- Why Oyster?
- How long have you been going?
- Can I speak to a former participant?
- Is Oyster a member of the Year Out Group?
- Does Oyster adhere to the requirements of BS8848?
- Is there a minimum or maximum age for participants?
- Do I need to learn a language?
- Do I travel on my own?
- Can friends go together?
- Can I do more than one placement?
- What if I want to arrange my own flights?
- How do I book?
- Why do you need to interview me?
- Can I have a telephone interview?
- What happens at the interview?
- What is a pre-departure course?
- When do I pay?
- How do I raise the money?
Through our experience, we know what makes a great gap year. Roger has had almost 20 years experience of sending young people overseas. Our two Destination Managers have both taken gap years through Oyster themselves – Jon spent 5 months on our Tanzania program between school and University and Anne volunteered on two animal welfare programs when she finished University before joining Oyster.
Equally – if not more – important to us is to know that our volunteer projects have real value for host countries. We have long relationships with most of our host projects, great overseas representatives and an experienced, enthusiastic team in the UK.
How long have you been going?
Most placements have been running since 2000 and many staff have been with us since then, but we changed our name to Oyster in 2006.
Can I speak to a former participant?
We’ll happily put you in touch with a former participant, preferably one from the placement you’re interested in (but we can’t guarantee this). You can also find Oyster on Facebook, we have a really popular page that a lot of our past and present participants are members of.
Is Oyster a member of the Year Out Group?
Yes, we are full members. All our procedures have been fully assessed.
Does Oyster adhere to the requirements of BS8848?
Yes, we have been through the British Standard and have ensured that our policies and procedures are up to date and inline with the expectations of BS8848.
Is there a minimum or maximum age for participants?
All participants need to be at least 18 years old before departure. You need to be aged 18-30 for a Canadian or Australian visa, but otherwise we welcome career breakers of any age.
Do I need to learn a language?
Any language skills you already have will be really useful, particularly Spanish for our Chile program, Portuguese for Brazil and French for Tremblant. You don’t need to speak another language already, but we really encourage you to learn out there. Most participants find it one of the most rewarding bits of their time away. Don’t worry; there’s basic teaching on arrival.
Do I travel on my own?
Most of our destinations operate on a group departure system. Groups vary in size but you are certain to make friends with some or all of your group-mates; many travel together after the placement. If you’d prefer to go on your own, that’s fine, just give us a ring.
Lots of our short term animal welfare programs attract people who are happy to travel to the project on their own. With these you can go at anytime of the year so we don’t group you up together. You will be sure to meet a great group of other volunteers on arrival though and make friends with people from around the world.
Can friends go together?
Can I do more than one placement?
Yes. Many participants like to combine a bit of hedonism with feeling good about themselves, so do a voluntary and a paid placement.
What if I want to arrange my own flights?
That's fine, just let us know and we’ll reduce your placement price accordingly. Remember that you may miss out on travelling with your group and, more importantly, you will not be protected by our ATOL.
On our short term animal welfare programs we do not automatically include flights. Instead we recommend that you contact our flights partner – GYT (part of FlightCentre). You can contact the team by email (email@example.com) or by phone (0844 5609863). Just let them know the Oyster project you are going on and the date you need to arrive and they will do the rest. They are open Mon-Fri 9am-7pm so feel free to ask them any flight related questions you might have.
How do I book?
Just click on the ‘Book’ button at the top of every page. From there you can see our price list and read ‘Our Booking Process Explained’ page before completing one of our Booking Forms (there’s a separate one for each project).
Why do you need to interview me?
By far the best way of getting the right placement for the right person is to interview you. That way you make the most of your time abroad and our projects get the right participants. It also lets you check us out! At the interview we will also give you a briefing and show you photos of the program you’ve chosen.
Can I have a telephone interview?
We always prefer to meet you at our office in Sussex if you are able to get to us. We can send you directions coming by car and public transport. Increasingly we are able to interview people over the phone or Skype and would be happy to do this for most of our projects.
What happens at the interview?
You spend a couple of hours with us in East Sussex to meet the team and destination manager for your placement – and possibly other applicants for your destination. We want to know about your life experience, motivation and expectations and will brief you on your potential placement. You will hear back from us within 24 hours.
What is a pre-departure course?
Courses are at or near the Oyster offices and last 1-2 days, depending on destination. Your only cost is getting there and back. They cover everything from what you need to take to health, safety, language and cultural issues. It's also a great chance to meet your travel-mates.
When do I pay?
You pay a £180 deposit pre-interview. This is refundable if you are not offered a place or decide not to accept one. If you accept a place, it counts as your first payment, to be followed by a payment of £450 six months before departure and the balance 90 days before departure.
How do I raise the money?
Most people work, but we can give you plenty of fund-raising ideas. Just contact us for inspiration!
Find out more
Contact Roger (01892 770771; firstname.lastname@example.org).