Frequently Asked Questions
In-Community placements in 2022 and 2023
Applications for In-Community placements with our Northern Territory and Thai partner communities are now open for the second half of 2022 and for all of 2023. Please follow the link on our Contact page to apply.
Lingering COVID-19 restrictions and concerns add a degree of uncertainty to any travel plans and mean that we are currently unable to get back to all our previous placement locations. We are monitoring border closures and travel restrictions closely and we are hopeful that we will be able to return to many of our other partners in 2023. Your safety and that of our partner communities overseas will be our first priority.
Will I have support while volunteering?
Absolutely! You will have dedicated in-country assistance on both In-Community placements and immersions. We work with local partners who not only know all there is to know about the place where you will be staying, they have been working with volunteers for many years and can anticipate your questions and challenges before they arise. They are excited for you to join their communities and will be there to support you every step of the way. The Sydney based Two Wolves Domestic and Abroad team will also check in on In-Community volunteers regularly.
How many other volunteers will be with me?
If you choose a short-term Immersion then you will travel with a small group of volunteers and three adult leaders for the duration of your trip.
For In-Community placements, there is always a minimum of two volunteers at any location. At some placements you can expect up to about six volunteers living in the same location and either volunteering at the same school, or at different schools depending on the country.
Are there any age restrictions for participants?
While many volunteers have just finished high school or university, we welcome all volunteers 18 and above. If you have not yet turned 18 and wish to go on a In-Community placement, we can work with you to ensure that you arrive as soon as possible after your birthday even if this does not coincide with the beginning of the normal placement term. If you are not a school leaver and feel you have additional skills and experience to share with our partner communities overseas, we can work with you to tailor a placement that makes best use of your knowledge.
Do I need a police check or working with children certificate?
Two Wolves Domestic and Abroad is committed to protecting children and young people from harm. All volunteers are required to provide a Working With Children Check from their relevant Australian state, whether they wish to participate in an immersion or In-Community placement. This is a free check for anyone who applies for the purpose of volunteering. For those who will not turn 18 until their departure, we will also accept an Australian National Police check.
Is travel insurance included?
The Cardoner Project is covered by the general insurance policy of the Society of Jesus Australia (SOJA). This policy includes travel insurance for our employees and volunteers so covers our Immersion and In-Community participants.
How far in advance should I apply?
We are seeking applications for the Nepal Immersions and In-Community placements now.
Due to deadlines on components of the Immersion itinerary we will finalise participants for the November 28 Nepal Immersion departure by August, 22 and for the 6 January departure by 26 September.
We encourage you to submit an In-Community application for 2023 as soon as possible. Pre-departure formation is a critical component of an In-Community placement so time is needed for applications to be processed and the formation and training sessions to take place before the end of this year. At this stage a formal application deadline has not been determined and we will announce this on our website at least three weeks prior to closing applications.
Can I travel before/after?
Flight bookings for In-Community placements is the responsibility of the volunteer. The Cardoner Project does offer the services of our travel agent and strongly encourages In-Community volunteers to travel together to their placement community so that they can be orientated to their new community together. If you wish to travel to the destination by a different itinerary we ask that your arrival coincide with that of your fellow volunteers. At the end of the placement some decide to stay longer or to travel a little further to explore other locations and this is at your discretion. Please note that you will need to check your travel insurance cover as any travel outside of the volunteer placement term will not be covered by the SOJA insurance policy.
Our Nepal Immersions include a fixed itinerary for group travel and this cannot be changed.
How much does it cost?
Costs vary between programs and are dependent upon the length of time you wish to volunteer. The longer you stay, the cheaper it becomes! Immersion prices vary depending on our partners’ requirements and geographical locations. Please view our Program Fees page for more information on In-Community placements currently on offer.
Fundamental to our pricing model is to ensure that we are a contributor, as opposed to a financial burden, to our offshore partners.
Why should I pay to volunteer?
