Frequently Asked Questions
- Time, Dates and Length of Time
- Place and Accommodations
- Number of Volunteers and Group Size
- Administration and Team
- Age Requirement
- Volunteering without Accommodations/1Planet Services
- Last Minute Registration
- Projects, Type of Volunteer Work and Programs
- Cancelation of Trip by 1Planet
- Application Process
- Learning Spanish
Time, Dates and Length of Time
1. On what dates does the program begin/end?
The teaching/Tutoring program takes place during spring (January-May) and fall (September-November) semesters.
The animal rescue, senior center and environmental programs take place during the month of March (Spring Break) and in the summer (May-August)
2. Do you have any openings for a few months?
Definitely! Each one of our programs lasts 3-4 months.
3. How many weeks can you volunteer?
Depends on the program you choose. Each program has its own timeframe but you can stay with us for as long as the program lasts! (See question 1 for information about dates.)
Place and Accommodations
1. Where do you stay?
We have some really cool volunteer houses for each program!
All the volunteer houses are situated in a traditional Puerto Rican neighborhood close to downtown. (Volunteers staying in Rincon are very close to the beach and some surfing action!)
2. What are the accommodations like?
The houses are very comfortable and have all the amenities you need. Needless to say you’ll feel like a local when you stay with 1Planet!
Number of Volunteers/Group Size
1. How many people go?
We try to keep the group size for the Coamo location at 6 per week but the numbers for the other locations can expand to 10.
2. We are currently seeking an abroad volunteer experience for our club. Does 1 Planet host groups?
We do host groups and recently hosted a group of medical students from the University of Georgia.
3. How many persons are permitted in each group and what would be the cost range?
We try to keep the group sizes to between 6 and 10 but can make accommodations for larger groups. The cost is always 500 dollars per week per person.
4. What it the average size of the group?
The size of the groups varies but the average is 8.
5. Will there be more travelers when I participate?
For economy of scale we try to keep groups of at least 5.
6. Are there any travelers who come alone?
It is not uncommon for single volunteers to enter the program.
7. Can I travel alone?
8. Can I stay with a friend?
Yes but it might involve additional transportation costs.
9. Are there any group rates available?
Not at this time but would be considered.
Administration and Team
1. Who is in charge of the program?
Alex Borges and Brent Jacobs, co-founders of 1Planet are in charge and present at almost all sites. Occasionally a program coordinator may be in charge.
1. What ages attend?
You must be 18 to participate without a parent or guardian.
2. I am a senior citizen, can I participate?
3. I have a teenage son/daughter, can they attend?
Only with a parent or guardian.
4. What is the average age for the volunteers?
Average age is mid 30's.
5. How old do you have to be to participate?
18 or be accompanied by an adult.
Volunteering without Accommodations/1Planet Services
1. I am living in Puerto Rico and want to volunteer with this program. Since I will not need to stay in your accommodations or need food, could I join your crew and help out the city?
We have made accommodations for that possibility in the past.
2. I noticed that the fee includes transportation to and from the airport which I won't need. What other arrangement are there for locals to volunteer?
You could also provide your own transportation.
3. If I have my own place to stay, would the price vary?
We would consider it on a case by case situation.
Last Minute Registration
1. I may be booking a last minute trip to Puerto Rico and would be very interested in volunteering. Would it be possible to join your program?
It is very possible depending on whether we have a spot available. We can usually work something out.
2. Is it too late to apply?
We have programs at different times during the year so probably no.
Projects, Type of Volunteer Work and Programs
1. I am a biologist seeking knowledge and understanding of the ecological processes of Puerto Rico, any programs for me?
Yes, we have a relationship with the Surfrider Foundation in Rincon which monitors the beaches for bacteria in the water.
2. I'm interested in youth tutoring and mentoring. Do you offer this type of project?
The program in Coamo involves working with youth in a classroom setting.
3. What type of volunteer work will I be doing?
There are several options including tutoring, nature conservancy, pet rescue, and a senior citizens center.
4. I am currently seeking an abroad volunteer experience related to the medical field. Is this possible?
We have arranged for tours of medical facilities and facilitated health fairs at the senior center.
5. Any projects related to social sciences?
The entire program immerses you in the unique culture of Puerto Rico and is very interesting from a sociological perspective. The lifestyle is very different than what is experienced in the U.S. and Canada.
6. We are interested in animal welfare; can you let me know more details?
Yes, one of our first programs involved a dog rescue non-profit where we work with the rescued street dogs to socialize them and prepare them for adoption.
7. I am interested in gaining experience in management and healthcare combined. Are there any specific areas that I should focus on?
We have arranged tours of medical facilities which would probably help in your understanding of the field.
8. I'm a registered nurse and I wanted to ask what volunteer opportunities might be available for someone with my background?
We have conducted health fairs with medical students and would be happy to customize a program for your skill set.
9. Could you please provide me more information and details of service opportunities in PR?
Please contact us here. We’re happy to set-up a Skype or phone call!
10. I have experience teaching in a public school. I would love the opportunity to teach somewhere else. Any opportunities available for me?
We have a program in Coamo which involves elementary aged children.
11. I'd like to help with the Zika outbreak. What can I do?
We currently do not have any programs that address this issue. The best we can recommend is to visit the island with 1Planet and get to know the people. By doing this you can help us establish a program for this need. We always welcome ideas and suggestions!
1. I’m interested in accompanying my child as a legal guardian on a volunteer vacation to Puerto Rico. Can we sign-up?
Cancellation of Trip by 1Planet
1. Is there a chance of a volunteer program being cancelled by 1Planet? What if I’ve already signed up and the program gets cancelled?
