What is the appropriate time to join RCDP programs?
You can join RCDP program at any time. RCDP volunteers programs are available thorough out the year for 1-12 weeks and our programs starts from the 2nd and 4th Mondays of each month enabling you to join in anytime as per your convenience.
How can I get to the site from the Airport?
RCDP offers airport receive and transfer services to volunteers. One of our staff members will be waiting to receive you at the airport terminal. Our representative will be holding a placard with your name. Please do not forget to send your flight itinerary at least 4 weeks prior to your departure. If you couldn't arrange your flights according to your projected date, please let us know in-advance. And you will find contact details and location maps in your pre-departure guidebook.
What should I do if my flight is delayed? Where should I contact if I get lost? Is there an emergency number?
In case of delay of flights, please go directly to our contact hotel. The details of contact hotel will be given in your placement sheets. Alternatively, you can call our coordinators. The telephone numbers of our country coordinator and emergency contacts are available in pre-departure guidebook.
If I arrive early, where can I stay?
If you are arriving more than one day prior to your voluntary program, we suggest you to stay in local hotel. Please contact our coordinators from your hotel.
BEFORE I DEPART FOR MY VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
Do I need a visa? What do I have to do to obtain VISA for my volunteering country?
All foreigner travelers need VISA. You need a valid passport including two passport size photos and VISA fee. Though, it is possible to get tourist visa for Nepal and Sri Lanka upon arrival, we strongly suggest volunteers to get VISA in their home country especially if you are traveling to India . It saves your time and hassles. The VISA for Tibet can only be obtained from Chinese consulate. Please contact us, if you need any further information on getting the VISA and you can also find more information in the pre-departure guidebook.
Is there any other important information that I should be aware of before arriving at my destination country?
Make sure that you get arrival/departure stamps on your passport at the entry/exit points to avoid further legal complications. Please do not seek support from any unauthorized person. Please don't take out the VISA stickers from your passport and do not try to tamper printed matters in the passport.
What health precautions should I take?
This depends on what vaccinations you already have used and what country you are travelling to. It is better to consult a travel doctor from your country before you arrive. (NOTE: Some vaccinations are needed as much as 2 months before arrival). Asia is not unsafe but it is better to update your preventive inoculations. Injections against meningitis, tetanus, hepatitis B, typhoid, and cholera are recommended. Vaccination against rabies (which is quite rampant for travelers) is also suggested but it is too bothersome and expensive to be worth the trouble. Please beware of the street dogs and monkeys.
In addition to your local resources, you can find more information on required or recommended immunizations and precautions:
Centers for Disease Control & Prevention ( www.cdc.gov )
1600 Clifton Road, NE
Atlanta , GA 31333
(888) 232-3299 - fax information service
Health Canada Online ( www.hc-sc.gc.ca)
Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade and Travel Report ( www.voyage.gc.ca)
U.S. State Department & Consular Information Sheets
2201 C Street NW
Washington , DC 20520
Travel Health Online ( www.tripprep.com)
What type of medicines should I bring with me?
As said "Prevention is better than Cure," it's highly recommended that you bring medicines for common illness like nausea, vomiting, cold and flu. Though there are many pharmacy shops in most of the countries, it's worth carrying at times which comes handy in situation. some basic medicinal stuff like insect repellent, sunscreen, lip balm, eye drops, bandages, and so on are recommended Up set Stomach?
Many travelers to Nepal, India, Tibet, and Sri Lanka are likely to get stomach problems at some point during their visit. Due to the climate change and diet, you may face stomach pain. See health guidelines under "Dining and Drinking" to lessen the chances of acquiring diarrhea. But if you do get it, the most effective remedy is to fast for a day and drink plenty of water or any liquid. You can find effective medicines against Amoebal Diarrhea in any drug store. Carry some with you when you go away on hiking or walking or trekking.
We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance. First, of course, if you already are insured at home, you should check with your insurance to see what kind of coverage, if any, you will have while abroad. RCDP does not offer insurance. Here are some links for your reference:
Beta Insurance - For students and faculty
CMI - For students and non-students
CISI - Students
Patriot Insurance - Available to all
Multi-National Underwriters - Available to all
Why is RCDP different from other volunteer organizations?
