Getting ready for your trip abroad with Orphanage Support Services Organization (OSSO) doesn't need to be difficult. We have a lot of resources to help you prepare for volunteer life. Of course, nothing will fully prepare you for this life-changing experience, but we've gathered up a list of essential resources that will get you prepped for international travel with us.
1. Read your acceptance email.
Your acceptance email will be your best friend. We send it to you once we have processed your application and interviewed you. This email contains your official acceptance letter with the dates you're serving, your invoice, airfare instructions, culture tips, and a checklist of what to do next. Be sure to read the entire email and follow the checklist.
If you have questions, give us a call: 208-359-1767.
2. Stay updated through social media.
Follow us! We post to social media often, giving tips and information that will be helpful for your trip.
Look up the hashtag #OSSOVolunteer to see posts from current and past volunteers (See a small sampling of #OSSOVolunteer posts in the nearby slideshow.). These posts will give you a glimpse into what life is like for orphanage volunteers. Then, even as you're prepping for your travel, start using the hashtag yourself!
3. Look through our website.
Our website offers a lot of information that will help you prepare to travel internationally with us. Take the volunteer quiz seriously, which requires you to look through or website. The quiz prepares you for what to expect when volunteering in orphanages with OSSO. It has been designed to tell us if you are aware of what is required of you.
4. Get ideas from Pinterest.
Discover our Pinterest profile to get orphanage activity ideas. No need to stress about planning big, elaborate activities. Many activities you'll do will be simply showing the children you care, taking them on walks, listening to them, holding their hands, and reading to them. This is when holding a hand literally changes lives.
6. Review the language.
While knowing the language of the country you will be serving in is not required, knowing at least some of it really does help to improve your experience. Many of our volunteers have said they wished they had known more of the language before arriving in country.
Ecuador volunteers, you will receive an entire Spanish Manual in your acceptance email. And, while you are in Ecuador, you will have the opportunity to take Spanish classes with the other volunteers!
In Thailand, everyone speaks Thai, but many people also speak English. Try to memorize words like, "Hello," "Thank you," "Please," and so forth in Thai. And, remember, a lot can be communicated with a smile, too; after all, it is called the Land of Smiles!
7. Watch videos.
We have many videos on our YouTube Channel to help prepare you. Additionally, volunteers have created their own videos to share their experiences. Look up the hashtag #OSSOVolunteer to watch and discover the adventures of an orphanage volunteer.
8. Subscribe to this blog.
Not only do we have blog posts from past volunteers sharing their experiences, but we also have posts from our founder sharing his stories and inspiration! And, we have blog posts on just about anything else you would need to know: what activities to do with the children, who the volunteer directors are, and so much more. Look through it. It's fun and informative.
9. Remember it's all about love.
Loving the children is the best part of your experience as an OSSO volunteer. We really can't prepare you for that. But just come with a loving heart, ready to serve.
Sit with the children, engage with them, and be present with them. These children, especially those with special needs, would not be alive today without OSSO's program and the care and attention our volunteers give to them.
Play this audio file to get a glimpse of the joy, love, and laughter you'll find while serving the orphans.
Still got questions on how to prepare to travel with us internationally? Call the office with any and all questions. We are here to help our volunteers! 208-359-1767.