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Terms and Conditions

Volunteers Around the World Program Agreement Terms and Conditions

All volunteers must agree to Volunteers Around the World’s Terms and Conditions prior to traveling abroad. Please contact us for more information.

Please read all provisions of this Release and Waiver of Liability and Participation Agreement (the “Agreement”) carefully before signing.

1. Acknowledgment and Acceptance of Risk/Informed Consent.

In arranging various outreach programs for volunteers, Volunteers Around the World (VAW), Inc., (“VAW”), makes every effort to protect the welfare and safety of its volunteers and participants. Recognizing, however, that participation in these programs is voluntary and that there are certain inherent risks that volunteers and participants voluntarily assume, I understand and agree that neither VAW, or its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, nor any cooperating institution, assumes any responsibility for damages to or loss of my property, personal illness or injury, or death to me while I participate in the program. By voluntarily participating in this abroad outreach volunteer program, I freely assume any risk associated with or arising out of traveling, conducting research, engaging in community service, and living abroad. I further acknowledge that it is my responsibility to review U.S. State Department travel advisories, warnings, or other information available through the U.S. Department of State and freely assume any and all risks which may arise, concern, or relate to the conditions contained in any advisory statements, warnings or other information. I also acknowledge that I am free to seek out any additional information I may desire before I choose to travel and volunteer abroad. I agree that, as a condition of participating in any program outside of the U.S., my decision to travel and volunteer abroad is solely my choice and that I voluntarily assume any and all related risks concerning such activities, including the risk of needing additional information upon which to make an informed choice about whether to participate in such activities.

2. Applications.

(a)        Applications.    Applications for participation in all VAW programs are accepted throughout the year and are subject to space limited availability. Individual volunteers will be placed on a team with an existing VAW location, at dates that are mutually convenient for both VAW and the volunteer. VAW maintains chapters that are run throughout the year at universities and in communities throughout the world. International trips take place during winter, spring and summer breaks. Upon receipt of the volunteer application and initial deposit (described below), we will secure the position in the program for successful applicants. Deposits will be refunded for all unsuccessful applicants. VAW will contact all applicants within two weeks of receipt of the application, and will inform the applicants whether they have been accepted into the program for which they initially applied.

(b)        Application Instructions. Individual volunteers and chapter team members: please fill out the volunteer application here and pay your initial deposit of $250 here. If you are interested in applying to become a team leader, there are Application instructions here.

3. Deposits and Program Fees.

(a)        Deposits. Deposit deadlines are different for every program in the various VAW locations. Please contact VAW or your team leader for more information. Airfare is typically purchased 100 days, or approximately 3.5 months, prior to departure. All registration and program fees required to participate in the VAW programs are due in full no later than 8 weeks, or 56 days, prior to trip departure.

(b)        Non-refundable Fees.    The first $250, plus any funds already spent (such as airfare), are non-refundable and non-transferable. Careful planning goes into developing VAW’s volunteer abroad programs. As a result, VAW incurs substantial administrative and planning costs prior to the start of each program. Additionally, eight weeks, or 56 days, prior to the trip no funds are refundable because VAW is required to pay in-country costs (such as hotel fees, ground transportation etc.).

(c)        Program Fees. The following is a list of the program fees in the various countries:

Country Regular program fee High season program fee**
Cambodia $1795 $1895
Guatemala $1695 $1795
Dominican Republic $1795 $1895
Panama $1795 $1895
Peru $1695 $1795
Vietnam $1795 $1895

**Volunteers Around the World’s high season is in the months of May and August, as well as from December 24-January 1. If any of a team’s trip days fall within that range, the high season program fee applies.

The program fees DO include the following: (1) Food and lodging* in the host community for up to two weeks; (2) In country transportation to and from scheduled work sites; (3) Transportation to and from the airport in the host community; (4) Working with  local partner organizations; (5) Gaining valuable international experience; (6) Orientation in the host community; (7) Access to 24-hour support staff on-site in the host community; (8) Access to support staff prior to departure to the host community; (9) Participation in productive volunteer work; (10) Living in communities with VAW staff and other volunteers; and (11) travel insurance, including medical insurance in country. Volunteers should check with their local schools, as some provide college credit for VAW’s abroad program.

