FAQ

clipart-0117Frequently Asked Questions

Here you can find answers to the most common doubts participants have about our Summer Volunteer Programme. If you cannot find your question on our list, please write to liveitlisbon@a-spin.pt or use the contact form in the footer of our website.

What is the “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme?
The “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme is a form of short-term volunteering that involves also travelling, sightseeing, language learning and of course, a lot of fun! It is a more sustainable way of travelling, because it does not involve only taking from, but actually giving back to the community. Our objective is to give to the participants a more truthful and fuller image of the Portuguese society, instead of making them visit only the “touristy places” and do the “touristy stuff”. Groups of volunteers from various countries and different backgrounds will live and work together on proposed activities (for more information see general infoactivities & dates). Participants will be able to take part in Portuguese language and cooking workshops. But don’t worry! There is plenty of free time, so you will be able to get to know the city of Lisbon, as well as share your culture with the other participants of the programme. We usually host groups of about 20 participants.
Why should I participate in the Live it Lisbon! Summer Volunteer Programme?
There is no one single response to this question. Maybe you would like to do something different with your summer? Or make a positive change? Or maybe you would like to visit Portugal and learn a little bit of the Portuguese language? Maybe you would like to be a conscious traveler, concerned with the sustainable development of tourism in Lisbon? And how about getting to know great people from around the world? Maybe you are happy to spend over a week in Lisbon for a very reasonable fee? Or maybe you should come for all these reasons and more! Whatever your reason, we will be happy to have you with us! :)  
How long is “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme? What are the dates?
This programme will run for 11 days (including two days for travelling to and from Portugal: an arrival day and a departure day). There are two sessions of the programme planned for the summer of 2019: Period A – 06.07-16.07 and Period B – 24.08-03.09. For more information see activities & dates.
Where will the “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme take place?
The “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme will take place in Lisbon, the capital of Portugal. The community work will take place in the administrative district of Freguesia de Carinde, in the neighbourhood of Bairro Padre Cruz (for more information see host community). The hostel in which volunteers will be accommodated and Spin Association’s office are also located in this area of Lisbon.
How can I join the “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme?
Please apply here. Once your application has been received and evaluated, and if you are accepted to the programme, we will reply with a confirmation of your registration and the payment details. You will have 5 days to make the payment. If the initial minimum 115/150€ payment is not paid within this time, your participation in the programme will be cancelled. Your participation will be finally confirmed on the list as soon as we receive the first payment of 115/150€. For more information on payments, please see fees.
How do you select volunteers to participate in the “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme?
Placements are generally allocated on a first-come, first-served basis, unless the case may be that there are too many applicants from one single country, or in order to maintain the gender balance. If you are not given a spot immediately, you are automatically placed on our waiting list.

If you are interested in joining one of our projects, please apply as soon as possible. The sooner you apply the more likely you will be accepted and the cheaper your travel might be.

Please also note that the process of confirming the participants takes time as each person has 5 days to secure their spot. Only after the 5 day period is up can we offer the spot to a person from the waiting list.

Can I participate with a friend/sister/brother/boyfriend/girlfriend/etc.?
We do not see why not! :) If both of you are at least 18 years old and there are still open vacancies, there is no problem for us to accept both (or more) of you. Just make sure you state the name of the other person under the “Other information > Your comments” section of the application form. Note that the sooner you apply the more likely you will be accepted and the cheaper your travel might be.
How old do I need to be to participate in the “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme?
We accept volunteers over 18 years old. We do not have any hard upper age limit. Most of our participants are between 18 and 30 years old.
I am not from Europe. Can I apply for the programme?
Yes, anyone can apply regardless of their nationality. Remember, though, that you might need a visa, which is your own responsibility.
Do you arrange visas for participants?
No, we do not sponsor visas or help with visa arrangements. After you secure your placement in the programme, we will provide you with a confirmation of enrolment in “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme (it is enough to obtain a visa from the Portuguese Embassy), but it cannot be treated as a fully-fledged invitation as you yourself – and not the Spin Association – will continue to be legally responsible for your stay & behaviour in Portugal.
I am Portuguese. Can I participate?
Yes, but you also need to pay the participation fee and your travel expenses to Lisbon. Basically: the same rules apply for Portuguese and non-Portuguese participants.
What should I bring with me to “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme?
Of course, we want you to come with enthusiasm, motivation and a smile on your face. More information about what to bring will be included in the info-pack which will be issued to confirmed participants only.

We recommend that you bring: some food and drinks from your country (to share with other participants during the intercultural night), games, musical instruments, or any other thing you would like to share with the other participants of the programme.

What should I do after being accepted?
First and foremost, stay in touch with us! :) We will definitely be sending out additional information and updates. Other than that, after making the first payment and being accepted to the programme, you can start making your travel arrangements. Remember that the first day of the programme is arrival day and the last day of the programme is departure day. Of course, you can arrive in Lisbon a few days earlier or leave a few days later, but we are not able to provide you with accommodation for dates other than those of the programme.
Why do you charge a participation fee for the “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme?
Participation fee is required from all the participants to cover the costs of the programme. The Portuguese government and the local authorities are not able to finance too many social projects. Our community is in much greater need than the government can give answer to and that is why we decided to invite international volunteers and ask for their contribution. Please note that the Spin Association is a non-profit organisation, and essentially all our funds go back into developing and improving our local community (for more information: fees).
Why is the cost of the “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme so low?
“Live it Lisbon!” is not a commercial programme run by a for-profit company. We are a small local non-profit non-governmental organization. The participants contribute to the expenses we have with food, transportation, teaching and working materials, spaces, administration and so on, making sure that the programme is sustainable. The cost is low, because we recognize the contribution the participants make through their voluntary service in our neighbourhood and therefore do not charge a full amount, which could otherwise be charged by a commercial operator. We also share many resources with our local partner networks and limit any commercial advertising to the necessary minimum (we have set our maximum at 3% of the overall programme budget, but between 2014 and 2018 we actually did not spend anything on advertising at all).
What does the participation fee cover? Does it cover my travel expenses to & from Lisbon?
The participation fee does not cover your international travel expenses or costs associated with obtaining a visa (if applicable). Here you have a full list of what is or is not covered:

