Why Amani hostel?
- Volunteering while traveling abroad opens the door to many new and exhilarating possibilities. Volunteering creates a feeling of personal satisfaction. It grants you a privilege not afforded to the typical tourist: a unique opportunity to experience local everyday life while making a positive impact. Volunteering abroad immerses you in a new culture which improves your language skills, gives insight of a culture from the inside out and hopefully broadens your view of the World.
Why choose Amani hostel?
- Amani hostel offers customized program placements and provides one-on-one personalized experiences. We cater to the individual looking for a unique volunteer travel experience. Knowing that people often have a limited time frame, we offer both short and long term placements ranging from 1 week to 3 months. We know that people like choices. For our programs you get to choose where you go, when and for how long. We do not have fixed start dates; however, we recommend you arrive in-country on a Saturday or Sunday if possible.
Is volunteering abroad for me?
- Only you can answer this question. Volunteering in another country can be both challenging and rewarding. Our programs are not summer camps. You will not have every minute of every work day planned for you. You must be an inventive, self-starter who can handle situations where schedules are occasionally non-existent and resources are scarce. Flexibility and patience are the keys to having a satisfying experience. Developing countries, in particular are not as obsessed with time as the US or Europe. Often schedules are ignored or appointments begin later than arranged. NGOs, international non-profits and volunteer organizations are almost always understaffed. If you are willing and able to except this, volunteering abroad can lead to an unlimited feeling of personal satisfaction.
Why should I pay to volunteer?
- You are not paying for your volunteer work; you are making a financial contribution to support the hundreds of needy communities where our programs are based. Donations are helping to stimulate the local economies with hosting jobs, with new constructions at local schools and orphanages, with much needed medical supplies to rural clinics. Amani hostel works tirelessly year round to support our volunteers, and also to serve the local communities where we are based. As a non religious, non government agency, we receive 100% of our funding from the volunteer program donations.
Do most Volunteers Fundraise?
Yes! We know the cost of volunteering abroad can be extremely daunting. There are transportation costs, program fees, visa/vaccinations expenses to consider, and then your everyday living costs while you’re away. After you submit your application and US$350 deposit, we will email you a fundraising guideline with helpful information.
Is there an age requirement?
- We accept volunteers 17 years and older. We do not have a maximum age limit in place, as an increasing number of volunteers are retirees. As long as you are physically and mentally healthy with an open mind you shouldn’t have any problems participating on our programs.* Children traveling with their parents must be 12 years and older.
Do I have to be a US citizen to participate?
No. We accept participants from all countries.
How is my program fee being used?
65% goes directly overseas into the Amani hostel programs: volunteer housing, meals, airport transportation, in the form of salaries for local staff; project coordinator expenses as well as direct financial aid year round.
We allocated a small percentage of the program fee for our US overhead administrative expenses and salaries. We also use a percentage for on-going recruitment, marketing project development costs, travel expenses. Our company goal is to be sustainable and offer professional support and services. We cannot do this without the volunteer program fee.
What is the average length of a project?
We offer short term programs ranging from 1 to 4 weeks, as long term placements up to 3 months. Some projects can extend up to 6 months. Most volunteers commit to a 2 week program allowing enough time to acclimate to their new surroundings as well as complete orientation and still feel as though they made a contribution to the program.
Do I need a passport and visa?
Yes, you need a passport, with an expiration that is no less than 6 months from the time of travel. Visa requirements differ by country, based on the length of time and nationality of the volunteer. Please check the local embassy within your home country about specific requirements. You can find information on our News & Travel Links page.
Is there an application deadline?
Most people will sign up 3-6 months prior to traveling. You should apply no later than 30 days before your intended start date. Some exceptions can be made for last minute traveling, please contact us for more details.
Do I need immunizations?
Most countries do require some vaccinations. We urge participants to consult a travel doctor at least two months before arriving in the host country, to discuss any necessary immunizations and for advice on staying healthy while traveling.
Do I have to book my plane tickets myself?
Yes, you do. We aim to be as flexible as possible and allow our volunteers to pick their travel dates, carrier and times of departure.
Is travel insurance included in the program?
Amani hostel does not provide insurance for the simple reason that we think our participants should be able to decide on the nature of your coverage. Some insurance are very inexpensive (US$50 covers health and travel insurance while abroad).
Can I volunteer with my sister/friend/husband/boyfriend?
Yes! We can arrange for you to live and work together in the same host family and placement.
What qualifications or skills do I need?
There are no qualifications necessary except for our medical programs. These programs are available for medical professionals or medical/nursing students. There is no TEFL or teaching qualifications needed for our teaching programs.
Do I need to bring my own supplies from home, or are they provided?
Most schools, clinics and orphanages which you will be placed in are very under resource. Supplies from home that would be of benefit to you should be taken with you. Or, as most volunteers do, buy supplies locally once they arrive in-country. Medical volunteers should bring their own lab coats and rubber gloves.
Do I need to know the local language?