While it may be cheaper to go it alone, there are many benefits of volunteering through an organisation like ours. It can be difficult and time consuming to find projects to support in a foreign country that are safe, worthwhile and reputable. When you volunteer through Two Wolves Domestic or Abroad, you know you are working with trusted partners who we have built relationships with through the Jesuit and Catholic networks. It is critical that our engagement with our partners does not place any financial impact on them. The cost also covers the formation and training we provide you for the spiritual journey you are about to undertake, teacher training skills and logistics like insurance, getting visas and travel. When you arrive you will be greeted by our trusted partners and will have a safe place to live and work in a supportive environment and will have a safety net for your entire placement. Most people will find it a more cost effective and fulfilling experience to arrange a In-Community placement or immersion with Two Wolves Domestic and Abroad rather than to hope for the best as they go.
Where does the money go?
Two Wolves Domestic and Abroad is as big or as small as the volunteer base that signs up for In-Community placements and immersions each year. We do not rely on fundraising or government funding to achieve social goals, and while some outside funding and grants are used throughout the year to run the organisation, the volunteer program fees are how the organisation sustains itself. Your program fees pay the costs associated with your immersion or placement and support our partners to ensure that you are an added resource that will benefit their communities, not a financial burden. We don’t request money from our partner organisations in the developing world. All our work is 100% funded through your contributions as a volunteer.
Your program fees go towards project costs, housing and food, transport, volunteer support, insurance, volunteer trainings and handbooks, domestic overhead, etc. A lot more goes into your experience than you might expect. Your fee also covers indirect costs that make your project a worthwhile and safe experience like utilities, equipment and communication infrastructure. We must also ensure our programs align with the relevant laws and policies in Australia and overseas and provide for bookkeeping and tax reporting.
Although running a program that spans many countries takes a lot of organisation, Two Wolves Abroad does this with minimal resources to keep program costs low. We use paid interns to ensure maximum input from alumni with experience on the ground and minimal staff to manage human resources, administration, financial controls and IT.
Do you spend my money on advertising?
One large problem for many of our partners in destination countries is that they can’t afford to promote their work and reach potential volunteers. Two Wolves Abroad creates a bridge between our partners overseas and volunteers in Australia. We visit your schools and universities on career fairs and open days to share volunteer opportunities with you.
We believe that recruitment is a long-term investment which allow us to attract more participants, in turn allowing us to aim for larger social goals and to bring down programme fees by achieving economies of scale. At the same time, we save on costs by using the Jesuit and Catholic networks and our committed volunteer alumni rather than spending money on advertising.
Can Two Wolves Abroad assist in fundraising?
We encourage you to raise money for your trip not only to pay program fees, but to pay for teaching materials and sports equipment you may like to take with you. See our fundraising page on the Two Wolves Abroad website for ideas on how to get started. You may also like to use a crowd funding website like GoFundMe which offers a simple and professional service online to manage your fundraising. Simply create a page to share your story via social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram.
Do I need a visa?
While this will depend on the location of your program, most immersions and all In-Community placements require a visa. We will provide you with advice on how to obtain visas and the costs involved. Where you are required to make additional applications once in-country, our partners will help you with this process.
Will I be met at the airport?
Immersion participants will travel with their adult leaders and most In-Community participants will be met by our local partners at the airport. The only exceptions are where the airport is a long way from the final placement location and there are no local partner contacts where you land. We will work with you to make arrangements if this is the case.
What is the accommodation like?
While accommodation will vary depending on the country, it will be much more basic than you are used to at home or would expect on a tourist holiday. One of the aims of your In-Community service experience is to live with the community as one of them and this will be reflected in your standard of living. Most volunteers will share rooms and some will share common areas with families or students. You can expect running water, electricity, wifi and a safe environment.
What happens if I have special dietary requirements?
Most of our locations can provide for special dietary requirements but we suggest you let us know on your In-Community application or when signing up for an Immersion so that we can assess and advise on whether your needs can be met.
How does Two Wolves make sure I am safe while I am on my placement?
The health and safety of our volunteers is paramount. Volunteers have access to a 24-hour emergency support system including our partners in country and our team in Australia in case of an emergency. We periodically review risk assessments for each location and have emergency action plans for each project, protocols for incident reporting and always stay up to date with local and regional developments. All our In-Community volunteers receive risk management training before leaving Australia as do our immersion leaders, along with first aid training. In our most remote location in Nepal, a satellite phone will be available to volunteers for Immersions and the duration of In-Community placements.