The program fees DO NOT include (1) Passport, entry, or visa fees; (2) Independent travel during, before or after the program; *(3) Food, lodging and transportation during independent travel; (4) Personal expenses; (5) airfare; or (6) faculty program fees or airfare if traveling with a faculty-led trip.

Program fees may change without notice due to currency exchanges and the unique nature of international travel. Current prices are available on VAW’s website.

4. Donations.

VAW encourages volunteers and individuals to make donations to its various medical and dental supply funds. The donations will be used to purchase necessary medications and medical and dental supplies to be used in the international host countries. Any donations made by or on behalf of a volunteer to any medical supply fund or dental supply fund are non-refundable donations. Donations made to VAW are not tax deductible. However, interested parties may make donations through VAW’s fiscal sponsor for a tax-deduction. Please contact Volunteers Around the World directly for more information.

5. Insurance; Travel Documents.

I agree that it is my responsibility, and a condition of participation in VAW’s program, to ascertain whether I have adequate health and accident coverage and to procure adequate health and accident coverage, and any other insurance coverage as I may deem necessary. Furthermore, I understand that it is my sole responsibility to review such coverage and obtain any additional coverage that I deem appropriate. I understand that I must possess a valid passport for acceptance into VAW’s program. I also understand that I am responsible for any costs associated with passports, visas, entry fees, airport taxes, obtaining the proper travel documents for the trip, and changes to flight itineraries.

6. Program Changes and Cancellations.

I understand and agree that, although VAW will attempt to maintain the program as described in its publications and brochures, it reserves the right to change the program, including the itinerary, travel arrangements, or accommodations, at any time and for any reason, with or without notice, and that neither VAW, nor its officers, directors, employees, agents, or representatives shall be responsible or liable for any expenses or losses that I may sustain because of these changes.

Further, VAW reserves the right to cancel any program if there are insufficient registrants or if VAW determines it is in the best interest of the volunteer’s safety and quality of programming to cancel the program. VAW is not responsible for other costs incurred by applicants preparing for the trip. Should a program be cancelled by VAW, VAW will refund all fees paid, less any fees associated with flight tickets and any funds already spent. If a volunteer cancels for any reason, VAW will not refund any fees.

7. Removal from Program.

I understand and agree that VAW reserves the right to decline to retain me in the program at any time if my actions or general behavior, in the sole discretion of VAW, or its officers, directors, employees, or agents, is determined to impede or to obstruct the progress of the program in any way or if I fail to follow VAW’s policies.

8. Waiver, Release, and Hold Harmless.

I understand and agree that, although VAW has made every reasonable effort to assure my safety while participating in the program, there are unavoidable risks in travel overseas. I do hereby forever and absolutely waive and release any and all claims against VAW, its officers, directors, employees, agents, representatives, and any program organizer or operator employed by VAW (collectively, the “Releasees”), arising out of or relating to my participation in the program, including but not limited to, claims for any injury, loss, damage or accident, delay or expense resulting from the use of any vehicle, any strikes, war, acts of terrorism, weather, sickness, quarantine, government restrictions or regulations or arising from any act of omission of any steamship, airline, railroad, bus company, taxi service, hotel, restaurant, school, university, or other firm, agency, company or individual or any other related matter. I also release the Releasees and agree to indemnify and hold them harmless, with regard to any financial obligations or liabilities that I may personally incur or any damage or injury to the person or property of others that I may cause, while participating in the named program. I further agree that the Releasees are not in any way responsible for any injury or damage that I sustain as a result of my own negligent acts.

9. Local Laws and Prohibition of Illegal Drugs.

I understand and agree that breaches of the local law of the host community or country will be referred to and handled by the appropriate law enforcement authorities. Regardless of the laws of any foreign country, I further agree that the use of illegal drugs in any form, as governed by the laws of the United States of America, will not be tolerated and will be grounds for immediate removal from the program and total forfeiture of all program fees. I understand while I am a visitor in a foreign country, I will be subject to the laws of that country.

