Will the country I’m going to be safe?

Despite all our destinations being generally safe and peaceful countries, Lattitude has a strong support network in place to ensure the safety of it's volunteer family throughout their experience away.

Starting here in NZ, we have pre-departure briefings to discuss safety & security issues, and how to mitigate any risks. All applicants are required to have both a GP signoff and an individual travel health specialist consultation prior to be considered 'fit for duty', and travel armed with the right medication and innoculations for their individual requirements. All volunteers are registered with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Upon arrival in-country, volunteers are met by our in-country Lattitude team, and will attend an orientation to begin the programme. This orientation has a particular focus on health & safety protocol, as well as cultural do's & don'ts, teaching skills classes, and much more.
Each placement has long-standing ties with Lattitude, and we have excellent relationships with the staff at all placements. Each placement has a 'host mentor', a staff member specifically allocated to attend to the needs of Lattitude volunteers on a daily basis. Also, of course, our Lattitude in-country teams are on-hand to support volunteers throughout the length of their placement, performing placement visits to spend time with the volunteers and ensure that everything is running smoothly, and are contactable 24/7, as are the staff based in New Zealand.
We appreciate the concerns you and your family may have, and hope we can work together to alleviate them as much as possible during the course of your preparations. This will start with a two-stage interview process, first with our staff here in NZ, followed by a Skype video call with our Country Manager based in your country of choice. During both of these interviews, parents/guardians are welcome to join in and learn more about the journey ahead. After you are deemed successful at interview level, you and your family will be invited to come in person to our pre-departure briefing seminar, during which,you will hear from our travel agents, travel insurance brokers, travel health specialists, returned volunteers, our NZ based staff, and also get to meet all the other NZ volunteers that you will travel to your chosen destination with.

What are my chances of being offered a placement?

Being a youth development charity, we endeavour to find a suitable placement for everybody, and therefore nearly all our applicants are successful. We have an in-depth application process that involves an interview to discover more about your interests and strengths, followed by a thorough matching system that finds the best available placement to challenge, engage and inspire you.

Do I get a say in which placement I am offered?

Yes. You’ll be asked to list up to four placement preferences on your application, and can modify these after your interview. Lattitude takes your preferences seriously, but also looks at where your individual skills and experience might be best utilised. We offer a wide variety of experiences but some are particularly popular, especially our Schools Assistant placements in the UK. Most of our applicants are offered their first preference, however if we are unable to offer you your first choice because it is already full or if your interviewer feels there is a more suitable option, we will discuss alternatives with you. Ensure you get your application form in before the Priority Application Deadline to maximise your chances to be selected for your 1st choice destination!

Where will I stay?

As part of the agreement with our placement hosts, your accommodation is included with your placement. Most often this will be on-site at your placement, for example you might have your own room in a school boarding house or a cabin at an outdoor activities camp. In some cases you may share an apartment with other volunteers near your placement. You may also have the opportunity to live with a host family in some countries and really learn about their culture from within. The quality of accommodation may vary from country to country; often the more developing countries provide accommodation that is quite basic.

Is my food included?

Your food is also included as part of the agreement with our placement hosts. The way in which your food is provided will vary according to your placement country and host. For example you may have access to an on-site canteen, receive an allowance to purchase and prepare your own food if in a self-contained apartment, or your meals may be supplied by your host family. In some of the more developing countries, such as Vanuatu and Malawi, food can be quite basic and may need be supplemented by additional supplies.

Can I go with a friend?

All applications are assessed separately because volunteers have better experiences when they’re matched to a placement that suits their individual skills and attributes. However if suitable, there is always the chance that friends may be offered placements in the same country.

Will I be the only volunteer at my placement?

This depends on the needs of your host. In nearly all cases you will be placed with another Lattitude volunteer or possibly with a team of volunteers; unless a host only needs one volunteer. Whatever happens, you will live and work alongside other young people.

Generally, in our less developed countries, volunteers are placed in teams of 2, 3 or 4, and in most instances Lattitude tends to work in safe, rural areas rather than large cities to mitigate risks. These village communities are small, insular and quite self-policing, and we find that the local inevitably go above and beyond to help us ensure the safety and comfort of our Lattitude volunteers.

What if I get sick?

To ensure you are covered if you happen to get sick, you will need to have comprehensive travel insurance which we can help to arrange. Some countries, such as the UK, also have reciprocal rights with New Zealand. Our hosts and in-country Lattitude representatives are always on hand as well and have a great deal of experience in supporting young New Zealand volunteers. In the instance of an emergency, Lattitude staff and your insurance provider will be able to assist you and make any arrangements you may require.  

All applicants are required to complete a medical questionnaire with their GP, and have an individual travel health specialist consultation prior to being considered 'fit for duty', and travel equipped with the right medication and innoculations (when necessary) for their individual requirements.

Will I receive any pocket money?

A small amount of pocket money may be supplied by our hosts for placements in developed countries. The amount may vary from placement to placement but will generally be enough to cover daily living expenses. In developing countries you may not receive pocket money as the local economy cannot always afford it; however your own savings will go a lot further.

I’m worried that if I take a year off, I won’t come back and study.

While it’s a common fear, in our experience the opposite is true! In a recent survey of returned volunteers, 94% had gone on to university or higher education and 78% agreed or strongly agreed that they felt re-energised and ready for further study as a result of their gap year. Additionally, a 2007 study by Curtain University confirmed that taking a gap year correlates with higher marks once students reach university.

How will I deal with any problems?