Are there any medical restrictions?
During the application process for In-Community placements, applicants must disclose any medical conditions that may either impact their ability to volunteer, or are important for us to know in case of any health problems or emergencies during your placement. We ask these questions so that we can ensure the safety of all volunteers. You may be asked to have a qualified doctor sign off on specific medical conditions.
Do I have to be religious to go?
No. While we are an unapologetically religious organisation and our mission is founded on Christian, Catholic and Jesuit values, we are about providing opportunities, not taking them away. Our volunteer experiences are not an evangelisation getaway, they are a chance to dive into something bigger than yourself that is driven by an underlying value of service, love and compassion that is drawn from our religious roots.
Is Two Wolves Abroad evangelistic?
Two Wolves Abroad respects all the cultures of the local communities we partner with overseas and we do not seek to change their beliefs. We work with Catholic partners who have strong faith and regular practice which our volunteers actively participate in and learn from. There are also opportunities to experience and learn from the cultures and religions of surrounding communities who hold a range of different beliefs.
Will I have contact with people back home?
Yes you will. All of our locations have internet access and phone signal although the quality varies. It is important to find a balance and not stay tied to your phone so that you can immerse yourself in the experience and for this reason, we ask Immersion participants to hand their phones in at the beginning of the trip and organise specific times for check-ins as required. We suggest In-Community participants use their phones as a tool for occasional updates with family and friends at home, to build ties with the local community and as an emergency contact to keep you safe.
I have questions about volunteering and where I can go, can I chat to someone?
Absolutely! We will be happy to put you in touch with volunteers who have lived in our In-Community placement locations before. We also have interns working with the Two Wolves Domestic and Abroad team who are familiar with many of the countries where we operate. If you’re going on an immersion, we can put you in touch with your leader who can give you a good idea of what to expect.
If you fill in the Expression of Interest form, we will be in touch soon.
What does it mean to be an In-Community volunteer?
To volunteer for an In-Community placement is to be part of something bigger than yourself. It is more than just a volunteer placement, it is saying yes to pouring your heart and soul into being part of a community in need and being willing to learn from them. Your time on this placement is about working with, not working for and learning from, not learning about.
What will I be doing overseas?
The main vocation our volunteers engage in is teaching. Our knowledge and understanding are the best things we can pass on to those in disadvantaged communities, as it allows them to engage in ways they previously thought were impossible. Teaching also has an inherently spiritual element that depends on the formation of deep, mutual relationships between the teacher and student.
Where can I volunteer?
Two Wolves Domestic and Abroad is excited to be planning to get our volunteers back in-community after two years in "hibernation". There remain questions and constraints around travel however the conditions are in place for the following options for next year:
For 3, 6 and 12 months: Northern Territory and Thailand
We are hopeful that conditions will allow us to offer 2023 placements in Nepal Micronesia and Tonga and will announce this across our socials and platforms.
In future years we hope to return to Cambodia, India, Guatemala, Sri Lanka and Zambia.
When do placements depart?
12 month placements depart in January and the date depends on the school term in the country of placement. This is the same for 6 month placements to Nepal. Other 6 month placements begin either in January or July while 3 month placements begin either in January, April, July or October. Dates will vary depending on the school terms of our partner communities.
Do I need specific experience?
No specific experience is required. All In-Community volunteers will be interviewed as part of the selection process. We will examine your motivation for wanting to serve communities overseas, your resilience and likelihood to adapt to your new environment and what qualities you will bring to the project. We will also ask for two referees who can recommend your suitability.
We recommend that all In-Community volunteers take a Teaching English as a Foreign Language course before they leave. This is not compulsory but will give you more confidence in the classroom and will give you valuable skills to share your knowledge more effectively with our partner communities overseas. We will also give you teacher training to help you get started with classroom management and lesson planning.
What training will I receive before I go?
We will send you a country guide which includes all the relevant information pre-departure such as contact details, addresses, transfer information, local customs, culture, a packing list and much more. There will also be an information night held for you and your parents to give you more information about the program and the different countries and to give you an opportunity to ask questions.