This varies depending on the country and program. In Asia and Africa the programs are conducted in English, except in Morocco where conversational French is required. In our Spanish speaking country locations, especially the indigenous communities in Ecuador, volunteers need to have a basic conversational level of Spanish. Medical and dental placements in Central/South America require proficient Spanish. For those less than proficient in Spanish we offer a Language and Cultural Immersion program in Peru, Honduras, Ecuador and Chile.
*If you do not know, or need help in deciding your level of Spanish or French contact our office for assistance.
How are volunteers selected?
When you submit the online application, we ask for a copy of your resume/CV as well as a personal reference. We review the details you sent to us, we speak to your contact reference and follow up with a phone interview with you to determine you are suitable for a placement.
What if I have more questions?
If you have any questions or would like to discuss our programs in more detail, please don’t hesitate to contact us by
How can I pay my program fees?
Payment is required in US$ dollars. We accept personal check or money order. Paypal, credit card and bank wire require an additional fee.
Your Invoice is located in the Amani hostel profile in the payment tab.
What is the deadline for submitting my Form?
Most people will sign up 3-9 months prior to traveling. You should apply no later than 45 days before your intended start date; if you are on the deadline you should summit all the paperwork and the full payment the same day. Some exceptions can be made for last minute traveling, please contact us for more details
While you are away
How many hours and days I’m working each week?
You are expected to work 30 to 40 hours a week, 6-8 hours a day, the supervisors should be notified when you arrive and leave the program each day. If there is a holiday you may take the holiday as well or informed your coordinator you will take that day off. Some countries may have holidays while you are volunteer and programs may be closed for some days, you can be placed in another program in the meantime or you can take off and tour the city.
Language Lessons – Cultural Immersion?
When you are doing the Cultural Immersion Program, it’s your responsibility to call the Language School and informed them if you are sick and that you can’t assist to the lesson, if you don’t do so, you will lose that class with no option to recover that day. If you call in advance 12hrs you can reschedule your lesson.
Accommodations in Country?
This varies from location to location. Specifics can be found on the program pages. Housing options can be host family,
shared volunteer house or on-site dorm style housing. In terms of accommodations, Amani hostel guarantees safe and clean
housing based on local standards (not always US standards). Most accommodations do not include internet or laundry, which
you should budget $ for separately. Volunteers are not permitted to stay longer than their pre-determined project period.
Who are your partners abroad?
Our local partners are NGO’s, private institutions and community organizations dedicated to the improvement of their communities. They are leaders in the community and social activists knowledgeable in the needs of their society and offer insight and guidance to our volunteers. They believe in the benefit of international assistance and value our volunteer’s time, skills and knowledge.
Will I be met at the airport?
The Country Coordinator and staff will pick You up from the airport in the Host Country if You timely inform Us of your flight schedule, in writing, at least four weeks in advance of Your arrival in the Host Country. Unfortunately, travel delays in developing countries are a common occurrence. If, due to unforeseen circumstances, You are delayed or miss a flight, it is Your responsibility to contact the Country Coordinator or Amani hostel office. You will also be provided an emergency telephone number to reach the Amani hostel US office to report any delays.
Will I be on my own or will I be with other volunteers?
Our programs are customized and individual based. This being said, you will never be isolated. Our hosting organizations receive volunteers year round, so you may have the chance to meet other volunteers. You also have the support of the Project Coordinator, the local staff at the organization you with at and the host family that you live with.
Will I have free time to travel when I’m there?
Yes, most programs are based Monday-Friday, with weekends free. Volunteers often take this opportunity to arrange weekend getaways to places of interest. Most volunteers travel extensively after the end of their placements, our Project Coordinators can give suggestions and tips for trips.
What is the typical work schedule?
For volunteers working in schools it is more or less the same working hours as you would find in Western countries. Hours for orphanages will be more flexible. Volunteers should expect to work 7-8 hours per day (5 days a week).
Is there any training involved?
We provide in-country orientation on arrival to help familiarize you with the city where you will be living. You will be shown how to use public transportation, where to exchange money, local restaurants and a general sightseeing tour of the city you will live in. In our Central and South America programs we provide a half day Spanish class to brush up on your basic phrases. Prior to your departure for your hometown, we will send you information on the project, health advice, what to pack, currency and visa etc.
Is there Any of Amani hostel staff in-country when I am traveling?
Yes, we have a local Project Coordinator in all of our host countries. The Amani hostel Coordinator is responsible for the airport transfers, placement orientation, and introduction to the local accommodations or homestay arrangements. Our Amani hostel Coordinators are natives of our host countries. Our Coordinators are professionals, fully trained and enthusiastic about sharing knowledge and love of their country.
What are the local accommodations provided?
The majority of our volunteers live with a local host family. These families have a working relationship with Amani hostel and are deemed suitable by our Project Coordinators based on sanitation, security and comfort. A home stay provides firsthand insight into the local culture and helps with learning the local language. It also acts as an additional in-country support network. In some locations, a local guesthouse or shared volunteer accommodations are provided. Although you should not expect western standards, the accommodation are good by local standards, clean and secure. Although we cannot guarantee to meet all requests, we will let you if there are accommodation options for your specific program location.
