Volunteering FAQs

Volunteering for Vets Beyond Borders:
Frequently Asked Questions

Who can volunteer for Vets Beyond Borders?

Registered veterinarians with at least two years' practical experience, and vet nurses (paravets) with two years' experience in pre-operative and anaesthetic monitoring can apply to work on VBB programs. Newly graduated veterinarians and undergraduates (4th year+) may also apply to volunteer to perform surgical support roles (only). 
Veterinary personnel from anywhere in the world are welcome to register to apply to volunteer.
All registrations must hold membership to Vets Beyond Borders members.

How can I volunteer?

Registrations to apply to volunteer must be done via our online function on our website. Please ensure you read all the information we have provided in this section before registering an application to ensure you are clear about the terms and conditions of volunteering, and your personal responsibilities in respect to it.

Does registering to apply mean I will be guaranteed of a volunteering position?

No, all registrations are first appraised for suitability before the application is processed. Applicants will be informed if they do not have suitable background or if we do not have a position to offer on our projects or in administration. It’s important to check the criteria for volunteering before sending in your registration.
If your preference for a program location is unavailable, or if your nominated timing is unsuitable, we will contact you to discuss alternative suggestions.

Can I volunteer at a time that suits me?

This depends on the program location and its season. Please see the Our Programs section on this website for approximate project season months and other details on each of the locations. The application form also outlines the timing of projects. 

What is the cost of volunteering?

All VBB volunteers need to become a member of VBB before their application can be processed. This membership fee (A$60) pays for the application process and also ensures that all volunteers are bound by the VBB rules of conduct.
Volunteers pay for their own travel to the project site (including hotels and transfer transport) the charges for which can vary from country to country and season to season. Entry visa expenses are also paid for by the volunteer, which for Sikkim, India may be the equivalent to around A$400. Hence, VBB suggests you research these costs before making a final decision on whether you wish to submit an application to volunteer.
VBB specifies and makes certain recommendations on which visa is appropriate for a project location. If volunteers choose another options (for example, a visa category that may be cheaper) they are responsible for such choices, which may include invalidity of insurances and workplace safety cover.
The Bylakuppe Rabies & Control Program requires volunteers to have submitted a Protected Area Permit (PAP) as soon as applying. While this is a free permit, they take a long time to process and in the event a volunteer’s PAP do not arrive on time, this will result in the volunteer needing to purchase accommodation off site. While this accommodation is very cheap, it may need to be taken into account in your planning on this particular project location.
All volunteers must also purchase travel insurance (that covers volunteering around animals) and have had full pre-exposure rabies vaccinations. Evidence of these should be supplied to VBB before departure.
In most circumstances, local project partners provide free accommodation and some meals (at least lunch) to VBB volunteers. All other expenses associated with volunteering is at the volunteer’s personal expense.

Can I change my mind about volunteering?

Yes, you may alter your plans. But please note that no refunds on membership will be given. Vets Beyond Borders will also not be liable for any other expenses you may have incurred as the result of your registering to apply to volunteer with our projects or partners. We again suggest you take out travel insurance cover as soon as purchasing any travel arranagements.

Can I bring a family member or friend with me to the project?

Under some circumstances this will be possible but please check with us first. This is because VBB will not allow this person to enter or work on the project unless they undertake to abide by the same terms and conditions as VBB volunteers. If they are a veterinary professional and may intend to help out, they will also need to apply to volunteer. In any case, if they wish to visit the project they will also need to provide evidence of rabies cover.
In some situations, the VBB Project Manager for the location where you have applied to volunteer may be able to suggest places or situations where your travelling companion may be able to volunteer or assist the local community, eg., in schools. So, please do let us know in advance if you are not travelling alone.

Should I try to get donated items to take with me to the project, and what should these be?

It is such generosity that really assists VBB projects and often makes so much difference, so thank you in advance for your assistance. We greatly appreciate the opportunity of volunteers going to projects to also take some items with them. It is best to discuss all this with the relevant VBB Project Manager before seeking donations, so that what you take is appropriate for the operation. VBB can also assist by providing a letter of support for entry-point.
Please note: In general we advise volunteers NOT to take veterinary drugs to your project as these are more easily and cheaply obtained locally by the project. If this changes the Project Manager will discuss it with you. In any event S8 DRUGS SHOULD NOT BE CARRIED.

Are there any opportunities for paid positions with VBB?

Generally no. While we do have a few part-time paid or contract positions within VBB, these are in the management or administration area. The fundamental principle of VBB is volunteerism within the veterinary profession, so we rely on the generosity of these people and volunteers at many levels to sustain our small organisation and its operations.

I know an organisation which could benefit from engagement with VBB – how do I help?

We’re often approached by small organisations or fledgling projects requesting help with finding volunteers or wanting to partner with us. While we value knowing about organisations in the region and the work they are attempting to do to help animals, we unfortunately cannot assist financially.
If an organisation or project does approach us proposing to engage with VBB, we have a guidelines sheet on the sort of basic information we would need to know to appraise the proposal in terms of how VBB may be able to help. We are happy to provide this guidelines sheets to anyone who enquires.

Volunteer with dog