We also run the following events to ensure you are ready to tackle your experience head on:
1. Pre-departure retreat: a weekend getaway as a group to give you the time and space to discern why you want to be a part of this experience and what you want to give while you are overseas.
2. Training: running over two to three days, training will include culture, language, risk management, classroom management and lesson planning. Wherever possible we will invite alumni who can share their first-hand experiences with you to ensure you are prepared and know what to expect.
Before leaving, we will also arrange a pre-departure dinner for all volunteers leaving in January.
Can I travel during my placement?
Your service placement is treated like a full-time teaching job. However, During the school holidays you may be have some time to travel but we ask that you check with your host community whether they need you for holiday programmes. A Two Wolves mid-year retreat will also be held during the longer summer break which you are required to attend. If you have some particular plans to travel in one of the breaks please make sure that you check in with your host community and the Two Wolves team to make sure that this will be alright. For purposes of your SOJA insurance cover we ask that you advise us of your intended itinerary so that we can ensure your cover will remain in place.
What happens if I get sick?
Tell your hosts immediately and then let the Two Wolves team know. In most cases your illness can be managed locally with support from your host in consultation with local medical practitioners. If the situation becomes more serious, the Two Wolves team will help to arrange emergency medical assistance or if required.
Where will I be living in the country?
You will be living with communities in need. Almost all our placements are well outside of heavily populated areas, in more isolated communities. For more details about each specific country, please contact our team.
What happens when I get home?
Our hope is that you will stay close to our community when you come back. The reason we have the set-up we do, is so that when you come home, you don’t just continue on with life as though your time away never happened. We run retreats and other formation programs to help you reconcile your experiences overseas with your life back home, in a way that will enrich your memory and appreciation of your service while also uplifting the way you conduct yourself.
Can I go with my friends?
We will take all requests into consideration and will do our best to place you with at least one friend on your In-Community placement.
Are there any extra costs?
You will be responsible for buying your flights and covering your visa and vaccination costs. We have given you an estimated breakdown of visa costs on the Program Fees page to give you a better idea of what to expect. You will also want to take some spending money with you to cover travel on weekends and during holidays if you want to take advantage of your breaks, for meals in restaurants and any extra activities you would like to undertake during your placement. The amount you will need for incidentals varies enormously from person to person because it depends how much you go out and whether you travel close to your placement or more broadly.
In some partner locations you are required to take your own bed linen while in others we suggest you take a mosquito net. Trekking in Nepal requires the right equipment which you may need to invest in. For most placements, you will not need to buy any additional items unless you feel your current luggage and clothes are inadequate.
How can I apply for a bursary or financial aid?
There are many opportunities to seek financial support for a CVC placement and we encourage you to investigate your options. Two Wolves volunteers have been supported for many years through The Catenian Association so this may be a good place to start.
How do I pay?
We will provide you with a payment schedule which consists of a deposit and two instalments to complete full payment. The final installment is usually payable by October.
Is there an application process?
Nope! For immersions all you need to do to secure your place is fill out our booking form and pay your $2000 deposit.
How long is an immersion?
All our immersions are 3-weeks. This has proven to be the best timeframe for the group to grow in their relationships with one another, as well as make a meaningful relationship with the community we work with in-country.
What countries are available?
Currently we are only offering Nepal as an Immersion destination. In the past Two Wolves Abroad has run immersions in Zambia, Guatemala, Belize, Mexico, India, Thailand and Vietnam. While we are not currently offering immersions due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19 restrictions, we hope to start again as soon as we can.
How many are on each trip?
Each immersion involves a group of up to 15 like-minded individuals. This includes 12 participants and 3 leaders.
When do immersions depart?
All of our immersions run over the school and university breaks, either in December or January back in time for the start of university, or mid-year.
What will I do on an immersion?
It depends on which country you go to. We do not offer a “one size fits all” solution to issues that differ greatly across cultures, climates and institutions. You can find more information about the different immersions on our website and have a chat to our team to uncover which immersion fits your interests best.
