Got a burning question? We're here to help! Below is a list of the most most frequently asked questions about the UniBreak program. If your question is not answered, please contact us via email or phone and we will be pleased to assist you with your inquiry.
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Calling within NSW
Phone : 02 9413 1522
Freecall from outside NSW
Phone : 1800 50 20 14
What is the idea behind the UniBreak program?
More and more tertiary aged students are looking to gain unique travel experience overseas that allows them to contribute to a developing community while they immerse themselves in the culture. The UniBreak program provides interesting and well-managed grassroots community projects that are hands-on and lots of fun. The program is well-managed and structured, giving you access to remote communities. Students can roll up their sleeves and get involved in the knowledge that they will have back-up and support during their placement.
A UniBreak experience will provide you with insights and an understanding of small communities. It is not an aid program but is one that gives students a taste of development work. Many students will use their experience in preparation for a career in international relations or development work. Some may be placed in fields related to their tertiary studies but it's important to go with managed expecations and not feel that your mere presence will be celebrated by locals.
What sort of volunteer work projects will I be involved in?
That depends on the country you go to and the skills you have. It could be teaching English, working in community development, building or construction, working in health projects, sports coaching, conservation or care work. Projects vary and you should be prepared to 'muck in' and do what's required. It's important to be aware that the placements are generalist in nature and while you will make an important contribution, you won't be saving the world in the brief time you're there. The one who will gain most will be yourself through your immersion into the local community, living with the people, working with them and getting to know their children. It's a privilege accorded to the volunteer and the source of great personal satisfaction.
Can I do a specialist placement to complement my university degree?
This can be done but normally as part of a faculty group placement. Faculties such as Health Sciences, Nursing and Education at various universities are opting to do a group placement and, within reason, we can tailor a more specialised placement which may even receive credit towards your course. Increasingly, we are working with medical students to find specialist placements to complement their studies.
Most placements, while very rewarding, are however, generalist in nature and should not be seen as an internship or extension of your university studies.
What is the role of Antipodeans Abroad?
The role we play is to facilitate your placement. We work closely with trusted local partners in all destinations. In most cases we have known these partners for up to 15 years. They understand our requirements and have worked with many of our students over the years. You are in good, safe hands and that's how we like it to be. Antipodeans Abroad will work with you before departure to ensure you are well informed, have all the necessary instructions and knowledge to make your placement a success. We also liaise with in-country partners to ensure the project in which you'll be involved is well structured and worthwhile. We aim to involve you with a sustainable project that will be of importance to the local community. They want to welcome you to their village or town and we want you to be able to make your contribution.
We will also be on 24-hour back-up and support during the time you're away. If there are problems, we'll be there to help you.
When do the placements begin?
Most UniBreak placements take place during the Christmas holidays when tertiary students have up to three months break from their studies. UniBreak placements are generally 4-8 weeks long. Placements generally have departure dates in December, January and into February each year. We also place students in the mid-year semester holidays in June and July. Students choose their destination, their preferred departure date and duration. We always aim to place students in small groups departing and arriving at the same or similar time.
To which countries do you send students?
Placements are available in a selection of destinations in South America, Asia and Africa. Two factors must be taken into account that may affect which destination you can be placed. Firstly, we insist there will always be a small group travelling – for safety reasons. Secondly, schools in developing countries will have a break over the December-January period so teaching placements may have restricted departure dates to accommodate this.
How long do I go for?
Placements are available from 4-8 weeks duration but you could stay for up to 12 weeks. Past students have found a longer stay rewarding and we recommend at least six weeks if time permits. A longer placement is possible by negotiation with Antipodeans Abroad.
Will I be on my own?
UniBreak students will not be alone. We prefer to place you with a small group of students so be prepared to be flexible in your choice of destination as safety for the individual is always our priority.
What about flights?
Flights are not included for individuals joining a UniBreak placement but they are included for faculty group packages. Individuals will be provided with suggested flights prior to departure that have been arranged at a competitive cost by our representative at Flight Centre. We recommend that students travel and arrive together to minimise any problems travelling to your destination.
What about travel insurance?
Travel insurance that covers emergency medical and associated travel costs is mandatory on all our journeys. This is to cover doctors, hospitalisation and transport costs that may occur in an emergency overseas. Antipodeans Abroad can provide insurance to all travellers through Cover-More at an additional cost. Travel insurance can be easily packaged into the UniBreak Group cost should your university require it.
What is a National Police Check?
We require our volunteers to undergo a National Police Check prior to taking part in a volunteer work placement. This is used to determine whether a person is suitable for a position with us and also acts as a check to protect the communities where we place you. Antipodeans Abroad can provide you with the necessary forms that you will need to complete and send to the Australian Federal Police along with a small fee. For more information see www.afp.gov.au
Do you have a country information package?
All students are asked to attend a workshop or webinar for our pre-departure preparation. As part of the pre-departure briefing we'll give you a detailed UniBreak Handbook which will contain all the information you'll need about the country you'll be visiting, the volunteer placement you'll be participating in, visas, medical and health information, equipment lists, money and communications and lots of other useful information to help you on your way.
Can I travel after the volunteer program?
You can certainly arrange you own independent travel after the placement.
How do I raise the funds for the project?
We can give the team a comprehensive fund-raising pack with plenty of ideas the most important of which is for students to get a part-time job and start saving.
Will the village have electricity?
According to the country and village this will vary. Most will have electricity powered by a generator for at least a few hours in the early evening. You will get used to going to bed earlier and getting up earlier to make use of the daylight hours.
What happens if I get sick?
Our in-country partner is there for any support you need. Most of the local towns have basic hospitals and for anything more major you will be taken to a city. You will be fully insured under your mandatory travel and medical policy, which must also provide for medivac in the case of emergency.
Where will I stay?
We will house you with local families, in a volunteer share house or in a local guesthouse. In most cases board will be provided for you. You will become part of the village during your stay and gain a valuable insight into the lives and culture of the people.
Will I have hot showers and a comfortable bed?
You will find that the local families have a very basic standard of living. In most cases there will be running water but in poorer households you may find yourself washing from a well with a bucket of water. By the end of your placement, you will be so used to this that a shower will feel like a distant memory!
Will I get homesick?
It's quite natural for people to become homesick but it's not something that should worry you unduly. Students will learn to appreciate their own home and family more by being away from them. You can always take comfort from the fact that you will be returning home in a short while.