10. Independent Travel and Operation of Vehicles.

I understand and agree that (1) prior to the start of the program, (2) during free time within the period of the program, and (3) after the program ending date, I may elect to travel independently at my own expense. I agree to inform the program leader of my travel plans and understand that I shall be solely responsible for any such travel during any free time. I understand that VAW strongly discourages volunteers from renting or operating vehicles while participating in volunteer abroad programs. I understand that poor road conditions, different traffic laws and regulations, and varying insurance requirements can make driving motor vehicles in foreign countries extremely hazardous and is not recommended by VAW. If I rent or operate a vehicle, while participating in any education abroad program, I agree that such activity is totally voluntarily on my part and against VAW’s advice.

11. Health and Safety.

(a)        I represent and warrant I have consulted with a medical doctor or will consult with a medical doctor with regard to my personal medical needs prior to participation in VAW’s program. I represent and warrant that there are no physical or mental health-related reasons, problems or special dietary requirements or restrictions which would preclude or restrict me from safely participating in VAW’s program.

(b)        In the event I suffer any injury or illness while participating in VAW’s program, I hereby authorize the representative of VAW, at my expense, to secure necessary treatment, including, but not limited to, the administration of an anesthetic and surgery, and such medication as may be prescribed. It is further agreed that if my condition so requires, I may be returned to the United States at my expense. I further assume any and all risks associated with or arising from any such medical treatment and agree to waive any and all claims which I might assert against VAW, or its officers, directors, employees, agents, or representatives for such medical treatment. Notwithstanding the foregoing, this consent to medical treatment does not constitute an obligation on the part of VAW to secure any such treatment on my behalf. I further acknowledge that at times during the program I may be many hours from the nearest medical care or treatment, that available medical treatment may not equate with the level of care available in many U.S. hospitals, and that these conditions and the remoteness of some of my travel may subject me to additional risks of injury, disease, death or damage to my personal property; and, that any injuries or damage I do sustain may grow more severe or lead to my premature death due to the remoteness of the location, the lack of quick access to quality medical care in some instances, and/or the poor quality of the roads or available transportation in some areas.

(c)        I understand and hereby acknowledge that I have carefully reviewed and fully understand the directives and recommendations, including recommendations concerning immunizations and medicines for travel to, in and around the country I am traveling to provided by:

(i) The United States State Department, which issues Travel Warnings, Travel Alerts and Country Specific Information at:

(ii) The World Health Organization; and

(iii) The Centers for Disease Control, via the International Travelers Hotline at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or at

12. Peru.

I represent and warrant that in addition to the representations I have made in paragraph 11, if I am traveling with VAW to Peru, I understand the health and safety concerns when traveling to high altitude destinations, which health concerns are detailed below:

Individuals traveling to high-altitude Andean destinations, such as Cusco (11,000 feet), Machu Picchu (8,000 feet), or Lake Titicaca (13,000 feet) should discuss the trip with their personal physician prior to departing the United States. Travel to high altitudes could pose a serious risk of illness, hospitalization, and even death, particularly if the traveler has a medical condition that affects blood circulation or breathing. Instances of death have occurred in Peru from medical conditions exacerbated by altitude.

Tourists or visitors, particularly those who suffer from cardiac-related problems or high blood pressure, who wish to travel to high-altitude areas in Peru, should undergo a medical examination before traveling. New arrivals, even healthy and fit persons, will feel symptoms of hypoxia (lack of oxygen) at high-altitude, and most will need time to adjust to the altitude. Most people will have increased respiration and heart rate. Many will have headaches, difficulty sleeping, lack of appetite, minor gastric and intestinal upsets, and mood changes.

To help prevent these complications, consult your personal physician, avoid alcohol and smoking for at least one week after arrival at high altitudes, and limit physical activity for the first 36 to 48 hours after arrival at high altitudes.

