Frequently Asked Questions
  • What are HCI Discovery Trips?

    Answer

    Our trips are unique opportunities for participants to fundraise for a cause, travel abroad, participate in hands-on humanitarian projects, and discover new cultures and adventures. These projects can range from building a library to item distribution,  promoting sustainability goals, and supporting disadvantaged groups.

    These trips also involve cultural exchange and exploration activities. Participants will have the opportunity to visit local landmarks, try new foods, explore local customs, and interact with members of the host community.

    Our trips offer a unique and meaningful way for participants to make a difference in the world while collecting new experiences!

  • Am I eligible to participate in the discovery trips?

    Answer

    The participant criteria for the discovery trips are:

    1. All participants must be at least 18 years old at the time of the trip in order to participate.
    2. Participants should be physically fit and able to walk for several hours at a time, as some of the activities may involve walking or standing for extended periods.
    3. Participants should be mentally prepared for the challenges and stresses that may come with traveling abroad and experiencing a new culture. This may include adjusting to different living conditions, communicating with people who speak a different language, and managing culture shock.
    4. Participants are strongly encouraged to raise the specified fundraising goal prior to departure. These funds will be used to support the on-ground projects in the communities we will be visiting.

  • What are the benefits of a discovery trip?

    Answer

    1. Personal growth and development: Step out of your comfort zone and gain new perspectives and skills that can help you grow personally and professionally.
    2. Cultural exchange: Immerse yourself in a new culture, learn about different ways of life, and make connections with people from different backgrounds.
    3. Sense of purpose and fulfillment: A sense of purpose and fulfillment as you contribute to a cause that is meaningful to you and makes a positive impact on the lives of others.
    4. Language skills: Opportunity to learn or improve your language skills as you communicate with locals and work on projects in a different language.
    5. Resume builder: Make your resume stand out and show potential employers that you have cross-cultural experience, adaptability, and a willingness to take on new challenges.
    6. Broaden your horizons: Expose yourself to new ideas, customs, and ways of life that may broaden your horizons and your understanding of a nuanced world.
    7. Build leadership skills: An opportunity to take on leadership roles and learn valuable leadership skills while working with others towards a common goal.
    8. Make a difference: Make a difference in the lives of those viewed as less privileged than others’ and contribute to a cause that is important to you.
    9. Networking: Open up new connections and opportunities for networking with like-minded individuals and organizations.
    10. Fun and adventure: A fun and exciting adventure that allows you to explore new places, try new things, and create lasting friendships and memories.

  • What is the program fee?

    Answer

    The program fee for the discovery trips are designed to cover all the necessary costs for participants to have a successful and fulfilling trip. Specifically, the program fee includes the following:

    Flight: The program fee covers the cost of your round-trip flight from the specified departure location. This means that HCI will arrange and pay for your flight from your specified departure location to the destination country, and back to your departure location.

    Trips to Tunisia: departure from Montreal, Quebec (YUL)

    Trips to Turkiye: departure from Toronto, Ontario (YYZ)

    Accommodation: The program fee covers the cost of shared accommodation. This means that you will be sharing a room with 1-3 other participants during the trip (same gender). The accommodation will be pre-arranged by the organization and included in the program fee.

    Meals: The program fee covers specified meals. This means that certain meals during the trip will be provided by HCI and included in the program fee. You are informed about which meals are covered, and any additional meals will be your own responsibility.

    Activities: The program fee covers all planned activities. This means that any volunteer activities, cultural events, and excursions planned as part of the itinerary will be organized by HCI and included in the program fee.

    Local Transportation: The program fee covers any local transportation that is necessary for the volunteer activities and planned itinerary.

    Please note that the program fee does not cover any additional expenses such as personal shopping, travel outside of the planned itinerary, entry visas, etc. These expenses will be the responsibility of the participant.

  • Can I pay for my own flight?

    Answer

    Yes! Though we encourage participants to let us handle the flight logistics, you may book your own flight to and from the host country. The cost will be deducted from the program fee.  

