How do Suas select their partner organisations?
To date, Suas has primarily become involved with their partners through personal contacts. We are currently producing criteria by which to assess our current partners, and to select new ones. It is important that both the organisation and our volunteers benefit from the partnership.
What is the level of English in the placement schools?
The level of English spoken by the children you will be working with varies. A small amount of language training for all volunteers is included in the preparation weekends; however, we strongly recommend that volunteers take the time to learn some of the local language prior to departure. Management and administrative staff in the host organisations are proficient in English; however, the level of English spoken by the teachers varies.
How many people are in each team?
Team size varies depending on the placement but is usually made up of 10 volunteers and 1 Team Coordinator, supported by 1 Development Education Coordinator per city. There is also a Teaching Support Coordinator in each country.
Where will I stay when on the placement?
Suas will arrange accommodation for you; this will either be in an apartment or a house close to the school you are working in. You will stay with the other members of your team, and your Team Coordinator. The accommodation provided is very basic, typically with 4 Volunteers to a room.
What support will Suas provide while I’m away?
You will be working in teams when overseas. Your Team Coordinator will travel with you, and maintain regular contact with Suas in Dublin. Suas will be in touch with your placement organisation, and will ensure that all is running smoothly. Suas’ policies and procedures with regard to health, safety and security apply throughout the overseas placements, and provide guidelines for risk assessment and management in an unfamiliar environment. You can also contact us by email; we will send weekly update emails. Your insurance cover includes access to a 24-hour hotline for medical, and other, support.
While away, you will be required to submit several written reports to Suas back in Dublin. This will help us to see how you are getting on, and whether there is anything else we can do to support you; it will also allow you to keep track of your personal learning whilst on the programme.
What level of security is necessary for the placement cities?
At all times, Suas emphasises risk awareness, taking precautions and acting responsibly. Suas has policies and procedures which all volunteers must adhere to. Security protocols are agreed amongst each group. Health, safety & security remains the number one priority throughout the Programme. Suas monitors the security in each of the placement countries; the placements do not proceed unless it is safe to do so.
What happens if I fail my exams and have to return to Ireland before the end of the placement?
Our insurance is unlikely to cover any costs related to returning home for exam re-sits. The airlines we fly with occasionally accommodate a change in return date, but this is at their discretion, and they are constrained by the number of seats.
What happens when I get back to Ireland?
Suas organises a Return Day where all volunteers get a chance to reflect upon their experiences overseas. It is a time to process and work through the challenges you and your team faced during the placement with a team of experienced facilitators. It gives you the opportunity to find out about the experience of volunteers in different placements, while giving you the chance to showcase the achievements of your own placement. Suas also encourages volunteers to remain involved with Suas, and other service-oriented activities, through small action projects; this can be anything from writing about the placement in a local newspaper, to visiting local schools or organising a fundraising event.
Many previous volunteers have continued their involvement with Suas, and associated projects upon their return to Ireland.
Such activities have included:
Setting-up and/or participating in a Suas college society; getting involved in clubhouses, after school programmes, fundraising and awareness raising campaigns.
Active involvement in the Suas alumni association.
Offering Volunteer assistance to Suas programmes and helping to plan or deliver future Volunteer Programmes.
Fundraising for Suas and our overseas partners.
If your question is not answered here – please let us know at [email protected].