SVA Update: Issue 2
Know Before You Go
Volunteering is a fantastic opportunity to experience a new culture and to help those less fortunate than us. Although when considered from an armchair in Blighty volunteering abroad through a society may seem simple, there are some things to consider before you leave. Travelling abroad doesn’t always go to plan and things can go wrong. If something did happen, would you know what to do? Here is the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) advice...
As a carefree student it’s safe to say you may not be as inclined to plan every aspect of your trip before you leave as your wise and sagacious parents. For example, you may be on a tight financial budget and therefore cut a few corners when preparing to travel, or perhaps decide to take the exact amount of cash you have budgeted to spend whilst away leaving no reserve. Poor planning such as this is what could get you into trouble when you’re miles away from home with no one to bail you out.
This article is not meant as a scaremongering or to frighten or discourage you from volunteering abroad; it’s just meant to make you aware of the things you need to think about, help prepare you before you leave and inform you of the things to watch out for whilst you’re away. Specifically, it introduces the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) Know Before You Go (KBYG) campaign. The purpose of the campaign is to inform students of what they should know before they travel abroad, including travel tips and information about what to do should something go wrong.
I applied for the position of FCO brand ambassador because I feel it is such a worthwhile campaign to promote around Glasgow University. As an avid traveller and someone who has lived overseas for many years, I have been fortunate that nothing has ever gone drastically wrong but for others I know this hasn’t always been the case. My role around campus is to provide you with relevant travel information from the FCO and also to make you aware of how important such information can be to your travel experience.
Volunteering with the SVA will be a fantastic experience and I’m sure everything will work out just as you hoped. To put you on the right track and provide some information about the project countries that the SVA travel to, here is some advice taken from the FCO’s official website where full, country specific advice is available for every country in the world.
Firstly there are a few things you should have/be aware of regardless of what country you visit:
The FCO also has a free smart phone app that you can download called Plan.Pack.Explore, this will keep you up to date with the specific country you are volunteering in. This is also available from the FCO’s website at www.fco.gov.uk/publications.
FCO Student Ambassador
SVA is a Scottish Registered Charity: No. SC 030081 c/o. University of Glasgow SRC, The John MacIntyre Building, University of Glasgow, GLASGOW, G12 8QQ