How long will the trip be? When will it be?
Volunteer abroad trips are to be approximately 4 weeks long during the summer, after you anticipate finishing all transfer requirements at a community college. Awards are announced during the month of October so students can leverage the award in their 4-year college applications.
Will I be traveling alone?
Although your travel will be organized through one of our travel partners and other volunteers will also be participating in these programs, the intention is that you travel alone (not with anyone you know well today) as we believe this will allow for your maximum personal growth experience. The travel partner organizations do have personnel that will support your program activities in the country you chose to visit.
Is there a GPA requirement?
No, there is no GPA requirement. Ambassadors will be selected based on a combination of their application responses, recommendations, demonstrated achievement (academic and extracurricular) as well as the potential for achievement in the future.
Is there a language requirement?
No, there is no language requirement. In fact, many Ambassadors may choose to travel to a destination where they can improve their language skills.
What are the selection criteria?
Ambassadors will be community college students who, without funding from Export Hope, would not be able to participate in this kind of experience. They will demonstrate academic and extracurricular achievement and have a high potential for future achievement. Ambassadors will be chosen based on their compatibility with these Ambassador’s goals:
- To cultivate global citizenship and awareness
- To encourage a non-linear, atypical approach to learning and educational growth
- To provide substance and perspective to a 4-year, college-bound student’s college application
- To perpetuate the above goals by sharing lessons within the Ambassador’s own community
Do I need prior travel experience?
No, prior travel experience is not required. For many, this will be the first time traveling alone and the first time traveling abroad. The goal is to encourage a non-linear, atypical approach to learning and personal growth by seeing new things, serving others and gaining new perspective.
What if I don’t have a passport?
The U.S. Government requires a passport for all international travel. Export Hope will provide you with guidance on how to obtain a passport if you do not already have one that will be valid and will fund the application fee ($110 in 2019) required to obtain it. Link here for the details. There will be some other incidental fees like execution fees ($35 in 2019) and those for obtaining passport photos which are the responsibility of the conditionally accepted Ambassador. Visit the Department of State’s travel website here to learn more about applying.
Will I need travel insurance?
Your health and safety is our #1 priority. Travel insurance policies are required and will be provided as a part of any Ambassador’s program selection. In some cases, our travel partners provide this insurance, and in other cases, Export Hope may purchase it separately, but in all cases, you will have travel insurance when traveling through Export Hope.
Do I need to take any medications or have any vaccinations?
Depending on the location of your travel, you may decide to take travel-related medications or to be vaccinated (for example, preventative malaria medicine in some tropical environments). For more information on a specific location you are considering traveling to, please visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)’s travel website here. All decisions about medications and vaccinations related to your travel are decisions you need to make in close communication with your health care provider(s). Also, any costs associated with these decisions will be your responsibility. Consider these factors when you are deciding where to potentially travel.
Will I need to bring cash?
Yes. Export Hope’s fundraising goal of $500 for each Ambassador will help you to cover incidental travel costs. Half of what you raise prior to traveling may be distributed to you before your trip. The remainder of the total you raise (you may continue to receive donations while traveling) will be distributed to you on your return and completion of the program. The maximum that will be distributed is $500 total. If more than $500 is raised by you, the excess will be re-directed to support other Ambassadors. You must raise a minimum of $250 by the deadline shown in the timeline to qualify for full acceptance to the program. Before traveling, you should confirm with your VATPO related to your specific program and their total recommended amount to bring per week. It is the goal of Export Hope to cover the costs of the trip, including transportation, accommodation, food and activities that are part of the program. You will need to have funds available to cover incidental travel costs. In the event that you would like to make additional purchases (for examples, gifts for friends and family, souvenirs) you should plan to spend your own money.
I’m a vegetarian; will I be able to find food to eat?
Our Travel Partners are more than willing to accommodate dietary restrictions, but you should make arrangements well in advance of traveling related to any dietary restrictions. Refer to our travel partner websites for more information!
How will I know what to pack?
Prior to travel, our Travel Partners will work with you to properly prepare you for your trip. Travel Partners will have recommended packing lists for trips. In addition to packing lists, preparation will include identification of required travel documents (passports and visas).
Can I go with a friend?
One goal of the Export Hope Summer Ambassador Program is to push students beyond their own intrinsic perspective, which is encouraged by their linear academic system, their friends and the surroundings that are most comfortable to them. For this reason, Ambassadors are discouraged from traveling with their family or friends.
Why / how was this Ambassador Program created?
The Ambassador Program was created by a person who found his own travel experiences invaluable to his development. It is sustained by those who see the value of cross-cultural exchange and international exposure for the development of leaders in the rising generation. For you, the applicant, this is a defining opportunity to discover the world and mature as an independent and globally-minded thinker.