Who is HorizonCosmopolite?
HorizonCosmopolite is a Montreal-based organization that offers people the opportunity to travel in other countries and experience, through educational programs, a way of life and a reality that is different from their own. These programs give participants the chance to live an educational and enriching experience by sharing daily life with people of a different culture.
How long have you been in operation?
Our business was officially established in 1997. Since that day, more than 3000 people have used our services to go abroad, both individually and in groups.
Why should I pay to do volunteer work?
The majority of the countries we work with are developing countries
(often referred to as "third world" countries). They have a sufficient local
labour force to carry out the work that you will be doing. Unless you are a
specialist in a technical field, your presence there is not essential.
Consider the fact that someone in an organization awaits you and has taken
the time to organize lodging and a work placement for you. These not-for-profit
organizations work in fields that receive very little governmental support:
community development, assisting marginalized people, environmental
protection, education, etc.
Finally, you must not think that participating in a program in a developing
country means you will "save" people in need. Surely, your presence there
will be beneficial on many levels, but understand that your primary reason
for going abroad is to experience a different way of life and a new culture,
to discover another country and its people, and also to discover your own
strenghts and weaknesses. Participating in daily activities, in protecting
the environment or teaching English are mostly ways of enabling you to live
a true cross-cultural experience. Organizing all of these things involves
costs, but the experience itself and what you learn from it stays with you
for a lifetime!
Read the entire document
What happens if a problem arises during the program?
Our partners often work with foreigners and know what to do if problems arise.
Although we do not have field representatives, our team and our partners abroad
will be available if ever you require help, as long as you are still in the
intership's location. However, we cannot be held responsible for any accidents
that may occur abroad, just as we cannot predict the level of culture shock
you will experience or how well you will adapt to your new environment and
living conditions. We can help you prepare for your trip and provide you with
as much detailed information as possible regarding the program and way of life
in the country you will be visiting. However, we are unable to judge your level
of tolerance to situations different than those you are familiar with in Canada.
We will give you as much information as possible so that you are prepared when
faced with unpredictable situations, but keep in mind that the unexpected is
part of the traveler's experience!
What are your requirements for a working knowledge of English?
Several of our projects demand a basic level of English. If you are confident with your level of English and if you believe that in the time of illness you would be capable of explaining to a doctor your symptoms or asking for advice, then you should be able to participate in our internships. In regards to teaching English, we do not expect an extensive knowledge of English grammar. However, you should be comfortable with teaching basic vocabulary and the general principles of the language. Of course you should also have a lot energy!
What kind of contacts do you have abroad?
We work mostly with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and community
organizations in various countries. These organizations have been in operation
for several years and are able to arrange activities for foreigners. Our
partners want their countries to be explored and discovered, and therefore,
they encourage exchanges between peoples.
Like Canadian NGOs, our partners do not have the financial means to offer
these programs free of charge. For this reason, there are fees for
participating in their activities.
What are your guarantees?
If, for one reason or another, our partner does not accept you, you will be
reimbursed for the total amount of your registration fee. While we guarantee
that someone will await your arrival in the host country, it is rare that
someone will meet you at the airport. Accommodation will be arranged, meals
will be provided and a work project will be established. We try to give you
the most accurate information, but we cannot guarantee that your work project
will be exactly as you expected.
Also remember that you will be traveling alone, therefore no one will be there
to hold your hand, so you must be responsible and independent. We will answer
all your questions and will let you know of both negative and positive
feedback received from past participants. We try to inform you as accurately
as possible about your program in order to avoid surprises and disappointments.
Do I need to have any qualifications?
No, the majority of our programs are open to anyone between 18 and 70 years of age. You must have an open mind and an adventurous spirit. You must expect the standard way of life to be notably different than what you already know. While some programs require specific skills, most do not. The most important pre-requisites are resourcefulness and a thirst for adventure.
When should I register if I want to participate in a regular program?
You must contact us at least 3 months before your date of departure. For our linguistic immersions programs, we ask that you register at least one week before your departure.
Some programs have fixed dates
for the registration, although most programs are available at any time, provided you allow a couple
of weeks for registration and to reserve your place. You should also know that in some countries
vaccinations are obligatory and it may take a couple of weeks to have them all done. We will try
to have you well prepared before your departure, and this will take several weeks. For more details
about registration procedures, click here
We also offer a mandatory one-day pre-departure training. It is offered once
every three months. Registering three months before your expected date of
departure will enable you to attend the pre-departure training. For more
details about the pre-departure orientation day, click here
Can I participate in several programs ?
es. You must discuss the itinerary you want to follow and the possibility of registering in different programs. For the second program we charge an additional $350 + taxes ($402.41) which is completely refundable if you are not accepted.
If I am accepted and then I change my mind am I reimbursed?
What are the advantages of going abroad and participating in such a program?
You will find it to be one of the most personally enriching experiences and
one that helps to develop the skills needed in the world of tomorrow:
leadership, independence, a sense of responsibility, ability to adapt to a new
environment, resourcefulness, knowledge of several languages, intercultural
relations, group work, group decision making, etc.
Travel and volunteer work is often well regarded by employers as well.
These are two very important elements in a world that is becoming smaller
and smaller, where versatility is an asset.