Volunteering with HelpX on a Working Holiday Visa

Chapter 5: Tips for a great “helper” experience

Published: 02-10-2019

Author

Pauline

Tips for a great “helper” experience

Every experience is unique, but a few tips consistently apply :

  • Enjoy what you do (or find a way to!).
  • Contact your host before your stay and iron out all the details. Keep an open line of communication during your stay as well to make sure expectations are met on both sides.
  • Don’t accept dangerous tasks (e.g. don’t okay the removal of a dead tree if you’re not an experienced logger!).
  • Ask questions, discuss potential issues and clarify instructions, especially if your language skills are average. Don’t just say “yes” if you only understood half of what your host said!
  • Set expectations on both sides.
  • Select a few hosts you’re interested in, you can’t just copy/past your message and spam ten of them at the same time.
  • And since we’re on the topic, don’t copy/paste your introduction message. Customize it for each host, like you’d do for a cover letter (see, great practice for job hunting!).
  • Let your host know if you have any food allergy or dietary restrictions.
  • Get involved with the family and take interest. This is especially for homestays and farmstays where the owners take pride in their operations.
  • Help out! Cook meals, do dishes, clean, etc. If you’re a (temporary) family member, you should do your share of the chores.
  • Leave a comment on the host’s profile and ask for references. This is probably the only time you’ll ask an employer for references, enjoy!
  • Leave a comment on HelpX if you had a bad experience. And if something doesn’t feel right, leave.

Finally, one last tip—make full use of HelpX’s review system. Make sure to leave your feedback after your experience, both negative and positive. You’ll be helping future volunteers like you! You should also ask your host to leave a review on your profile. It can come in handy if you’re applying for highly sought-after volunteer opportunities.
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Chapter 5 of 5

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