FAQ

Solidarity Experiences Abroad is located in DeCew Residence, office number 217 between stairwell 10 and 11.

If you have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us by emailing info@solidarityexperiencesabroad.org

Following each SEA program, an evaluation form will be made available for participants to voice their opinions about their experience. All constructive feedback, including comments and suggestions, will be kept confidential.

If you wish to make further comments, all information should be sent directly to Raoul Masseur at the Faith and Life Centre. Raoul Masseur can be reached by e-mailing rmasseur@brocku.ca or by calling 905 688 5550  x4764.

If you would like to apply for the position of SEA program Trip Leader assistant, please visit the available link. Read over all of the information provided, including the requirements of a leader assistant. Download the trip-leader application form, complete with the essay, and return it to the Program Assistants in the Campus Ministries Office before the application deadline.

The Pre-Departure Orientation is mandatory and happens once. Pre-departure sessions and meetings are sessions organized a few months prior to the participants’ departure. The meetings are designed to prepare participants before they leave on their trip.

The Pre-Departure Orientation (PDO) will provide valuable information regarding international and political differences as well as how to adapt to cultural changes. Booklets on the country of destination will be given to each participant to help them learn about the country before they go. Mandatory attendance is required. If participants do not attend the PDO their attendance on the trips may be reconsidered. Several different times will be offered for each session.

While participating in the Solidarity Experiences Abroad programs, participants stay in retreat houses or universities. These retreat houses provide safe and comfortable accommodations, as well as meals for the participants. Participants may stay in double or triple occupancy rooms. Specific addresses of retreat houses will be provided to participants during the pre-departure orientation sessions.

Weather conditions vary from country to country as well as the time of year. Participants should check the forecast for the country they are traveling to in order to get a better idea of what the climate will be like while they are visiting the country. More information will be provided for each country at the pre-departure orientation sessions.

Every participant is allowed two suitcases at 50lbs each. It is asked that one suitcase be filled with personal items while the second be used for donations. Donation letter templates are available for your use when requesting donations from organizations and businesses. Powerpoint presentations can also be made available for those who are interested in doing presentations to larger groups.

You and your donors can decide whether monetary donations will go towards paying for your trip or to the organization to help fund on-site projects. Some common areas to ask for donations are from churches, religious organizations, dentists, doctors or other organizations. Please try and fill your bags with, medical supplies, school supplies, baby supplies, etc. before adding adult clothing donations. Much of the work SEA does is with children. For a list of donation ideas, click here (PDF).

Participants will be working with local organizations, learning and providing assistance and aid according to priorities established with the people and local community leaders. Tasks will differ as the places and needs vary. Some possibilities are: running health campaigns, aiding in clinics, building schools, medical out-post and community centres, feeding the homeless, empowering women projects, etc. As well, participants provide the local organizations with much needed donations.

Participants work in various volunteer places defined with local people and local community leaders throughout the local community. Some of the placements available are in shanty towns, rural areas, hospitals, health campaigns, schools, daycares, elders’ homes, maternity clinics, physiotherapy clinics, construction and renovation projects, environmental projects, and soup kitchens. Placements vary with each country. It is our desire to place participants in locations that are related to their future career goals, so participants are free to request placements in which their interest lies.

Typically, as a group, participants visit the possible volunteer placements. Once they have visited the placements participants organize into groups for the placements they are interested in. Participants will have the opportunity to change their volunteer placements throughout the week if they so desire or remain at one placement for the duration of the trip. The size of the group for each placement depends on the requirements and needs of the specific placement.

Participants will be active in different volunteer placements during most of the day. Night activities are designed to increase the participants’ knowledge of the country, its culture and build community. Activities include visiting museums, attending concerts or dancing classes, lectures, or visiting local shopping destinations and many more.

Language classes when necessary is provided in order to aid the process of communication with locals. Overnight excursions to local landmarks will also be provided, such as Macchu Picchu for Peru, Atlantic Coast for Brazil, and Quito for Ecuador, etc. The program is designed not only to help participants act in solidarity with the brother and sisters in need, but to also give them an understanding of the culture and history of the country they visit.

Many participants who participate in the programs are not fluent in a second language. In countries where English is not the main language, participants will attend language classes in-country in order to equip them with basic knowledge of that language.

Usually, each Solidarity Experiences Abroad participant is allowed two pieces of luggage each weighting 50 pounds that can be checked through. We encourage participants to use one bag for their luggage and the other bag to be used to take donations down to the country they are visiting. Different airlines have specific requirements that will be discussed at the pre-departure meetings.

The packing list depends on the trip the participant participates in. A general packing list can be found by clicking here (PDF).