In RCDP, we specialize in volunteer abroad programs; we offer custom projects, professional services, and meaningful volunteering experience. Our volunteer fees are highly affordable and at the same time, we never compromise with our programs. So in a very less amount of money, you have access to high quality volunteering opportunities.
What kinds of volunteers do we work with? From where do our volunteers come from?
RCDP has worked with universities and colleges, other organizations and clubs, church groups, youth groups, and families. You will be working along with other international volunteers from USA, Canada, Australia, UK and Europe. RCDP has partnership with more than 25 international volunteer organizations from around the world.
Do I need to speak a foreign language to join RCDP's programs?
Except for the ability to speak English, no other language proficiency is required. You can join our two weeks language and cultural training programs to learn some basic language skills and ways of life before joining your volunteering projects.
Do I need any prior experience to volunteer?
No prior experience is required to volunteer in our programs. Most projects do not require any experience except for health related programs where medical qualified volunteers are required due to the risks involved. But volunteers are required to have a desire to help the people and environment of Asia. Be flexible, have self-motivation and openness to a new culture and a willingness to learn is what we expect. It is important that volunteers are eager to learn about the country and its culture, enjoy working with young people, and be open-minded.
How many volunteers are there in each group?
Our program starts on first and third Monday of each month. Depending up on seasons, we receive 5-25 volunteers in each starting day.
Will there be any volunteers present during orientation time?
RCDP receives 10-50 volunteers a month. Most of the long-term volunteers join the language and culture program. So, it is highly likely that you may meet some other volunteers during orientation.
Can I bring a friend with me to the volunteering program, or can I come as couples? Will it be possible for us to stay together?
Of course, we allow people to come with friends, as couples or even in large groups. We try our best to place them in the same host family and project. Please remind that two different genders of volunteers are not allowed to stay in the same house, unless they are married couples or engaged.
Can I join more than one project at one time?
To give an additional volunteer experience and benefit to the needy communities, RCDP allows you to work in more than one project. In this context, please speak with our in- country coordinator and he will be happy to make necessary arrangements to make this happen.
How long can I stay in a volunteer abroad program? And can I extend my stay?
RCDP programs are available for 2-12 weeks. Our programs begin on the first and third Mondays of each month. If you wish, you can extend your volunteering period, provided that there is availability in the project. This can be arranged through your coordinator with some additional amount.
If I am dissatisfied with my volunteering placement, will it be possible for me to change locations?
RCDP will consider the request to move to a different location very seriously, and in many cases, it is possible to change the working areas to better meet the expectation of the volunteers. However, we cannot change positions frequently without genuine, sufficient reasons.
What happens if I decide not to stay for the entire duration of the program?
Once the volunteer makes a decision and pays the program fee, upon receipt of invoice, RCDP will not refund any fee under any circumstances.
Do I need to arrange for a place to stay before I arrive?
RCDP manages food and accommodation from the very first day to the last day of the program. For the volunteers who arrive earlier or who want to stay longer, it is not possible to offer extra accommodation or food. In this case, RCDP will help volunteers to find a good and cheaper place for food and accommodation.
What is the living condition in my placement? Do the people speak English?
You will be placed in the village, urban, or sub-urban areas according to your project . The living condition of your placement depends on the area. One should not expect luxurious accommodations. You will be placed with a host family or hostel setting with a separate room. But in some condition, you will have to share your room too but it is rather rare. Most placements have electricity and if electricity is an asset it can be arranged. Our host families are mostly educated, well respected in society, and experienced with international students. Some members of host families may speak English. Mostly in orphanage placements volunteers stay with kids.
Are there any special items that I should bring that I may not have thought of?
Do not forget to bring mosquito net, first aid kit, sleeping bag, your necessary additional diet, medication and sun block. Please find more details on what to bring in pre-departure guidebook.
What are the bathrooms and laundry facilities like?
Bath room and toilet facilities are very limited in developing countries. Please read the details in pre-departure guidebook.
Can special diets be accommodated?
We can accommodate for vegetarian people but we can not manage special diets. You will be served freshly cooked meals three times a day.
Should I bring some extra money?
