TRAVELLING INDEPENDENTLY OR WITH THE SUPPORT OF A UK AGENCY
Freedom and Responsibility
If you are an experienced traveller and this is not your first time out fo Europe, you may be tempted to make your own arrangements and why not? To be sure, the risks are higher than travelling with the support of a UK agency but it is your choice and thecomplete freedom to act independently may be what you need. The younger you are, the more careful this choice needs to be although this is not a golden rule as it depends so much on levels of personal maturity. If you are an older person but have never travelled abroad, that is outside Europe, and you intend travelling alone, then this could be another warning sign to be more careful than probably you think you should be. However, it has to be said that there is something special too about being part of a team of people who are acting together who are responsible to each other for the success of a placement.
No matter how you travel, it would be foolish not to have good travel, baggage and emergency insurance to have the support that you need should something go tragically wrong or should the unexpected happen and you become seriously ill. Visit the insurance page on this site for comprehensive good value insurance.
Preparation Distance Learning
No matter how experienced you are, you may wish to revisit some of the issues that will become important for you if working abroad for an extended period. Good preparation material highlighting the issues that arise and giving you a chance to think through how you migth react are avaialable through books, online course, distance learning and residential courses. If you are going overseas fro more than six months, for example, you might properly and sensibly consider a residential period of preparation and training.
Chrsitians Abroad provides distance learning and advisory support for anyone working overseas for up to six months drawing upon our 50 years of experience in the field. See the links on the side panel on this page. If you are a Christians Abroad volunteer, the cost of this is included in your administration fee and it is expected of you; otherwise the cost of preparation for independent travellers is £250.
Residential Preparation and Training
For individuals or families going overseas for periods greater than six months, Christians Abroad provides residential workshops individually tailored to personal circumstances; the country in which the person or family is going to live and the nature of the work that the volunteer, mission partner or employee is going to do. See the side panel on this page for more information. The cost of residential preparation is usually met by an external agency or the overseas placement provider if you are going to work overseas for an extended period. The cost to external agencies is £250 per day plus expenses and can be provided for 3-4 volunteers, mission partners or employees at any one time.There are no pre programmed events; residential workshops are designed around the need of the individuals and their sending agency and can be arranged with a minimum of one month's notice. Ideally there should be a period of at least two weeks after the residential workshop before the volunteer or mission partner takes up his or her appointment.The minimum period fo preparation and/or training in such circumstances is two days but it really depends on the needof the person(s) concerned and their sending agency. Every effort is made to place the residential workshop at a conference centre or guest house coveniently located for all parties. Some training or preparation may occur off site where the particular circumstance demands. Advice will be given on the preparation of children and teenagers if they are part of a family group being placed overseas for the first time.
One of the problems of independent travelling is the difficulty of sharing your experience on your return particularly if it has been challenging, demanding and rewarding. Somehow or another, friends and family have a limited attention span when it comes to the detail of your experience...particularly if you want to try to share how you have changed as a consequence. If travelling with other agencies, most will provide opportunities for debriefing; a time just for you to talk about your experience, evaluate it and somehow integrate it into your life. Christians Abroad provides two experienced listeners who have worked with you in preparation and planning and supported you whilst overseas to think through your experience face to face usually over lunch.