Do most volunteers become sick?
What happens if I do? Most volunteers do not experience any major medical problems. The most common complaint is an upset stomach as one’s body is introduced to new foods. Elevation sickness is common in Cusco and the higher altitude places in Peru. If take sensible precautions and follow the guidelines we suggest on healthy traveling (such as using bottled water and avoid eating uncooked food) you should not have any major issues. There are several medical facilities in all the places we work. However, if you do have any serious medical complaints you are advised to contact our Project Coordinators for immediate hands-on assistance.
Can I stay longer than 4 weeks?
Yes, we can arrange long term placements. Please contact us for more details.
What about the security in the countries?
We choose our locations based on the stability of the government, low crime rates, security and the integrity of the hosting community. We have a local Project Coordinator on-site in each city for assistance. By taking basic precautions and knowing basic “street smarts” you should not have any problems traveling abroad.
- Here we answer your frequently asked questions. If there are still any remaining questions, please do not hesitate to contact us!
- 1. Everything that’s important prior to arrival
Which airport do I have to fly to when going to Tanzania?
There are two airports around Arusha. The Kilimanjaro International Airport (JRO) and the Arusha Airport (ARK), cheapest flights are usually to JRO, so that should be your first choice.
Which vaccinations are needed?
Should I take a malaria prophylaxes?
We are neither doctors nor tropical medicine experts! We strongly recommend you to make an appointment with a specialist to get advice. Further information might also be found on your Foreign Ministry’s website and/or the World Health Organization’s website.
What visa do I need?
To volunteer in Tanzania a volunteer visa is required. Most countries can easily obtain it on arrival at the airport. It costs 250 US-Dollar, 350 US-Dollar for US-Americans, is valid for three months and can be renewed once. If you plan on staying longer than six months you need to apply for a Resident Permit C which costs 1000 US-Dollar and is valid six months to two years.
What about insurance?
We recommend you have insurance for your time in Tanzania. Health care is not expensive but in case of any emergencies your insurance may take you to your home country for better treatment. Please contact your local insurance for advice on which foreign health insurance is the best for you.
What’s the exchange rate from Euro, Pound and Dollar to Tanzanian Shilling?
Fluctuation in the exchange rate are common but currently
1 Euro = 2.600 Tsh
1 GBP = 2.900 Tsh
1 Dollar = 2.300 Tsh
Which languages do locals speak in Tanzania?
English and Swahili are both official languages in Tanzania, although English is not widely spoken. We will make sure that there is at least one person in every project who speaks English and at the same time, you will have the chance to learn Swahili while in Arusha to make your everyday life easier.
- 2. Everything that’s important during your stay
How can I take out money?
ATM’s are widely spread in town. It is best to use a Visa Card. MasterCard’s don’t work with all ATM’s and you should not bring Traveler Checks since it’s almost impossible to exchange them to cash.
Is there a washing machine in the hostel?
Washing machines are not common in Tanzania. That means that either you wash your clothes by hand or our mama’s can wash them for you for a small fee.
How can I stay in contact with my friends and family?
Sim cards cost as little as 2,000 Tsh and you can get them everywhere. While on the town tour, we will buy one with you so that you can make calls and use the internet to stay connected with friends and family.
How much extra money do I need to plan per week?
That’s a question we actually can’t answer because that depends on your personal spending habits. However, we want to give you an idea about prices for your planning: bus rides in town cost 400 Tsh, Motorbike taxis start from 1.000 Tsh and Taxis from 3.000 Tsh onward. Local meals start from 2.500 Tsh and if you are looking for Western food you have to calculate around 15.000 Tsh. A beer cost between 2.500 and 5.000 Tsh and cocktails start from 10.000 Tsh. Fabrics for the tailor start from 12.000 Tsh and tailor made clothes start from 10.000 Tsh. Souvenirs can be found from 3.000 Tsh onward.
- 3. All about the hostel and your project
What is the security like in the accommodation and Arusha?
Our house is secured through a more than two meter high wall, a night guard and our two dogs. Like everywhere in the world you are safe if you stick to basic rules like taking a taxi when it’s dark rather than walking. But don’t worry, once you are here we will let you know all Do’s and Dont’s.
What kind of requirements do I need to participate in the projects from Amani hostel Tanzania?
Generally you don’t need specific previous knowledge to participate in our projects, but you should be open to new cultures and other ways of life and have at least basic English knowledge. If you are creative, resilient and tidy all the better! Should you need certain requirements for a project, you can refer to the project descriptions.
What’s the minimum/maximum time I can participate in a project?
First of all: The longer you work in a project, the more you and the project will benefit. The first days will be for settling in: How do I get to the project? What are my tasks? Where can I help? Nevertheless, we want to take into account the situation of our volunteers and interns, so the minimum stay is two weeks. Due to visa regulations you can spend a maximum of two years as a volunteer or intern in Tanzania.
How will I be accommodated?
You can choose between a single room or dorm in the hostel and our host family, simply let us know on the registration form
Sokoine Road then Sombetini Road