Although no religious affiliation is required for participation, this inclusive program provides spiritual exposure and the possibility of spiritual exploration and it expects participants to display clear respect for the spiritual, religious believes and practices of other participants and of local cultures.

Yes. All participants are responsible for arranging their own transportation to the airport. However, occasionally participants will arrange their own carpooling groups.

Participants who have special dietary requirements (such as vegetarian, lactose intolerant, etc.) should indicate this while registering. All efforts will be made to accommodate the participant while on the program. SEA Trips have had no problems organizing or accommodating these regular dietary restrictions.

Travelling to any destination, especially a developing country, poses some safety risks. However, the Solidarity Experiences Abroad program takes every possible safety precaution in order to ensure the safety of its participants. Participants board in safe accommodations and are required to travel in groups at all times during the program. As long as participants are aware of their surroundings and obey the guidelines set out by their SEA Program Leaders, they should not be exposed to unreasonable danger.

Currently, the only country that the SEA participants visit, which requires a visa for Canadian citizens is Brazil. In order to apply for an entrance visa, participants must have a valid passport. Typically visas are applied for as a group. Further information will be provided upon registration. Visa fees are not included in the price of the program

Yes, all participants travelling out of country need a valid passport. All passports must be signed with all emergency contact information filled out and be valid for at least 6 months from the date of your scheduled return.

In the event of cancellation, you will not be reimbursed the $500 registration deposit and there may be additional penalties which may not allow you to be reimbursed for the full cost of the trip. Travel insurance is included in the price of the program which will cover any emergency cancellations due to illness, injury, death, or death of a family member. Cancellation due to the reoccurrence of a personal, pre-existing medical condition may not be accepted. Please review our Cancellation Policy by clicking here.

If a participant has a health condition, they should determine with their doctors if it is safe for them to travel and participate in the SEA Program. Participants should ensure that they are able to fully participate in this program due to its intense physical, emotional and psychological demands. It is important to find out whether travel insurance will provide coverage for your condition in the case of an emergency/relapse of a pre-existing condition. For more information on your travel insurance contact your insurance provider. In the case of a medical emergency while overseas, an emergency protocol is in place to provide health coverage in-country and transportation back home if deemed necessary. If you do not have travel insurance, reach out to sea@brocku.ca for options.

Vaccinations are not required in order to participate in the SEA Program. However, it is mandatory that participants make an appointment with their doctors or a travel clinic to discuss recommended vaccinations for their destination. Ultimately participants should make a decision with their doctor to determine whether it is necessary or convenient for them to receive certain vaccinations.

The trips usually allow between 20 and 35 participants to register (depending on the program). Registration is based on a process of selection, determined by an essay and an interview with SEA Staff.

Solidarity Experiences Abroad is open to anyone who is open to accepting the physical, emotional and psychological demands of the trip. The majority of SEA participants are university students or new graduates looking to apply some of their skills, knowledge and expertise towards a specific project that SEA is offering. We also accommodate those who are exploring other professions and have an altruistic desire to serve the poor and developing communities. Professionals who are willing to lend their expertise are highly welcomed, as well as faculty and staff members from educational institutes. If your business or faculty is interested in creating a partnership with Solidarity Experiences Abroad, please contact us at your convenience to discuss future opportunities.

All cheques should be made payable to “Solidarity Experiences Abroad”.

In the past, participants have found many ways of raising money to go towards the cost of their trip. Some participants have written letters and sought financial aid from their own community: groups, clubs, or churches. Participants appeal to their family members, and hold their own fundraising events. If needed, letter templates for donation letters and PowerPoint presentations can be provided to help participants with their fundraising efforts.

The cost of the trip differs according to the program length. The two week programs to Peru or Ecuador cost from $2,596 to $3,596; the program to Brazil costs $3,926; and the four week program to South America costs $4,900.

The cost for the Reading Week programs are typically cheaper because of destinations, timing and length, however the exact price is yet to be determined based on airfare etc. These prices are subject to change. Prices are all inclusive, covering airfare, accommodation, meals, transportation, and travel insurance. Participants should bring extra money for incidental expenses and local airport taxes.

Solidarity Experience Abroad is a short-term international experiential learning program designed for participants to explore social justice initiatives through solidarity, culture and spirituality. Our objective is to connect participants’ career goals with various international development projects, and to provide participants with a unique opportunity to experience hands-on solidarity on an exciting new level. Not only are participants placed outside their usual comfort zones by working on projects in developing countries, but participants also explore the rich culture and history of each place they visit. In addition, participants connect and interact with local university students, professionals, and local community leaders, and are encouraged to explore and develop critical thinking skills. These experiences give participants the opportunity to apply the valuable skills they have learned from their academic and professional training to give back to the poor, afflicted and those most in need.


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