your project, as well as introduce you to the project director with whom you will discuss your volunteer responsibilities.

How do I get to the airport when it’s time to return home?

While participants are responsible for arranging their transportation to the airport, our in-country staff will be more than happy to help you with scheduling a taxi to the airport.

*Transportation to the airport is not included in the program fee.

How long are your placements?

We can arrange 2-12 week volunteer placements. While a one week placement is possible for some destinations, it is not encouraged as we have found that it takes at least 2 weeks for participants to become immersed in a project, as well as to develop a sense of connection and ownership. Internship placements require a 4 week minimum, or longer for some projects.

How much does it cost for laundry services?

The cost and type of services available vary from country to country. Please refer to your placement information upon receipt.

How much is it to take a taxi or bus?

While taxi and bus fares are usually very reasonable, this information varies from country to country. Please refer to your placement information upon receipt.

How much money do I need?

That depends on the individual. The general rule of thumb is to budget an additional $50-100 per week.

Is it possible to arrange for vegetarian or vegan meals?

Yes, special dietary needs can be accommodated where meals are included in the program fee. Be sure to note your dietary needs in your application so that appropriate arrangements can be made.

Is the water safe to drink?

Since sanitation systems in developing countries are not as advanced as they are in the western countries. It is advised that participants purchase bottled drinking water while in-country.

Is there someone to supervise my work?

There is a project director at each site that will be responsible for supervising your work.

What about safety?

While countries in Latin America are relatively safe in comparison to many other developing nations, there are issues with pick pocketing and petty theft.

You can rest assure we take every precaution possible to make sure our volunteers are placed within a safe environment. In addition, as is the case with traveling anywhere that is not familiar, volunteers should exercise routine caution. The following are some basic guidelines for volunteers to follow when traveling abroad.

  1. Travel with a group of friends rather than alone, especially at night.
  2. Do not carry large sums of money on your person
  3. Do not take/wear expensive or flashy jewelry
  4. If you leave for the weekend, be sure to inform your in-country coordinators and host family about your plans and where you are going
  5. Listen to and follow to the advice of the in-country staff. As citizens of the country, they have the lay of the land, and they know what is best.

In-country safety practices are further reinforced and expounded upon during arrival orientation.

What are the age requirements to participate?

Participants must be at least 18 years of age.

What do I need to pack?

In addition to an open mind, the following is a general packing list.

Clothing
4 pairs of underwear
4 pair of socks
4 T-shirts
2 long sleeve shirts
3 pairs of pants
2 pairs of shorts
swimsuit or board shorts
Equipment
backpack
water bottle
camera
binoculars
ziploc bags
journal
Toiletries
bathroom kit
towel
sunblock
insect repellent
first-aid kit

For some projects, such as conservation projects, more project specific items may be required.

What do volunteers do on weekends?

There is any number of things to see and do while in-country, and each destination has something unique to offer. That is why we have included a few suggestions in your placement information.

What does the program fee include?

While it varies by destination, the program fee for most countries includes three meals per day, accommodations, and airport pick-up. You should confirm program fee inclusions by reviewing AMPED’s website and speaking with the Latin America Program Manager.

What if I get sick?

Hospitals and/or clinics are located within a convenient and reasonable distance from the accommodations and projects.

What if I want to donate items to my project?

When donating items to your project, we suggest waiting to purchase the items in-country (especially medical supplies) as it usually cheaper to purchase the items in-country and it saves you the trouble of trying to fit everything in your luggage. In addition, you may be required to pay taxes in order to have the items released from customs. Again, this can be particularly difficult when it comes to medical supplies.

What is the average age of volunteers?

The average age demographic for Latin America is 18-26 years of age. Of course, the more people the merrier. All that meet the eligibility requirements are welcome to participate.

What is the weather like?

Please visit worldclimate.com for specific details regarding your chosen destination.

When do your programs begin?

Volunteers can begin their projects the first or third Monday of any month according to availability. For example, some projects may not be available during the Christmas holiday season and prospective participants wishing to teach English in a school must be mindful of the school calendars in Latin America. Our Latin America Program Manager will be more than happy to assist you concerning the availability of projects.

Who will meet me at the airport?

Our in-country coordinator or a designated representative will meet you at the airport upon arrival. He or she will meet you in the baggage claim area or just outside the airport after you have gone through customs. You will see him or her holding a sign with your name.

Will I be volunteering alone?

Usually, there are one to two other participants per project site, especially during the busy season - May to August for Latin America.

Again, don’t let that stop you. This is a great opportunity for you to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience with the fellas or your gal pals. Call them up and invite them to come along.

Will I have any free time?

The evenings and weekends are designated as free time for volunteers to explore the local scene or see other parts of the country.

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