Volunteer Abroad FAQ Volunteering California

Preservation of California's Nature Reserves

Prior to departure to California

Do I need specific requirements or abilities to apply for this project?

In order to apply for this project you need to be over 18 and have sufficient English skills to follow the course contents. Since this project requires you to be physically active we need a doctor’s certificate confirming your state of health and physical fitness. Furthermore you might need a Visa for your volunteering work. Depending on the duration of your stay and your destination the requirements might vary. You might check out the foreign department’s website for the Visa standards or ask the NATUCATE team directly.

What services are included?

Prior to your departure we will help you organize and plan your whole stay. We will help you find a good flight and arrange your Visa application. In California you will be picked up and brought to the project site. Furthermore your accommodations and food will be provided. Also you will be provided with working gear and equipment. Flights are not included.

Do I need certain medical precautions or requirements?

You definitely need a travel insurance to start your volunteering work with NATUCATE. We can help you find a suitable travel insurance. In general you need to talk to your doctor and make sure you are vaccinated against Morbilli, Mumps and Rubella. In case of injuries it is also advised to be vaccinated against Tetanus. For current information and warnings regarding your destination you should check out the homepage of the foreign department. In general the U.S is a more or less safe country without any severe sicknesses.

What kind of equipment should I take with me?

Working clothes and professional gear will be provided. You will be spending a lot of time outside; therefore you should consider packing light, comfortable but tough clothing which can get dirty. Furthermore, we ask you to pack a hat, sunscreen, sunglasses, a water bottle, a flashlight/headlamp, mosquito repellent and rain clothes. Generally you should pack a sturdy pair of boots and long sleeved shirts, as well as a pair of long pants. You also need warm clothes, a sleeping mat and a sleeping bag as well as a large-sized backpack and a daypack.

Arrival in California

How do I arrive at my destination, do I have to organize it myself?

We will support you during your organization and planning process, but you will have to book your flight to San Francisco on your own. When you arrive at the airport, a team member will pick you up at 6 pm. Unless you travel the US after finishing your eight-week-project you’ll be brought back to San Francisco International Airport again at 6 pm. Depending on your arrival date, nobody might be able to pick you up. Let us know about your travel so we can plan your arrival.

During the project in California

What is my main function? Can I choose my tasks and will I be working independently?

This volunteer project focuses on trail building and maintenance in the Los Padres National Forest/Big Sur area. The volunteer project might be physically exhausting from time to time and you have to expect all kinds of weather conditions.

How big is the group?

The group consists of about eight to twelve volunteers.

Life on site in California

What is the accommodation like?

In general you will be sleeping in tents. During your free time you will stay at so called volunteer’s house close to the city center of Santa Cruz or in South Lake Tahoe. You will share the rooms with up to three other volunteers and sleep in bunk beds. The houses will have a common kitchen room, living room and bathrooms.

Is it possible to get placed with a partner or friend?

No, in this project it is not that easy. But since your work is determined by the latest need it is difficult to arrange the working days and your free time parallel to a friend. So you might not end up in the same volunteer house.

How is the food provided?

Volunteesr will take turns in preparing lunch and dinner together. There will be three meals daily.

Is it possible to receive vegetarian meals?

It is possible to follow a vegetarian diet. Please inform us about your diet beforehand. A vegan diet is not recommended.

How are working time and free time divided?

The duration of the conservation projects is eight days. Usually, you will be working up to 10 hours a day. After a project unit you will get six days off.

How can I spend my free time?

You can use your free time to discover the landscape around the project and team up with some other volunteers to go on road trips. You can drive up to San Francisco, Los Angeles or San Diego over the weekends. You might also just relax at the volunteer’s house.

Do I have a contact person on site?

Yes, you will find a contact person at the bureau in California. Additionally you will be looked after by a supervisor.

What expenses do I have to expect during the project? Can I withdraw cash on site and do I have to pay in local currency?

Usually you will not have any other kind of spending during the project since accommodation and food is provided. But you might need money for free time activities, external transfers, wash saloon or additional snacks you want to purchase. You can withdraw cash at the airport or the city.

How can I contact family and friends at home?

You will have Wi-Fi access during your free time at the houses. There will also be a computer available for the volunteers. Depending on the weather the signal might be weak. To save some money you should consider purchasing a prepaid card. You can also visit some Internet Cafés. During your working time there might be limited access to internet and telephone signal.

What’s the weather/climate like?

The climate in California is mild and pleasant. It is always colder the closer you get to the coast or the higher you go up the mountains. During the night desert region can also get very cold. Besides that the rest of the country has nice and warm summer with temperature over 20 ° C and cooler winter months below 10 ° C. The perception varies strongly from region to region.

Is there a prohibition regarding alcohol?

The drinking age in the USA is 21. It is also not allowed to drink alcohol on the street in public. We ask you to follow these rules and respect the conditions.

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