    If you choose to book yourself, please note you may need to organize your transportation from and to the airport in the host country. Please contact the Special Programs Officer for more information.

  • If Entry Visas are required, do I need to obtain it on my own?

    Answer

    Yes, you will be responsible for obtaining your own visa.

  • What is the Program Fee and Refund Policy?

    Answer

    The program fee policy for this trip is designed to make the trip more affordable for participants. To achieve this, the policy includes a nonrefundable deposit and additional installments. The deposit is required to secure a spot on the trip and will be used to cover the cost of initial expenses such as reservations. The additional installments are due on specific dates, as outlined in the payment structure.

    If a participant fails to pay an installment on the due date, they will be immediately removed from the trip. 

    The program fee policy also includes a refund policy, which states the last day to request a refund on a specified date for each trip. This means that if a participant decides to withdraw from the trip and wants a refund, they must make their request on or before this specified date. Any refund requests made after this date will not be honored. This policy is in place to ensure that the trip organizers have enough time to make necessary adjustments and to ensure fairness to all participants who have made timely payments.

  • Do you have payment installment options?

    Answer

    Yes, we have an installment option to accommodate everyone. Installment amount and due dates vary by destination, and are noted on the unique trip’s page. Please note non-refundable deposits are required to secure your spot. If you require further accommodation, please contact the Special Programs Officer.

     

    Discover Tunisia with HCI – Mediterranean Sea Edition (May 7-14 2023)

    EARLYBIRD PROGRAM FEE (Until March 19th 2023)

    Total Program fee: $1,980.00

    Installment #1 (Non-refundable Deposit) DUE UPON REGISTRATION: $660.00

    Installment #2 DUE BY MARCH 6TH 2023: $660.00

    Installment  #3 DUE BY MARCH 27TH 2023: $660.00

    Last day to request refund: Friday, March 31, 2023

     

    Discover Turkiye with HCI (June 23 – July 1 2023)

    EARLYBIRD PROGRAM FEE (Until March 19th 2023)

    Total Program fee: $2,860.00

    Installment  #1 (Non-refundable Deposit) DUE UPON REGISTRATION: $715.00

    Installment  #2 – DUE BY MARCH 13th 2023: $715.00

    Installment  #3 – DUE BY APRIL 3RD 2023: $715.00

    Installment  #4 – DUE BY MAY 1ST 2023: $715.00

    Last day to request refund: Monday, May 8, 2023

     

    Discover Tunisia with HCI – Sahara Desert Edition (Oct 3 -13 2023)

    EARLYBIRD PROGRAM FEE (Until March 19th 2023)

    Total Program fee: $2,800.00

    Installment  #1 (Non-refundable Deposit) DUE UPON REGISTRATION: $700.00

    Installment  #2 DUE BY APRIL 24TH 2023: $700.00

    Installment  #3 DUE BY JUNE 5TH 2023: $700.00

    Installment  #4 DUE BY AUGUST 14TH 2023: $700.00

    Last day to request refund: Monday, August 21, 2023

     

    It is important to be aware of the payment structure and the specified due dates for payment, as failing to make payment by the due date will result in losing your deposit and your spot on the trip. It is also important to be aware of the last day to request a refund, as this will allow you to make an informed decision about whether or not to participate in the trip. 

    We highly recommend adding the important dates to your personal calendars to keep track!

  • What are the payment options available?

    Answer

    Only credit card and e-transfers are accepted at this time.

  • How can I sign up?

    Answer

    To sign up for the discovery trips, please follow  the steps below:

    1. Visit the website humanconcern.org/discover and review the trip information and requirements.
    2. Complete the registration form and provide any necessary information.
    3. Pay the deposit to secure your spot on the trip.
    4. Once you have completed these steps, our officer will follow up with you to confirm your registration and provide any additional information or instructions.