There is a large support network of Lattitude staff and representatives in all our countries. These people are there to help you, to be a friendly face and provide support as required. They will also visit you at your placement to check that all is well. There’s Lattitude New Zealand too – contact us if you need help. We have the following five levels of support available to every Lattitude volunteer:

  • Host Mentor – member of staff employed by the placement host that is your first point of contact.
  • Lattitude Local Representative – part-time or volunteer member of staff allocated to a placement as a local point of contact.
  • Lattitude Program Manager – volunteer or paid staff member with overall responsibility for you and your placement. This is your next point of contact if your Local Rep is unavailable.
  • Volunteer Coordinator - paid member of staff based in our Palmerston North office that is responsible for supporting the Program Manager, assisting you pre-departure and during your placement if required. This person is also the key contact for parents.
  • Lattitude New Zealand Manager – paid staff based in our Palmerston North office that deal with serious issues or formal complaints (some may also be passed on to the Lattitude CEO in the UK).

Can i volunteer overseas without incurring student loan interest?

Lattitude is an approved organisation for student loan interest exemption. Under the criteria set forth by the IRD, volunteering in the following destinations will allow you interest exemption: MALAWI, VANUATU, VIETNAM, ARGENTINA, CHINA, ECUADOR & FIJI.

What does your support structure look like?

Title  Role  When To Contact 
1  Host Mentor  Member of staff employed by the Placement Host. First point of contact for volunteers Day-to-day contact 
2 Lattitude Local Representative Part-time or volunteer member of staff allocated to a placement as a local point of contact  First point of contact at Lattitude for logistics or if there are practical difficulties at the placement 
3 Lattitude Country Manager  Either a volunteer or paid staff member who has overall responsibility for the placement and for the volunteer whilst on the placement  If the Local Rep is not available or for larger issues or difficulties 
4 Volunteer Coordinator in the New Zealand office  Paid member of staff responsible for supporting the PM and assisting volunteers pre-departure and should they be unable to solve an issue when overseas. Point of contact for parents  For all other issues or if the volunteer is unable to contact any of the above 
5 Lattitude Manager in New Zealand  New Zealand based Lattitude Director  Serious issues or formal complaints (some may also be passed on to the CEO in the UK) 

Can you help with fundraising?

Raising the funds to pay for your placement can seem daunting. However it’s reassuring to know that many young people have been in the same situation in the past and successfully raised the money they required. It can be hard work but it certainly is achievable, and the process of fundraising is an experience in itself! So where do you start?

  • Work out your budget - how much will you need; click here to find out more about the costs involved
  • Plan ahead - the sooner you start fundraising the more options you can try, and therefore the more you will raise
  • Approach prospective sponsors - think about why you are so passionate about volunteering overseas and write a letter to them
  • Stay positive - not everyone you approach will be able to support you. There are many causes in the world vying for people’s attention, persevere and you will raise some funds!

For further information, suggestions and ways in which Lattitude can help click here

How can I communicate with my son/daughter whilst they are on their placement?

With the ever growing access to the internet, there are many ways to stay in contact with your son/daughter wherever they are placed. On some placements, your son/daughter may have access to a phone or the internet and will not be far from a town where they can easily get access to both. You will also be able to contact your son/daughter's Country Manager in-country or their Volunteer Coordinator here in New Zealand, should you need to, as well as our 24/7 emergency phone line. And you can always write letters which can be a great way to communicate with your son/daughter in more remote areas and can add to their experience as well as being something they can keep forever. Obviously the exact communication channels will depend upon where they are placed, but we will inform you in advance of what is available and what previous volunteers have done

Where does the money go?

Lattitude Global Volunteering is a registered youth development charity and we work very hard to keep the costs of volunteering to a minimum. We do not make a profit out of our placements but we do have to cover the costs of staff, project administration, office administration and overseeing our programmes. The fee volunteers pay helps cover the cost of:

  • Processing applications and holding personal interviews nationwide.
  • Assigning a paid member of NZ staff to support them in pre-departure preparation.
  • Comprehensive interview and matching process.
  • Pre-departure events in the NZ, briefing materials and guides.
  • Food and accommodation for the duration of placements*
  • 3-5 day in-country orientation course.
  • In-country staff to support your child throughout the duration of their placement
  • Fully comprehensive support network for volunteer
  • Volunteer pocket money in SOME placements**
  • 24 hour telephone assistance.
  • Research and development of our partnerships with placements and hosts.
  • Running Debriefing session upon a volunteer's return.

*Food and accommodation provided by host in conjunction with Lattitude agreement. Some hosts in more poorly deprived areas may require extra money for food contribution (generally in Malawi, usually between $5-$15 a week). Volunteers are made aware of situations well in advance

**Pocket money provided by host in conjunction with Lattitude agreement. Available in some placements in better resourced countries such as those in Argentina, Ecuador, Canada, China, Ireland, Poland and the United Kingdom. Pocket money is not available in placements in developing countries. If volunteers are to receive pocket money they will be made aware in advance. It is entirely at the discretion of the host placement and what they can afford. It is not a ‘payment' or reflection of work done, however, we have established guidelines of appropriate allowance with our hosts.

Can i volunteer for a shorter duration over my summer break?

Yes. The shortest duration option we offer is in VIETNAM. This is an approx. 2 month English Tutor placement, which departs early December, and concludes in late January. VIETNAM also has the option of a 4 1/2  month placement, departing in both February and August.

How do i apply?

Click the Apply Now link on the left to download an application form. We have our Priority Application Deadline for the year detailed on the form, and applying before this date will give you priority selection in your country of choice. Many of our destination countries, in particular the UK/Ireland, reach capacity every year, and applying early will ensure you avoid disappointment. We DO accept late applications after this date, however, positions are subject to availability. If we receive your application after our allocated interview dates in your region, you may be interviewed via Skype rather than in person.