Volunteer accommodation can range between all sorts of property types and standards. I suppose where you end up resting your head each night can depend on a number of factors, such as the country you’re volunteering in, the area of that country, the budget of the organisation you’re working for and even your own budget (there may be different accommodation options).

There’s probably more factors that just dont spring my weary mind at this moment in time, but inspired by last weeks #ttot (travel talk on twitter) I thought i’d share my own experiences of volunteer accommodation to give anyone thinking about volunteering a wee insight on what you might expect.

South Africa – Football and rugby coaching in Port Elizabeth

Our volunteer accommodation in Port Elizabeth was something of a party hostel by the time all thirty of us had returned from the schools we were teaching at and cracked open a beer.  To be fair it was never likely to be anything else with thirty sports team orientated 18-25 year olds in such a confined space.  The hostel itself was pretty basic, although with some nice features such as the swimming pool and pool table, but to be fair you hardly noticed how good/bad the accommodation is when you’re having that much fun!  Work hard, play hard.  5 weeks flew by.

Volunteer accommodation

  • Hostel – dorm rooms with bunkbeds
  • 1 indoor bathroom
  • 1 outdoor bathroom
  • Communal area
  • Meals included
  • Pool table
  • Garden
  • Swimming pool
  • TV w/cable and DVD player
  • Security gates
  • Residential area
  • Laundry services at extra costs
  • Honesty fridge

Sri Lanka – Football coaching in Ja Ela

It was quiet season when I touched down in Sri Lanka.  Based on my single previous experience of volunteering I was expecting a house full of young people ready to teach during the week and explore the country come the weekend.  My Sri Lankan volunteer house however was far from full, just 4 of us for the first week or so.  This was no problem though, the house had a nice relaxed feel and attitude about it, all of our volunteer group got on really well and traveled together at weekends. Within Ja Ela our house was located in a quiet suburb with palm tree lined streets.  I was able to walk from the house to the school I was teaching at each morning.

  • Houses – shared rooms with single beds
  • Ensuite bathrooms
  • Communal area
  • TV and DVD player, no TV channels though
  • Meals included
  • Garden
  • Security gate
  • Washing machines

 

Volunteer accommodation
Volunteer accommodation
Volunteer accommodation

India – Football coaching and English teaching in Madurai

Like my volunteer accommodation in Sri Lanka, whilst in India I stayed in a gated house with fellow volunteers.  Again it was quite a quiet and relaxed house.  We were about a 5 minute walk from town, but our street wasnt busy at all.

  • House – shared rooms with single beds
  • Ensuite bathrooms
  • Communal area
  • TV w/cable and DVD player
  • Meals included
  • Fresh Juice quota
  • Small Garden
  • Laundry services at extra costs

 Volunteer accommodation

Volunteer accommodation

Volunteer accommodation

So there you have it, that’s where I lived whilst volunteering in South Africa, Sri Lanka and India.  They were all pretty nice to be honest, i consider myself lucky!  The thing to point out here is that I paid for my volunteering experiences.  Rightly or wrongly I laid out cash money for my projects, and this is what I got accommodation wise in return for my hard earned savings.  Now that i’m older and ever so slightly wiser, I might not pay to go on the paid projects like I have previous.  A lot of voices on twitter last week (#ttot) voiced slightly negative opinions on paid volunteer placements, and whilst I loved my placements, I can understand the negative opinions.  Anyway, if you are good enough to research your butt off and find a volunteering project whereby your efforts in helping a local community are payment enough for some food and a bed, good on you!  Your accommodation could be worse than mine above – certain standards probably had to be met in order for the volunteer companies to charge me what they did – but your accommodation could potentially end up a lot better than mine also.  I imagine a home stay wouldn’t be out of the question, and that would really get you into the thick of local life.

Wherever you end up, just through yourself into your placement, make friends, accept invitations from nice people and I’m sure you’ll have an amazing time!