Q.1. Why Gap Chile?
With plenty of gap year projects and companies it really is important to get to know the company you are about to entrust your money and valuable time with. Gap Chile is and will remain a small non-profit gap year organisation who will dedicate themselves to helping volunteers get involved with one of the most interesting cultures that South America has to offer. When you join Gap Chile you will become part of a large and close knit family in Chile and one of a few carefully selected volunteers. You will quite literally be taken under our wing, and the Gap Chile family in England and in Chile will do what they can to help make you feel welcome and help you settle in as quickly as possible. If you are unhappy, you won’t get put through to an advisor or be lost as one of the hundreds of volunteers in a large organisation. You will become part of the lives of the people living out there and one of the Gap Chile family too.
Q.2. Where does my money go?
As much as we wish this wasn’t the case, Gap Chile cannot function without money. With Gap Chile you can see the direct effects of what your input does to a small community and we try to offer as much as we can so you feel like you’re getting the most out of your hard earned cash.It is better to think of your money as a donation to the Elisa Education Trust Charity Registered in England: 1104648. All proceeds go towards funding this charity which supports individuals and community projects that believe in the power of education. In return for your donation Gap Chile will provide you with accommodation, food whilst staying there, transport from the airport and back, the opportunity to work with any project of your choice and assistance throughout your stay.
Thanks to our existing volunteers the Nursery school can continue to offer pre-school learning that gives the best start to a child’s education as well as providing sponsorships for underprivileged children, the La Calera Red Cross continues to help the community, the younger boys at the orphanage have a free place in the LIA nursery and the older boys have people who want to spend time listening to their stories or playing games and much more. To find out what the Elisa Educational Trust is doing check out their webpage:
Q.3. Why Pay to Volunteer?
A lot of people ask why they should pay to work and a lot of these people haven’t been involved with a volunteer company. Many “free” volunteer organisations come with a cost – whether that is simply the volunteer finding their own accommodation to paying a daily fee to work within a particular project.
Volunteer companies are based around the volunteer and to ensure that volunteers are looked after – they need staff. On top of this, volunteer “work” is not a 9-5 job but more of an experience where you get welcomed to a set up that has taken a lot of organisation and careful planning from everyone involved.
The money that volunteers pay, isn’t paying to work, but simply paying for the cost of having you there. Some companies have larger overheads so they can fund their marketing and staff wages for all the admin costs so it is important to look at where you money goes but no matter the charge, every volunteer company is generally striving in the right direction and providing their volunteers with experiences in a foreign land that other travellers and tourists will never have.
Q.4. Is there a minimum or maximum age for participants?
Minimum age is 18 years old and there is no maximum!!
Q.5. Can friends go together?
Yes, of course you can.
Q.6. Can I have a telephone interview?
Yes, We can contact you through Skype or Telephone.
Q.7. Can I meet you in person before I fly?
Yes. We would love to meet you before you start your big adventure. Our office is based just outside of north London and is easy to get to via train. Just get in touch to organise a time and date.
Q.8. What if I want to arrange my own flights?
It’s not a problem, just keep us informed.
Q.9. How do I apply?
You can do it through our website, phone, post or by email.
Q.10. When do I apply?
Whenever you feel ready to start the adventure.
Q.11. Do I need any qualifications to volunteer with Gap Chile?
No. We don’t even ask for minimal Spanish. Just as long as you want to learn Spanish and you want to help that’s all the qualifications you need. If you can’t speak Spanish, sometimes it helps to be good at miming but it’s not a requirement
You will however need a CRB Check so get in touch with us to start that additional application if you don’t have one from school, university or work already.
Q.12. What is a CRB Check and why do I need one?
A CRB check is a Criminal Records Bureau check which acts as a thirds party to validate our volunteers. It is a European work requirement particularly for those working with children and we carry this work ethic on with our projects in Chile.
We ask that volunteers complete a CRB check which we are happy to do via our UK offices to ensure that you are able to work with the children in our Chilean projects. Some volunteers may already have an in date CRB check from current employers and we are happy to accept these.
If you are not from the UK, ask your current employer or someone who knows what similar checks you have within your country of residence and we will accept those too!
How much time does the application process take? As little or as long as you want it to. It helps to give us at least one months notice so we can all prepare for your arrival but if you’re planning a last minute trip, just get in contact and find out how quickly we can process your application. The longest wait will be for your CRB check so get your application rolling as soon as you can.
Q.13. Do I need a visa?
If you are planning on staying for more than 3 months in the country you will need to apply for a visa. American citizens will need to pay an entry fee but do not necessarily need a visa. Anything less than 3 months and your Tourist Visa will cover that time. Look online for your country’s requirements or email us and we’ll find out for you.
Q.14. For how long can I go?
As long as you want to! Our shortest package is 2 weeks. We encourage our volunteers to stay as long as they can so they can build relationships with the people they meet and get as much back from their experience as possible.
Q.15. What vaccinations do I need for Chile?
You need to make an appointment with your doctor to see what jabs you have already had and make an appointment to update or have vaccinations. Check out this website to see what you might need.