FAQs

1) How do I pay for the service trip?

For SAP210 Place-Based Service Learning travel courses: Financial aid can be used for course tuition and associated fees. 

For non-credit-bearing trips (example: Uganda): Unfortunately there are no scholarships for these trips; students are responsible for paying the entire trip cost. However, students have had great success in fundraising for part or all of their trip cost. The group will work on fundraising collectively. Further, the EHS Division offers an international service travel voucher program that's open to all EHS students; you can get an application from anyone in EHS.  We recommend that you start thinking about this early to ensure that you have a plan in place to pay for the trip.  We would be happy to discuss this with you, and we will spend time during our pre-departure meetings discussing fundraising ideas.


2) What is the process for applying?

First you must submit our application and sign up for an interview. After that, we will notify applicants if they have been accepted on the trip.


3) What happens if I don't get accepted?

These trips are extremely popular and, unfortunately, not everyone who applies will be accepted to come. If you are not accepted, we highly encourage you to apply again next year.


4) My family is concerned about the trip. How can I convince them to let me go?

It is certainly understandable that family members/friends may have concerns about you going on this trip. You can assure them that safety is our number-one priority for these trips, and that the college would not approve a trip to a location that they didn't deem safe. Realistically, there are risks associated with this type of trip but we will take every possible precaution to ensure that everyone has a fun and safe experience.


5) Are we going to get to do any touristy things while we are there?

Part of the experience (and fun) of these service trips is to get to know the culture that we are visiting. Therefore, we will spend time exploring the area, visiting tourist and historical locations, and getting to know the people who live in our host community.


6) What happens if I don't speak the local language?

While knowing the local language can certainly help deepen the experience, it is not a prerequisite for these trips. We will spend time during the pre-departure meetings practicing phrases in the local language, but not knowing the language should not be a deterrent.


7) I have food allergies/restrictions. What should I do?

Having food allergies/restrictions should not be an issue on these trips, as long as you communicate your needs clearly with the course/trip leaders. They will ensure that the host community is aware of your needs and meals can be planned accordingly. We always recommend that people bring snacks/comfort foods, even if they don't have any allergies. Having some items to rely on helps if you're having trouble adjusting to the new food. On many of the trips, we may eat food prepared by locals—you can expect that it will be very different than what you have in the dining hall!


8) Where are we going to be sleeping?

Sleeping arrangements vary per trip. On some trips, you might sleep outside on cots, while on others you might stay in a guesthouse that has bunk beds. On all of the trips, the accommodations are basic and likely more "rustic" than you experience at college.


9) How are we getting to the destination?

The international trips will require flying to the destination. Depending on the dates of your trip, you will either travel as a group to the airport or use your own transportation to the airport (such as getting a ride from a family member). Once at the airport, you will fly together to the destination. We will likely fly from Burlington, Montreal, Boston, or New York City. 


10) What are the commitments associated with being part of the trip?

For the SAP 210 Place-Based Service Learning course: there will be 2-3 pre-trip meetings to discuss trip logistics. 

For the Uganda trip: Once you are accepted to go on the trip, you will begin having pre-departure meetings. Generally, these begin before Winter Break and continue weekly until your trip leaves. The purpose of these 1.5-2 hour meetings is to: bond as a group, have meaningful conversations about service/international work/etc., plan and execute group fund aising projects to benefit your host organization, learn about the culture you will be visiting, and prepare for the logistics of the trip. As part of those meetings, you will be asked to give a 5-10 minute presentation on a topic about the country you are visiting, such as political structure, health, poverty, or business. These weekly pre-departure meetings are mandatory. Additionally, you will be expected to plan and participate in group fund raising projects for your host organization. Each trip will have a different fundraising goal that will benefit the organization with which you will be working. We will also have an overnight retreat where the group will continue getting to know one another and to prepare for the trip. This will also be mandatory, and we will work to find a date that fits everyone's schedule.


11)  Do I need prior volunteer experience?

While prior volunteer experience is not required, it is recommended. We want to set our students up for success on these trips, and having past volunteer and/or travel experience may help a student have a better sense of what they are getting into.  However, please don't hesitate to apply if you are interested in participating in one of these trips, regardless of past experience.


12) What are you looking for in an applicant?

There are several things we look for when interviewing students for these trips. First, we want to know that you are interested in and dedicated to the service aspect of this trip. We are not just going on a tourist trip, and it is important that people are ready to give of themselves and work hard. Further, we want to get a sense that you work well in groups. A huge component of these trip experiences is the group aspect. We will be spending 24/7 together for the duration of the trip, and we want to make sure that people will be respectful, open, kind, and collaborative. These trips are often emotionally and physically taxing (and even draining at times), and we want to ensure that students are prepared for that as best as they can be. To that end, we will be looking for maturity, flexibility, and a passion for what we'll be doing. Lastly, we love to accept students who will keep a positive attitude and have fun.


13) Can I apply if I am going abroad?

You will need to be on campus during the Spring semester of your trip so that you can attend the pre-departure meetings. However, if you are abroad during the Fall semester you can apply from there. We will conduct our interview over Skype (if possible) and, if accepted, you will join the group at our first pre-departure meeting of the Spring semester. (We have also Skyped people in for the first group meeting before Winter Break so that they wouldn't miss anything.)

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