Do I have to book my own flights?
Not at all! Flights are included in the price of the Immersion and we take care of all the travel arrangements.
Do I need travel insurance?
The Cardoner Project volunteers are covered by The Cardoner Project's insurance provided by Society of Jesus Australia(SOJA). Note - this cover applies in your capacity as a volunteer. If you extend your travel beyond the volunteer programme then please ensure you have appropriate cover.
What does my program fee cover?
- Support and information before you leave
- Pre-departure and post-return formation
- Return flights departing from Sydney
- All on-ground internal transport and transfers
- All accommodation
- Local guides
- Most meals
- Organised activities during your trip
- Support from and reflections with three trained leaders
- Australian team on standby throughout the immersion
- Contribution to host communities
- Two Wolves Abroad beanie
Are there any extra costs?
All your costs are covered except for food in airports, vaccinations, visas, discretionary spending and extra luxury snacks beyond the meals provided each day. We suggest you may want to take some extra money to buy souvenirs to support the local communities.
You are welcome to make donations to any of the projects but this is not expected. We can liaise with our local partners in advance to find out what they need if you wish to bring things with you.
How are leaders chosen and trained?
The immersion chaplain acts as the senior figure of authority on the trip. This will be a member of staff of The Cardoner Project, or a closely related individual who has been comprehensively briefed and prepared to lead the group.
The Immersion leader and understudy have both been through an extensive program to prepare for their roles. The leaders are chosen from our pool of young people who have worked with The Cardoner Project through a diligent application and interview process. Upon selection they receive an extensive training program to prepare for their role.
The immersion leader goes through a two-year leadership training course that moulds their spiritual, human and intellectual identity to ensure they lead in a manner that is in line with The Cardoner Project’s values, mission and vision. They also undergo comprehensive risk management, first aid and emergency situation preparation training.
The immersion understudy goes through formation training to ensure they lead in a manner that is in line with The Cardoner Project’s values, mission and vision. They also undergo comprehensive risk management, first aid and emergency situation preparation training.
Can I bring a friend?
Of course! While it is inevitable that the group will be drawn closer together by sharing such a significant experience, these are challenging trips. With that in mind, it can be nice to bring along a friend with whom you can share this time. You are also welcome to travel with partners or your spouse on an immersion while keeping in mind the need to remain inclusive to all members of the group.
Can we volunteer in a group?
Groups are always welcome on our immersions and if you have a larger group you may wish to consider a trip tailored specifically to your needs. We can tailor all aspects of our programs including formation, training and service and have experience running immersions for a number of school groups.
Who else will be on the immersion?
Like-minded individuals who, like you, are giving up their time, money and energy to live for others. Our immersion participants are usually between the ages of 18-24, with a variety of backgrounds. There is always a mix of guys and girls.
Do I have to be over 18 to go?
If you are under 18 and are keen to be a part of an immersion, please contact one of our Two Wolves Abroad team.
How do I reserve my spot?
Please complete the application form to indicate to us that you wish to book your place. We will then send you various other important forms (medical information, Code of Conduct, Liability Waiver, etc) for you to sign. You will then need to pay the first installment payment to confirm your booking.
What will I get out of it?
Honestly? We don’t have the answer to that. Everyone’s experience of service is different and each person will get something different out of it. What we can say is that our program does everything possible to help you capture the meaning of the experience, so that when you come home, it does not fade into your distant memory, but becomes something that stays with you and influences how you live your life back in Australia.
I haven’t been on a service/volunteer trip before, is this still suitable for me?
The short answer is YES! But again, everyone’s experience and suitability are different. Our immersions are challenging experiences that will push you. If you are worried about whether you’d be cut out for a challenging experience such as this, then please get in contact with our team and express these concerns. They will do their best to help you sift through the layers of feelings and figure out whether this is the best opportunity for you. Remember, we want to provide opportunities, not take them away!
Will I get the chance to meet the group before we go?
You sure will. Before we go, we have a pre-departure formation and information day which will give you the chance to meet the group, prepare for what is to come and think more about what you want to get out of it and what you want to give. We will also have an information evening and pre-departure dinner a few days before we leave.