    We highly recommend signing up as soon as possible to secure a spot on your trip of choice as spots are very limited!

  • Will I be required to do a background check?

    Answer

    Yes. Due to the sensitive nature of the work that you will be participating in, it is required that you obtain a vulnerable sector police clearance prior to departure. A vulnerable sector police clearance is a type of background check that is specifically designed to screen individuals who will be working with vulnerable populations, such as children or elderly individuals. The clearance report must be submitted 6 weeks prior departure.  

    To obtain a vulnerable sector police clearance, you will need to contact your local police department. They will be able to provide you with the necessary forms and instructions for how to apply. You will also be provided with a letter confirming that you are a volunteer and that the clearance is required for your volunteer work. The process and requirements may vary depending on your location. Keep in mind that this process can take several weeks, so it is important to plan ahead and start the application process well in advance of your trip.

  • Do I need to fundraise?

    Answer

    Yes. As part of the discovery program, it is expected that you will raise $1000 to be used towards the volunteer activities that you will be participating in. This fundraising effort is a way for participants to contribute to the costs associated with the volunteer projects and to help ensure that the programs remain sustainable. The funds raised will be used to cover expenses such as materials and equipment, transportation, and other costs related to the volunteer activities.

  • I have never fundraised before, will support and guidance be provided?

    Answer

    Yes, absolutely! We will provide you with a fundraising workshop that includes tips on how to fundraise, how to engage your network, and other helpful information. You will also receive an online fundraising page through which you can collect donations from friends, family, and community members.

    We encourage you to be proactive and creative in your fundraising efforts and to reach out to your network for support. Your participation in this fundraising effort will help make a difference in the world and contribute to the success of the trip.

  • What kind of volunteer activities will I do?

    Answer

    During the discovery trips, you will have the opportunity to participate in a range of activities that aim to make a positive impact in the host community. Some of the activities you may be involved in include:

    • Building a library in a remote school: This may involve renovating an existing library or creating a new one from scratch. You will work with a team to paint, assemble furniture, and set up the library to provide students with access to books and other learning materials.
    • Distributing food, winter, and home kits to disadvantaged groups: You may work with local partners to identify families in need and deliver essential items such as food, clothing, and home essentials.
    • Hosting fun events for orphans: You may have the opportunity to work one-on-one with orphans and provide them with fun activities and events to bring joy and hope to their lives.
    • Meeting refugees: You may have the chance to visit refugee homes or interact with refugees in the host community. This can provide a unique opportunity to learn about their experiences and offer support.
    • Visiting patients: You may have the opportunity to visit patients and host a special lunch, as well as distribute gifts.

    Overall, the activities you will participate in during the discovery trips will be focused on making a positive difference in the host community and giving back to those in need.

    NOTE: Each trip is different! To know which volunteer activities you will be participating in, please review the itinerary for the specific trip you are interested in.

  • Do I need to have travel insurance?

    Answer

    Yes. You are required to have valid travel and medical insurance for the duration of the trip. You should obtain travel insurance that covers trip cancellation, lost or stolen luggage, emergency medical expenses, and other unexpected events. You should also obtain medical insurance that covers emergency medical treatment, hospitalization, and transportation back to the home country in case of serious illness or injury. Scuba diving insurance is also recommended for trips that include that activity. 

    Travel insurance is widely available and can be easily obtained in a number of ways. Many credit card companies offer travel insurance as a benefit for cardholders, so it is  worth checking with your credit card issuer to see if this is an option for you. Additionally, many universities and workplaces offer travel insurance as part of their benefits packages, and it is also worth checking with your university or employer to see if this is an option for you. There are also a number of independent travel insurance companies that offer policies for individuals, so you can shop around and compare prices and coverage to find the best option for your needs.

    Please make sure to bring a copy of your travel insurance policy with you on the trip in case you need to reference it.

  • Is the accommodation shared?

