A Guide by Hannah Jones
If you would like to volunteer on your gap year but are not in a position to fund this yourself, then you may be eligible for a bursary. Lots of companies offer bursaries and eligibility varies from company to company. Below is an example of one company's bursary scheme. But remember if you do not qualify for this particular bursary, don't be disappointed, use internet search engines to shop around as you may be eligible elsewhere!
Most bursary schemes will expect you to return from your trip, feeling inspired and willing to give something back to your local community. This could involve sharing your experiences with other young people and helping others in similar situations, or inspiring others to undertake a volunteering placement.
About our Example Company
Lattitude Global Volunteering (formerly Gap Activity Projects) is a non-profit organisation that has been arranging rewarding and enriching international volunteering placements for 17-25 year olds for over 35 years. They enable young people to volunteer on their gap year in 17 countries; everything from teaching English in Asia, to environmental projects in Latin America.
If you would like to volunteer on your gap year but are not in a position to be able to fund this yourself or through fundraising, then you may be eligible for funds through the Lattitude Bursary Scheme and as a result could join one of their amazing volunteering projects overseas.
- Gain invaluable experience for your future studies in health or medicine working in a hospital in Japan
- Lead exciting outdoor challenges surrounded by the most spectacular scenery in Canada
- Have a European experience with a difference, using your English skills in Poland
- Provide essential support and help to orphans in South Africa
- Teach English to enthusiastic students in China or Vietnam
- Become a friend and confidant to residents in a community home in the UK
- ...and many more.
Benefits of this Bursary Scheme
- This scheme makes it possible for people from more diverse backgrounds to benefit from the unique cultural and educational experiences that overseas volunteering provides.
- It also offers support and guidance to those experiencing financial difficulty, providing bursaries where possible.
Who Can Apply?
This bursary scheme is open to anyone who can demonstrate why, without financial assistance, they would be unable to undertake this kind of opportunity. To qualify you must be able to fit one or more of the following criteria:
- Applicants who have limited income or whose family are in receipt of government support
- Applicants who have expenses or expenditures that limit their ability to save for a placement
- Applicants who are experiencing domestic difficulty
- Applicants that have had limited opportunity to travel due to financial circumstances
Bursary applications are considered by the committee on an individual basis and awards vary in size depending on each applicant's circumstances. In all cases, individuals will be expected to make a financial contribution towards the overall cost of a placement.
- Applicants must be aged between 17-25 years, living in the UK and eligible for a UK passport
- Applications from individuals who have already experienced similar activities are unlikely to succeed
- Applications from individuals planning to undertake more than one placement will not be considered
- Factors applicable to all volunteers alone will not be considered a valid case for funding e.g. student overdrafts, commitment to full time education etc.
- Only applications made by a volunteer undertaking a voluntary project will be considered for funding
Natalie worked at a primary school in Ecuador:
"As I received no support from family it was really up to me to raise enough funds for my gap year. I had an extremely difficult time trying to raise funds of my own as I also had to support myself in independent living. If I hadn't received the bursary funding from Lattitude, I wouldn't have been able to go and I would have missed out on this amazing experience!"
- Whilst there is no limitation as to when you can apply for this bursary scheme, the committee at Lattitude favours those who can demonstrate effort put into fundraising and saving to date.
- They do, however, accept that in some cases the result of a bursary application will determine the individual's commitment to raising the money.
- Decisions are made by their Bursary committee once a month.
How to Apply
To request further information on the Lattitude Bursary Scheme please call an advisor on 0845 344 7500.
Upon Your Return
There is no doubt that young people who have already benefited from bursary funded placements overseas are it's best ambassadors.
Most companies offering bursaries will expect you to help spread the word about them and share your experiences volunteering overseas upon your return. Many companies offering bursaries ask recipients to complete short reports about their experiences or upload travel journals, online diaries, blogs, photographs or videos to their websites.
About the Author
Hannah works for Lattitude Global Volunteering, a non-profit organisation that has been arranging rewarding and enriching international volunteering placements for 17-25 year olds for over 35 years. They enable young people to volunteer on their gap year in 17 countries; everything from teaching English in Asia, to environmental projects in Latin America.
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