We manage food and accommodation for volunteers from the first to final day of program, so you won't need extra (lots of) money. You may need some extra money if you plan on taking part in activities outside the organization or if you just want to buy some souvenirs. You must also remember the VISA fee depending on the length of your stay, if you plan to obtain VISA upon arrival. Please find visa fee details in pre-departure guide. There is also an airport tax, which you need to pay upon your departure, details costs are given in the pre-departure guide.
Where and how do I exchange my money?
All major banks in Nepal, India, Tibet, and Sri Lanka change convert international currencies into local currency. There is an exchange counter in the airport for you to start off. The US dollar is the most widely accepted currency. Don't exchange more money than necessary for usage in the next couple of days because exchanging local currency back to hard currency is not easy: it can be done only at the airport before you leave, and only a certain fraction of what you originally exchanged into local currency can be re-converted.
Please retain your exchange receipts in order to apply for visa extension and re-conversion of left-over local currency when you leave the country.
What about the credit cards?
Many tourist trades have started accepting payments in credit cards. It is, however, a fairly recent phenomenon, and cards other than VISA and MasterCard may not be accepted in most places. Remember that usage of credit cards in developing countries can cost you an extra three to five percent in transaction costs.
Are there ATM machines?
Many commercial banks have installed ATM machines in major part of the cities but you may or may not be able to draw money from these machines depending upon the type of machine.
How do I get access to more funds if I get strapped with money?
You can draw funds against your American Express, MasterCard or VISA cards in Asia. The service premiums for doing this, however, are pretty steep. But, we strongly recommended you that please consult with our in-country coordinator.
Will I have access to communications such as e-mail, telephone, and post office?
This all depends on your placement. Almost all placements will have access to a Post Office. If you are in a city placement there are many places in which you can use phone or access e-mail. But this information will all be given in your pre-departure guidebook or placement.
How can I contact my family in case of emergency while I am in my project?
RCDP in-country coordinator monitors the safety of volunteers 24/7. In the event of an emergency, please call our in-country coordinator and they will instantly help you to contact your family or refer to the Emergency.
Will I have time to explore during my language and culture program?
There will be plenty of time for you to explore the local areas during orientation. RCDP offers full day of guided tour as a part of the language program.
How can I familiarize myself with the country I will be traveling to?
Once you complete the registration process, you will receive a volunteer pre-departure guidebook which includes a short-introduction to the country and region you will be traveling to. Other sources of information can be found at your local library, bookstore, or on-line. Please visit our link page for great websites that will help you get ready for your volunteering experience.
Will I have any free time during my project period?
Definitely, volunteers mostly work 30-40 hours a week in most of the project. In the free time, you can explore the country.
How far in advance should I book my volunteer program?
It is better to book your volunteer program well in advance to reserve your placement. It is advised that you book at least two months in advance and allow yourself plenty of time for final arrangements.
Will I get a discount if I join RCDP volunteer programs for the second time?
We offer reasonable discount (up to 10-15%) for small group (at least 4 people), family, and college groups. We do not have individual discount plan.
How do I make payments for my program fee? What forms of payment do you accept?
You can pay your program fee either by wire transfer or by using major credit cards.
Once you pay the program deposit ($150), you can pay remaining program fee up on arrival in the country Kathmandu (for Nepal and Tibet ) and Delhi (for India ). Volunteers joining Sri Lanka program need to make full payment in our Kathmandu office.
Will my personal information be protected? Is my money safe?
What is your refund policy?
We will refund 70% of your total program fee excluding registration and bank charges if you cancel less than 4 weeks prior to the start date of your placement. Similarly, you will receive a 50% refund if you cancel your placement less than 2 weeks prior to your start date. There will not be any refund if you cancel your placement less than 7 days before you start or after you begin your placement.
Are there any extra costs?
During your volunteering period, you will be provided food, accommodation, training, project equipment and support. The only extra money you will need will be to spend for yourself and if you think of buying some gifts and souvenirs for your host family. Our program fee does not include flights, departure tax, travel insurance, internal transfers, and any other medical inoculations.
Can I fundraise?
Yes, with prior planning and hard work you can raise all the money for your volunteer expeditions. We can also send you our fundraising tips which can help you to dig money at right place.
How does RCDP make sure I am safe while I am in the field?
The safety of our volunteers is our first priority. We work hard to ensure the safely of our volunteers in many level.