*The above was taken from the U.S. Department of State Travel website. To read more about health and safety in Peru, please visit the U.S. Department of State Travel website, here:

13. Veterinary Student Volunteer Waiver.

I represent and warrant that in addition to the representations, acknowledgements and releases I have made herein, if I am a veterinary student volunteer, I understand that I will be in contact with both domestic and/or wild animals, which may include, but are not limited to, horses, elephants, monkeys, llamas, guinea pigs, alpaca, cats, dogs, condors, cougars, bears, parrots, other birds, and/or livestock. I acknowledge 6 the nature of the activities to be performed by me and recognize that in handling both domestic and/or wild animals, a risk of harm, injury, illness, death, or disease exists, including physical harm, illness, death, or disease caused by animals. I acknowledge and agree that all veterinary volunteer activities are to be performed by me at my own risk and I assume full responsibility therefore.

In consideration for permitting me to provide volunteer services to VAW, on behalf of myself, my heirs, personal representatives, and executors, and any others who claim through me, I agree not to hold or attempt to hold the Releasees liable for any death, injury, illness, disease, or damage sustained or incurred by me arising out of, or in any way, connected with my veterinary student volunteer activities for VAW and I do hereby forever and absolutely waive and release any and all claims against the Releasees, for any such injury, damage, accident, disease, quarantine, illness or any other related matter incurred or suffered by me as a veterinary student volunteer. I also release the Releasees and agree to indemnify and hold them harmless, with regard to any financial obligations or liabilities that I may personally incur or any damage or injury to the person or property of others that I may cause, while participating in the named program as a veterinary student volunteer.

14. Image Release Form.

I hereby grant VOLUNTEERS AROUND THE WORLD (VAW), INC., its successors, assigns, and legal representatives (“VAW”) the irrevocable right to use my name, written words, photograph, image, audio recording, video recording, and/or likeness (the “image”) in all forms and manner, including, but not limited to, photographs, videos, or other digital media in any and all of its publications, including Internet web-based publications, websites, promotional material, or for any other similar purpose, without payment or other consideration to me.

I understand and agree that all images will become the property of the VAW and will not be returned. I hereby irrevocably authorize VAW to edit, alter, copy, exhibit, publish, or distribute these images for any lawful purpose. I waive any right to inspect or approve the finished product wherein the image appears. Additionally, I waive any right to royalties or other compensation arising or related to the use of the image.

I hereby hold harmless, release, and forever discharge VAW, and its owners, officers, directors, successors, assigns, and legal representatives from all claims, demands, and causes of action which I, my heirs, representatives, executors, administrators, or any other persons acting on my behalf or on behalf of my estate have or may have arising out of or in connection with this authorization. This Image Release shall be governed by the laws of the state of South Carolina.

15. Covenant Not To Sue.

I promise and agree that I will not sue VAW, or any of its operators, or parent, subsidiary and related entities, or its or their respective officers, directors, employees, agents, and insurers for any damages, losses, claims, causes of action, suits, demands, costs, complaints, including those resulting from any illness, injury and/or death. I further agree that VAW may plead this Agreement as a full and complete defense to any suit brought in violation of this promise.

16. Severability.

I agree that, should any provision or aspect of this Agreement be found to be unenforceable, that all remaining provisions of the Agreement will remain in full force and effect.

17. Governing Law.

I agree that if there is any dispute concerning my participation in the program or the interpretation of this Agreement, any such disagreement shall be determined in accordance with the laws of the State of South Carolina.

18. Entire Agreement and Modification.

The terms and conditions of this Agreement represent my complete understanding of the parties hereto with regard to my participation in the program and supersedes any previous or contemporaneous understandings I may have had with VAW on this subject, whether written or oral, and cannot be changed or amended in any way without the written concurrence of both VAW and me.

19. Independent Analysis and Binding Authority.


20. Other Releases.

This Agreement is in addition to and does not revoke or modify any other agreement or release which I may execute in connection with the education abroad program.

21. Electronic Signature.

Electronic and digital signatures are enforceable under Federal Law. This Agreement may be executed by electronic transmission, and any such electronic signature will constitute an original signature for all purposes. You understand and agree that your eSignature executed in conjunction with the electronic submission of your application will be legally binding and such transaction will be considered authorized by you.

22. Assurances and Consent.



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