    Answer

    Yes, shared accommodation will be provided for all participants. The accommodation will be same-gender. This is a common arrangement for international trips in order to make the most efficient use of resources and to provide a comfortable and safe living environment for all participants. 

    Please note that shared accommodation may involve sharing a room with multiple people or sleeping in a dorm-style arrangement.

  • Are dietary restrictions accommodated?

    Answer

    We will do our best to accommodate dietary restrictions for the discovery trips. Please let us know in advance if you have any allergies or dietary preferences such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, etc. so that we can make appropriate arrangements. 

    We will work with local partners and vendors to ensure that you have access to meals that meet your dietary needs. However, please note that it may not always be possible to accommodate all dietary restrictions due to the nature of the trip and the availability of certain foods in the host country. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation in this matter.

  • Will there be any cultural difference?

    Answer

    During the discovery trips you will have the opportunity to learn about and experience different cultures and customs. It is important to respect these cultural differences and to be mindful of your actions and behaviors while abroad. This may involve following local customs and traditions, such as dressing modestly, removing your shoes before entering a home, or observing religious practices. It is also important to be open-minded and respectful of other perspectives and ways of life, even if they differ from your own. By showing respect for different cultures and customs, you can help to create a positive and harmonious environment during your trip.

  • Are these trips safe?

    Answer

    We strive to make the discovery trips as safe as possible for all participants. To accomplish this, we take several precautions and follow best practices for international travel. Some of the measures HCI takes include:

    1. Contacting local authorities: We work closely with local authorities and organizations in the host country to ensure that we have the necessary permissions and support for our activities.
    2. Providing safety and security overview: All participants will receive a safety and security onboarding overview before departing on the trip to help them understand potential risks and how to protect themselves.
    3. Having an emergency plan in place: We have an emergency plan in place in case of any unexpected events or emergencies. This includes measures to ensure the safety and well-being of all participants.
    4. Medical and travel insurance: All participants are required to have medical and travel insurance to protect them in case of illness or injury.

    By following these and other safety measures, we aim to provide a safe and enjoyable experience for all participants on each discovery trip.

  • Will we have some free time?

    Answer

    During your discovery trip, you will have some free time in which you can relax, explore the host community, and engage in personal activities. This free time is an important opportunity to recharge and enjoy the experience of being abroad.

    We encourage you to use your free time to learn more about the host culture and to engage in activities that interest you. This might include visiting local landmarks, trying new foods, shopping at local markets, or simply relaxing and enjoying the local environment.

    It is important to be mindful of local customs and to respect the host community during your free time. We also recommend taking basic safety precautions and staying with a group or a trusted local guide when exploring the area.

    We hope you will make the most of your free time and use it to enrich your volunteer experience and create lasting memories.

  • Will we have an opportunity to exchange currency and purchase a SIM card?

    Answer

    During the discovery trip, you will have the opportunity to exchange money and purchase a local SIM card at the start of the trip. This can be useful for accessing data and staying connected while abroad.

    We recommend that you bring a credit card with you on the trip as well, as this can be a convenient and secure way to make purchases and access funds while abroad. It is also a good idea to have some local currency on hand for small purchases and incidentals.

    We suggest that you check with your credit card and bank beforehand to ensure that your card will be accepted in the host country and to confirm any fees or restrictions that may apply. You may also want to consider obtaining a travel credit card specifically for your trip, as these often offer additional benefits and protections for travelers.

    Overall, having access to data and a credit card can be helpful during the discovery trip, but it is important to use these resources responsibly and to be mindful of any fees or charges that may apply.

  • Can I go with my friend?

    Answer

    Yes! If you would like to bring a friend along on the discovery trip, you can encourage them to apply as well. We welcome participants of all backgrounds and are happy to have friends join the trip together. You will be able to participate in the trip together and share in the experience of making a positive impact in the host community. We hope you will consider inviting a friend to join you on this exciting and meaningful adventure!

DISCOVER WITH HCI
Other questions? Please contact us at internationaltrips@humanconcern.org