Have questions about volunteering with COSA? Read through some of our most commonly-asked questions and answers below. If we haven’t answered your question, please get in touch.
Frequently Asked Questions[hide]
What is the minimum time commitment to volunteer with COSA?
We accept volunteers from as little to six weeks up to a full year. We prefer volunteers who can commit for longer periods of time: we’ve found that this is preferable both for the girls, maintaining a sense of consistency in their home life, and for the volunteer, giving them time to settle in and become accustomed to life at COSA. We offer priority to volunteers who can commit to 3 months or more.
Do I have to pay to volunteer with COSA? How and when?
COSA is funded entirely by donations, including a weekly fee paid by all of our volunteers. This fee covers room and board, utilities, three meals a day, drinking water, wireless internet access, room cleaning, and pick-up and drop-off from Chiang Mai upon your arrival and departure, in addition to a small donation that enables COSA to continue our work in trafficking prevention. Once you have been accepted and confirmed your dates, we will invoice you for your fees. We ask that you settle your balance one prior to departure from your home country.
Certain dietary restrictions may require a slightly increased fee; please contact us for more details.
Do I need a work permit? How do I obtain a visa?
We are happy to work with you throughout your visa application process. For volunteers who commit to 90 days or more, we can provide a letter from COSA to help you obtain a Non-Immigrant Type O (volunteer) visa prior to your departure. Please contact us for more details.
Can I volunteer as part of a group?
Yes, COSA is happy to accept groups for short-term, project-based volunteering. Please see Special Projects for more details.
What are living conditions like?
Accommodation in our shelters is simple but modern. You will live dormitory-style with other volunteers. Our volunteer accommodation includes a single-sized bed, hot water shower, western toilet, and full-size fridge. For more information please visit our accommodation page.
Should I bring my laptop?
Bring whatever electronics you are comfortable traveling with. It is quite useful to have a laptop or other WiFi device with document-editing capabilities. We have a number of digital resources shared on Google Drive, so if you don’t have a device that can access this it can be inconvenient. We have wireless internet throughout the shelter and do use personal computers in workshop and program development.
How many others will be there while I’m volunteering?
Depending on the time of year, there could be anywhere from 2 to 7 other volunteers at COSA during your time here. Once your booking has been confirmed, we are happy to update you regarding the number of volunteers booked for the same time period. We average approximately 8 volunteers at any given time.
Can I get in touch with past volunteers?
We are happy to put you in contact with past volunteers if you so desire. Additionally, please visit our testimonials page for quotes and videos from past volunteers.
When are your start dates?
You can choose to volunteer with COSA at any time. Please be aware that we tend to book up within four months of any given date, so do get in contact with us as early as possible to ensure availability.
Will I be met on arrival to Chiang Mai?
We will arrange pick-up from the airport, bus station, train station, or your guest house in Chiang Mai upon arrival. Please note that we can only arrange pick-up on Wednesdays, Thursdays, or Fridays, so if you are arriving on any other day of the week you will need to arrange to stay in a guest house in the city until the next Wednesday, at which point we’ll pick you up and bring you to the shelter.
When should I arrive?
Please arrange arrival for a Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday.
How old do you have to be to volunteer?
We accept volunteers from the age of 18 up. If you are under 18 and wish to volunteer with COSA, please contact us; we may be able to arrange a placement for you with the consent of your parents.
Can I volunteer with my family?
Absolutely! COSA is happy to accept families, including those with children under 18. If you desire to come as a family, you may wish to arrange accommodation off-site. Please contact us for more details.
Can I live off-site?
You can certainly arrange accommodation off-site during your time with COSA. However, if you choose to live off-site, you will be responsible for providing your own transportation to and from the shelter via car or motorbike; due to our distance from the city, we cannot accept volunteers who wish to commute on a daily basis if they require pick-up or drop-off by COSA.
Is COSA a safe environment for me / my family?
Yes. All of the girls at our shelters are brought in through a process of negotiation, making COSA a very safe place for our girls and our volunteers. We employ a security guard and surround our property with a gate that is locked at night. If you have any further concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Is experience teaching English / an ESL certificate required to volunteer with COSA?
Though we prefer volunteers with some experience or qualification teaching English, it is certainly not required, and we will work with you to develop and debrief lesson plans.
Can I cancel my volunteer arrangement for personal reasons, or reschedule?
Yes, though if this is the case please give us as much advanced notice as possible.
How far in advance do I need to book?
Volunteer placements tend to fill up approximately four months prior to the dates of volunteering. For this reason, please contact us at least five months before your desired date of arrival.