Supporting you

Supporting you

VSO offers you support before, during and after your volunteer placement.


Before you go overseas, we’ll provide extensive training to prepare you for your role and for the changes you’ll experience.

Training for living and working in your placement usually takes place in three stages: personal preparation training and work-focused training before you go, then in-country training on arrival in your placement country.

The online pre-departure training usually takes three weeks, while the face-to-face training takes 3.5 days. It also explains how to make the most of your learning opportunities during your placement, and how to maximise your understanding of the country and the development opportunities and challenges it faces.

Personal support

Our local country office will meet you on your arrival in country and organise a briefing and further training. Although your primary relationship will be with your employer, the country office is always there to help with major personal, medical or security problems.

Your induction course can last from one to 12 weeks depending on the length of language training provided by your programme. It covers everything from medical and security procedures to language training to country-specific information.

Financial support

While people tend to volunteer with us because they want to make a difference, not because they want to make a mint, we believe you shouldn’t lose money volunteering with VSO. We’ll cover travel costs like flights, medical insurance and day-to-day living expenses while overseas.

What we cover:

  • Medical cover and required immunisations and anti-malarials
  • Your training, including accommodation and food whilst on residential training weekends
  • One return flight to get you to, and home from, your placement
  • Accommodation whilst in your placement
  • An allowance to cover your basic living expenses whilst overseas

What you need to cover:

  • Medical examination with your GP and a dental check up
  • Personal effects insurance
  • Any professional memberships and registrations


We ask volunteers to contribute to the costs of their placements by doing some fundraising. This process has a double impact for us: it provides much-needed cash to keep our overseas programmes in action, and it also presents an invaluable opportunity to raise VSO’s profile in the community. By asking people to support you, you’re also introducing them VSO and the unique way we work.

Don’t worry if you’ve never fundraised before. We’ll give you fundraising advice, support and resources and run a fundraising workshop.

Professional support

A volunteer placement brings added professional development whether at the start or end of your career. It will stretch your professional capabilities, bringing more responsibility earlier in your career than you would have at home and for those nearing retirement will give them the opportunity to use their skills in a unique and special way.

We take your professional development seriously. Before you go overseas, you’ll undergo a programme of online and residential training.

On your return, we’ll provide you with information for re-employment and careers advice to help you settle back in your home country.