Every year, in Service Civil International, we organise several hundred short-term volunteer projects on 5 continents. These are called workcamps. They are thematically and geographically diverse. Their greatest value are the volunteers from all over the world, the socially important work and the authentic discovery of other cultures.
A workcamp is an international short-term volunteering project. It usually lasts about 2 weeks. It involves a group of several to a dozen volunteers from different countries. Usually there are 1 or 2 people from the same country. This international team of volunteers works for a local community or an NGO, which hosts them and provides them with the necessary support, such as materials and a place to work, as well as accommodation and food.
The aim of workcamps is not only to provide international support to local communities, but also to get to know each other, integrate volunteers and build a sense of solidarity across borders. In addition to the work carried out at each workcamp, there is also a study part, during which one can learn a lot about the cultural and historical background of the given workcamp. Behind every need for support there is a human and local history. A frequent theme of the study part is also human rights, counteracting social exclusion, and actions for peace.
A workcamp is an adventure, but also something more:
- a real discovery of other cultures,
- new friendships,
- valuable social initiatives,
- creating positive changes,
- extraordinary stories and memories,
- experience living and working in a multicultural team,
- developing language skills
A new version of workcamps are online projects, which last from a few to several days. They make it possible to act on a larger scale and implement ideas which will reach recipients all over the world. They allow participation without barriers and give a chance to gain new skills of remote cooperation in an international group.
Life at a workcamp
Volunteers work approximately 6 hours a day, 5 days a week. The nature of their work depends on the theme of the project – it can be working with children (learning English, playing games), doing renovation work or organising a festival to promote peace and tolerance. This work responds to important needs and supports local initiatives.
An important part of every workcamp is how the group organises its social life. After the working day and at weekends, volunteers have plenty of time to have fun, explore and learn more about the culture of the place where the project takes place.
Life at a workcamp also includes daily intercultural exchanges, shared activities and conversations, which provide a new perspective and inspiration for action. Volunteers tell stories about their countries, cook dishes from their national cuisine, teach words and phrases in their languages. Often the local organisation and community also invite volunteers to various events. One thing is certain: There will be a lot going on, and working and living in an international group cannot be compared to anything. You simply have to experience it!
Food and accommodation
During the workcamp all participants are provided with food and accommodation. The volunteers live together.
Basic information about the type of accommodation is always included in the description of the workcamp on the basis of which you apply. Workcamp volunteers may sleep in double or triple rooms in a dormitory, in tents, on mattresses in a school classroom, in a youth hostel, or in a summer house… They always have access to sanitary and cooking facilities. Usually the group shares cooking and cleaning by organising teams and planning the division of labour throughout the workcamp.
Service Civil International makes sure that workcamps are organised in the most environmentally friendly way possible. So volunteers will often be provided with local produce and some meals are vegetarian or vegan.
If you have special dietary needs, be sure to write about this in your project application.
Go on a workcamp
Choose your project
Every year in Poland many new people want to join an international group of volunteers and experience a well-organised and safe workcamp. Stowarzyszenie Jeden Świat – SCI Poland has over 25 years of trust as an experienced and proven sending organisation. Today we can say that almost 7200 Polish volunteers have already gone on workcamps with us.
Do you want to go on a workcamp? We support you by:
- direct contact with the volunteer coordinator,
- meeting for volunteers going on workcamps,
- support in the application process.
How to apply?
It’s just a few simple steps:
- enter the workcamp search engine at workcamps.sci.ngo
- make sure there is the flag of your country of residence in the top right corner (if it’s a different one: click on the flag to change it)
- register and search for your dream workcamp
- click “Add to Next Application” and you’re done
A participant who goes on one workcamp pays PLN 350 at a time and PLN 550 in total for two workcamps within the same calendar year. However, it must be remembered that it’s only possible to apply for a second workcamp after the place in the first one is confirmed by the organiser.
This sum includes volunteer insurance and support for organisational facilities of workcamps in Poland and abroad, including a solidarity fund with poorer SCI branches. Workcamps are organized during the whole year, just have a look at the search engine to find one of your choice. Members of the open One World Club benefit from reduced fees: 1 workcamp – 300 PLN, 2 workcamps – 500 PLN. Check here how to join!
You can pay the fee in a convenient and free way by clicking on FANIMANI or by traditional bank transfer to the Association’s account: Bank PEKAO S.A. No 93 1240 1747 1111 0000 1848 8294 (please remember indicating your name and surname in the title of the transfer).
In case of resignation the amount paid by the volunteer will be refunded minus a 50 PLN administration fee. The association is not responsible for personal costs related to the workcamp, e.g. buying tickets, travel insurance, etc.
On a workcamp you are guaranteed accommodation and food. Sometimes there are also various workshops, excursions, trips to museums or even concerts.
What is left to you is to get to the workcamp (you choose and organise your own travel) and to pay for the workcamp. It is also a good idea to have some money on you as a reserve or pocket money for your own expenses.
Before applying, it is a good idea to find out the cost of transport. Obviously, travel costs will usually be higher if you go to remote countries in Asia or Africa, and much lower if you attend a workcamp in a neighbouring country such as the Czech Republic or Germany.
Please pay attention to whether the country where your chosen workcamp will take place requires a visa. This will incur visa fees, which you will have to pay yourself.
In the descriptions of some workcamps in www.workcamps.sci.ngo there is information about an extra fee for the workcamp. Most often this applies to non-European projects within the North-South programme, and in Europe to workcamps in Iceland. This additional fee is usually payable on arrival at the project site. If no information about additional costs appears in the project description, it means that no one will ask you for additional payment.
SCI provides insurance during the workcamp itself. The insurance is for personal accidents and covers medical expenses. It’s important to note that it is designed as an additional insurance to complement other policies. You should therefore bring your European Health Insurance Card as proof of the basic insurance you have as a pupil, student, employee or registered unemployed person.
SCI insurance applies to participants of workcamps in Europe, North America, Turkey, Central Asia including Mongolia, Korea, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Mediterranean Zone and the Middle East. Volunteers going to other countries can be insured by SCI at their own request.