Frequently Asked Questions by Educators
The following Frequently Asked Questions may help answer some of yours, but we’d be happy to talk with you to answer any questions you may have. We are here to help!
What are the benefits to me?
First and foremost, your travel expenses are paid by Dream Volunteers. That includes flight, in-country logistics such as lodging and meals, and international cell service. Secondly, you will visit inspiring communities in interesting parts of the world. You and your students will have the opportunity to make a real difference in the lives of people who both want and need your help. You will also experience growth and a broadening of your global awareness. You will be fully supported every step of the way by Dream Volunteers. We take care of all the planning and preparation. You’ll be part of a team of professionals working to ensure safety, impact and fun for all. Getting to work with students outside the classroom, off-campus, and in rich environments is a refreshing way to guide young people. It is also wonderful to travel, not as a tourist, but as a guest and a volunteer connecting authentically with a local community in countries like Costa Rica, Vietnam, Guatemala, Ghana, and India. And you will come back with new friendships and lasting relationships.
What is involved? What is the time commitment?
Prior to the trip you will participate in one or two online webinars along with other educators leading trips. These webinars are led by Dream Volunteers staff and are designed to provide you with all the preparation and information you will need to confidently lead the trip. Each webinar lasts approximately one hour and takes place in the evening. In addition, you will have one or two individual phone or in-person meetings with Dream Volunteers staff. Beyond that, you will deliver (with agendas and materials from Dream Volunteers) three pre-departure meetings to your students and one to the parents. Each of these meetings last approximately 45 minutes. The additional time commitment will be the trip itself, which lasts anywhere from one to three weeks.
How am I supported by Dream Volunteers?
Dream Volunteers will ensure that you feel confident and informed. Through live webinars, personal phone calls, and sometimes, in-person meetings, we will train and prepare you for each step of the process. We will also provide you with agendas for your pre-trip meetings, as well as guidance for running them. Dream Volunteers will pay for your travel expenses and provide you with on-location cellular phone service. During the trip, your group will be led by one of our local trip leaders, who will be primarily responsible for the logistics and will manage the itinerary. This means that, not only will you not be alone in leading the group, but you will have a knowledgeable, experienced, bilingual local program director to support you. Your chief role, then is to mentor your students and communicate back home with Dream Volunteers, not to oversee the trip. You also have the surety of our emergency protocol, which our on-site staff leads in case of illness, injury or emergency.
Dream Volunteers staff are available by phone anytime you need them during the trip and 9:00 – 5:00 Pacific Monday through Friday on days prior to the trip.
Is there curriculum?
Yes, we are focused on the growth and education of your students as well as the local youth with whom your students will work and interact during the trip, which is why we have invested significant time and effort in developing a well-thought-out learning plan.
Dream Volunteers has a full pre-trip curriculum, as well as materials for during the trip. We provide you and the students with a field journal that contains topical content, instruction and reflection questions and prompts. You will also receive meeting agendas and teaching content from us, as well as training on how to lead these sessions. Additionally, we will train you to facilitate the reflection sessions and discussions that happen on the trip.
What do I need to do before the trip?
Prior to the trip you will participate in one or two online webinars with other educators leading trips. These webinars are led by Dream Volunteers staff and are designed to provide you with all the preparation and information you will need to confidently lead the trip. Each webinar lasts approximately one hour and takes place in the evening. In addition, you will have one or two individual phone or in-person meetings with Dream Volunteers staff. Beyond that, you will deliver (with agendas and materials from Dream Volunteers) three pre-departure meetings to your students and one to the parents. Each meeting lasts approximately 45 minutes.
What are my duties on the trip?
Your role on this trip is to guide and inspire your students. You will work with the local program director to guide the students through the experience and adapt the curriculum as appropriate throughout the trip. You will also communicate regularly with DV HQ staff to receive additional support and guidance and will be asked to provide updates back to the DV team and participant families. You will have time to interact with your students one-on-one or in small groups and with the support of our on-site director and team, you will have plenty of opportunities to simply immerse yourself and enjoy the trip as a participant.
How does DV handle liability?
These are Dream Volunteers trips. We support you and your school in coordinating them for your students, and we assume the liability. Dream Volunteers has a $2,000,000 per occurrence general liability insurance policy.
What happens in an emergency?
We have tested emergency protocols in place and trained staff to support you throughout the trip and in the event of an emergency. You are not the main person in charge should there be an emergency. That said, you may be the first on the scene. We will walk you through our Risk Preparedness and Emergency Protocol Manual prior to the trip.
Can I speak with educators who have done this in the past?
Absolutely. There are several teachers and administrators who have taken their students on trips with us in the recent past who have made themselves available to share their experience with you and answer any questions you may have. Please fill out this inquiry form. One of these educators will respond to your questions and/or arrange a short phone call if that is what you prefer.