Your fee would be refunded.
1. I'm interested in spending this summer in Puerto Rico and improving my Spanish.
What better way to learn Spanish than spending some time in Puerto Rico! We think immersion in a community helps with language acquisition. You might even become friends with some of the locals and practice/learn Spanish that way!
1. Can I participate during my Spring Break?
Yes! Our Spring Break program takes place throughout the entire month of March and April in order to accommodate for all the different Spring Break weeks. If live in the southern hemisphere, don’t worry! We can accommodate your Spring Break during the months or October/November.
1. Does 1Planet partners with other organizations/agencies?
We sure do! Some of our partners include The Surfrider Foundation Rincon Chapter, The Animal Rescue Fund and local schools.
1. Just in case I can't do the dates I signed up for, is it possible to be able to switch the volunteering dates?
Requirements and Process
1. What do I need to do to participate?
Fill out the online application with the application fee and we will notify you when you are accepted.
2. What is the timeline?
Within a week of receiving your application and application fee, the 1Planet team will review it and let you know if you’ve been accepted. Your 1Planet mentor will also contact you to help you prepare for the trip. You should apply as early as possible to ensure that you will be accepted. Slots are limited.
Partnership with 1Planet
1. I would like for my business/organization to have a partnership with 1Planet, can we make this happen?
That would be considered on a case by case basis.
1. 1Planet covers a lot of areas I’m interested in; can I be your intern?
We currently do not offer paid internships but it’s always a possibility!
1. What can I get with my volunteer hours?
We are member of the U.S. Presidential Council of Volunteer Organizations to certify hours for volunteers.
2. Do I receive a certificate for the time I volunteered?
Oh yeah. One signed by the President of the United States!
1. What are the costs associated with the program/placement?
500 dollars includes all fees other than airfare and spending money.
2. Is there a group rate?
We will consider on an individual basis.
3. What about a monthly rate?
If you stay with us for at least a month, we will give you 20% off your total balance.
4. Why is the deposit fee non-refundable? What if I don’t get accepted, do I get my deposit back?
The deposit is non-refundable because we want to make sure that our volunteers are ready to take this step. Before we implemented the application fee, we’ve have so many cases of people registering to volunteer and cancelling their registration days later. This takes away from the people who are truly serious about this program because we can’t help them prepare for their trip while our focus is on someone who can’t commit.
In case you do not get accepted into the program, you will get your deposit back. But if you cancel the program the registration fee will not be refunded.
5. Is this program cheap/affordable?
We think so! Where else can you stay close to a beach with transportation and food included for $71/night?
6. Would the price vary if I have my own accommodations/transportation?
It’s perfectly fine if you have your own accommodations and/or transportation, but the price stays the same regardless. We work hard to make sure you have a great and memorable experience; we feel that the program fee is more than reasonable for the experience.
7. What does my $500/week fee cover?
It covers your stay at the volunteer house, transportation from and to the airport, plenty of food at the house for you to prepare your own meals, the volunteer placement, and a certificate of completion with all the volunteer hours worked.
8. Why doesn't the fee include the airfare?
Airfare costs vary depending on when you plan on traveling and the airport you plan on using. Only you will know what is the best airfare deal for you and the most convenient travel itinerary. That’s why we will leave this decision and cost completely up to you. We only ask that you arrive on a Monday and leave on a Monday so that it is easier for us to pick up all the volunteers.
1. What’s the typical volunteer day like?
On Monday you arrive to Puerto Rico. We pick you up at the airport and bring you to the volunteer house where a nice meal awaits you. Once you get settled in we go over a brief orientation and answer any question you have.
From Tuesday-Friday you work at your volunteer site for 5 hours each day. The schedule will depend on the volunteer site but the standard work time is from 10AM-3PM. After your volunteer work you have the entire afternoon to sight see, visit the beach and relax.
Saturday and Sunday are days off! You may stay in town to relax or you may take a side trip anywhere on the island. We will offer side trip opportunities that you can be a part of. We can visit the Yunque rain forest (the only rain forest in the US), go to the bio-luminescent bay, or go to one of the smaller islands. Puntacana, Dominican Republic is also a ferry away from Rincón!
On Monday if you're only staying with us for a week, this is the day we take you to the airport and say goodbye. If you're staying more than a week then you have this day off.
1. Where is your main office?
Our main office is located in the amazing town of Athens, Georgia (go dawgs!)! Let us know if you’re in town and we’ll be happy to meet with you in person and discuss your trip!
2. Where are the programs available?
We currently have programs in the towns of Rincon and Coamo (Puerto Rico). More locations and programs are coming soon!
First Time Travelers
1. I have never had the opportunity to travel, but I would love to travel and be able to make a difference at the same time!
You sound like the perfect candidate! We enjoy having volunteers with previous travel experience, but we LOVE having people who have never travelled before but have an open mind about different cultures and communities. (HUGE PLUS for people with a strong sense of volunteerism and community outreach/service)
1. I would love to have this opportunity to be able to be a part of something greater than myself. I have always volunteered in various organizations in my community but have never traveled outside of my state to be a volunteer. I am not a citizen of the United States but I do have deferred action and I am currently awaiting my U visa. Do you accept undocumented clients?
As long as you can fly domestically with a government issued ID you may travel to Puerto Rico and participate in our programs.
1. Do you have any events planned for 1Planet?
Follow us on Instagram (@1planet.me), Twitter (@ensodragonfly) and Facebook (@ensodragonfly) to see if we have any events close to your area!