Answers to frequently asked questions about Xperitas Community Partnership Programs
What types of projects are participants involved in?
Projects are determined and directed by our partner communities and involve work that almost anyone can participate in; no special skills are required. Examples of past projects have included building a health clinic, renovating a youth center, planting trees, teaching in a primary school and installing playground equipment. Projects may not be decided upon until shortly before or after the arrival of an Xperitas team. Participants should be aware that everything is subject to change. As worthwhile and fulfilling as the work you do will be, the true rewards come from the cross-cultural learning which takes place on these programs.
I don't have any specific skills. What can I do?
The projects do not require specific skills from participants; if specialists are needed, the community provides them. We do encourage participants to share unique skills and interests in their applications.
What physical considerations are there?
Living conditions, terrain and the nature of work projects vary from site to site. In general, however, participants should be in reasonably good physical condition. If you have any concerns or would like to discuss sites to find the best fit, we encourage you to contact Xperitas.
Is health insurance included?
All participants receive emergency medical and evacuation insurance for both international and domestic programs. Check with the Centers for Disease Control and your local travel clinic to find out about required or recommended immunizations prior to traveling.
What traits make for a good experience?
Xperitas asks participants to be culturally sensitive, flexible, optimistic, willing to both share and learn, able to work well in a team setting and, above all, open to new experiences.
We ask participants to be experience-minded, not project-focused, because the “work” is actually only one part of the experience and may not always go as planned! Our primary focus is intercultural learning and building relationships and deeper empathy, not the work project. Flexibility is key!
What are the age requirements?
All ages are welcome at our program sites and with our partners. Certain sites are more conducive to hosting children than others. Participants under 18 must be accompanied by a guardian or a chaperone. For these situations and for children under 8, please contact the Xperitas office. There is no maximum age – we just ask for each person, no matter the age, to consider the working and living conditions.
Can families participate?
Xperitas absolutely welcomes families and is a leader in family-oriented cross-cultural experiences. Many times children want to participate on the work project; thus we do not plan specific activities for children.
If you are planning on traveling with children, please contact the Xperitas office. Generally, children are greatly welcomed and easily incorporated into the life of the host community, adding yet another dimension to the immersion experience.
What does a typical team look like?
An Xperitas team consists of 8-14 participants, depending on the site, accompanied by a trained team leader. Expect an intergenerational team of participants, coming from the U.S., Canada and other countries.
Where do participants stay in the village? Where do they eat?
Lodging varies by site. Home stays with local families are arranged whenever possible. Local community centers or other community buildings have also served as places of lodging. Sleeping arrangements may be in beds or mats on the floor.
Some sites have electricity and indoor plumbing; others may not. Meals are prepared either by team members or by a local cook. To allow for as much immersion and insight into the culture as possible, participants generally live as the local people live.
Do participants have any free time to explore other places in the country or region?
Yes. Generally, participants have a few days to explore and visit other places in the region. Participants are also welcome to do more extensive travel on their own before or after the Xperitas program. If traveling before or after, please consult with the Xperitas office to coordinate necessary logistics.
What if I don't speak the local language?
Our programs have no language requirement, although we do encourage participants to learn basic phrases to enhance their experience. Xperitas’ team leaders also serve as interpreters when possible and/or necessary.
How do I prepare for the program?
Upon applying for a program, participants receive an orientation manual with information on the country or state and the community, along with a reading list, packing list and other tips. Xperitas encourages groups to be begin reflection prior to arrival in order to deeply engage with your learning. The orientation process will continue with on-site orientation and daily team meetings.
How far ahead do I need to sign up for a program?
Applications are accepted until a team is full and are accepted on first-come, first-served basis. It is important to plan early; this helps to ensure that you are placed on a team and enables Xperitas to know early on that a team has the sufficient number of participants to proceed.
To reserve your place on a team, you must submit a completed application and a $300 deposit. The $300 deposit is transferable and must accompany the Application and signed Agreement for each participant in order to be processed. You will be notified once your application is received and accepted by Xperitas. If your application is not accepted, or if you are put on a wait list and are not able to participate, or if the program does not meet the minimum amount of participants required, your deposit will be refunded. *NOTE: Please do not purchase any airfare until you receive confirmation from us, in the event that the program is filled or program dates vary slightly.
What does the program fee include?
International: Program fees include: airport pick-up and all in-country transportation, accommodations, most meals, cultural orientation and training, medical/evacuation insurance, contribution to community project and project administration. Program fees do not include: airfare to/from host country, immunizations/vaccines, visas, entry/exit taxes or costs during free time.
Domestic: Program fees include: airport pick-up and transportation to site, medical/evacuation insurance, accommodations, most meals, cultural orientation and training, contribution to community project and project administration. Program fees do not include: airfare, travel insurance, resident permits or visas.
Who are Xperitas team leaders?
Xperitas team leaders are dynamic, responsible individuals chosen for their leadership skills and willingness to facilitate meaningful experiences for others. All team leaders attend a comprehensive training to prepare them to lead in ways that align with the Xperitas Community Partnership Program philosophy, as well as respect and honor host communities’ needs.
Does Xperitas have any religious affiliation?
No, Xperitas is a secular organization. We may, however, work with a group within the host community who has religious or government affiliation. In that case, we have made all efforts to ascertain and be assured that the host group works with all members of the larger community, regardless of religious or political beliefs and associations.
Can I fundraise for my program?
Absolutely! We encourage people to fundraise for their cross-cultural experience, and offer guidance on how to be successful at it. Getting others involved in your effort is an excellent way to share your experience.
Can Xperitas arrange a group program?
An intercultural immersion program with Xperitas is an innovative experience that can be shared by and can enrich any group, offering many opportunities for growth, cultural enrichment, increased understanding and team building. Select a community partner and location that resonates with your group and connect with Xperitas staff to discuss a custom program.
Each Xperitas team is led by an experienced, trained team leader. Xperitas will make pre-program preparations and send you an orientation manual, handle all in-country logistics and facilitate nightly check-ins and reflections. The program schedule allows for some free time to explore the surrounding area and has some flexibility in arranging certain dates for your group’s programs. Discounts are available for groups of eight or more. Team sizes are limited in some communities.