The €260/€225 that participants will pay will cover the following:

  • Accommodation (no need to bring bedding or sleeping bags as they will be provided)
  • Food & drink supplied by Live it Lisbon!
  • Activities coordinated by Live it Lisbon!
  • Days out coordinated by Live it Lisbon!
  • Language classes supplied by Live it Lisbon!
  • Cooking workshops supplied by Live it Lisbon!
  • Travel costs within the programme (activities, to work sites, supplied days out)
  • Administrative costs
  • Completion certificate

The fee does not include the following:

  • Travel to and from Lisbon (plane tickets, bus fares, etc.)
  • Towels (these can be hired from the hostel at an additional cost)
  • Food & drink not supplied by Live it Lisbon!, such as restaurants and alcohol
  • Insurance (you will need to supply your own)
  • Visa fees and arrangements
  • Sightseeing visits / trips not supplied by Live it Lisbon!
  • Additional travel fees within Lisbon
  • Damage to property of the Spin Association
  • Costs for extra days

For more information on the fee, please visit: fees.

Do you offer any scholarships?
The Live it Lisbon! programme is coordinated by Associação Spin, which is a small local independent non-profit organisation. Because of this we are unable to offer scholarships or funding for the participants (other relevant information: fees).
When and how do I need to pay for the programme?
The first payment (115/150€) needs to be made to Live it Lisbon! within 5 days of receiving our confirmation e-mail (after you submit your application, we will review it and get back to you!) by bank transfer, into Spin Association´s bank account. The second payment (110€) can be made on the first day of the programme, in cash, directly to us. You can also pay the whole fee at once, by bank transfer.

Given the extremely tight budget of the programme, all international bank transfer fees are the participants´ responsibility. This means that when you make your payment, you must assume all of the bank fees, so that the amount credited on our account is exact (115€/225€ or 150€/260€). As international bank transfers may be quite expensive, you can try Transfer Wise as an alternative.

For more information, see fees.

Are food and accommodation provided?
We will provide both food (breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, non-alcoholic drinks) and accommodation. Participants will be accommodated in the Spin Hostel (for more information: accommodation). During the “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme, participants will share the duties of preparing and cooking meals using the ingredients and equipment provided. However, if you would like some extra food items (for example, extra sweets or some alcoholic beverages), you will need to buy them yourself.
What about insurance?
We do not provide any type of insurance for international volunteers. Volunteers MUST obtain health and accident insurance for the whole duration of their travel before arrival to Portugal. You must bring all necessary documents, contact numbers, etc. with you.

Portugal is part of the European Union so volunteers residing in the EU or in any EEA country or Switzerland benefit here from the use of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC). With the card you will have access to the Portuguese Health system and you will receive the same care and conditions as Portuguese citizens. In addition to the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), we strongly advise you to buy private travel insurance.

You should buy a complete travel insurance yourself if you are from countries outside of the EEA (covering medical, repatriation, lost/damaged luggage expenses as well as civil responsibility).

What is the main language of communication? Are there any language requirements?
There are no special requirements. During “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme, we will be mostly communicating in English and Portuguese, but on our team we have people who, among others, can also speak Italian, French, Polish, and Spanish. During the programme you will be able to improve the level of your English while communicating with other participants. You will be also able to take some Portuguese language classes without extra fee.
I can already speak some Portuguese, can I still participate in the language classes?
Yes, of course. And if there are enough participants with some previous knowledge of Portuguese, they will be grouped together.
Do I need any special skills to join “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme?
You do not need any special skills to join the “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme. However, you should be aware that some of the community work may be physically intensive (for more information about activities look here: activities & dates). You will be expected to participate not only in the work with the other volunteers but also in building a positive group atmosphere, cooking and taking part in Portuguese language classes.
Do I need to participate in all activities in the programme?
You do need to participate in all the community work as it makes crucial part of the “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme. If you do not want to participate in the Portuguese language workshops or the cooking workshops, you can have free time in that slot, but it is important that you notify us in advance about your choice and maintain your decision.

If you do not want to participate in planned leisure-time activities, you are free to do so, but we would also like prior notification.

Do the participants choose between the Portuguese language and the cooking workshops?
The participants will be divided into groups and everyone will have the right to participate in 2 Portuguese language workshops and 1-2 cooking workshops (depending on the overall number of participants).
Do we work for all 11 days?
The first day of the programme is arrival day and the last day is departure day. On both of these days participants are not working. Participants will also have 4 fully free days (all participants on the same days). This means that overall there are 6 non-working days in total. (See activities & dates for more information.)
Who leads “Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme?
“Live it Lisbon!” Summer Volunteer Programme is lead by people working and volunteering at the Spin Association. More information about Spin Association is available here: about us.
Is transportation in Lisbon expensive?
A single-ride transportation ticket in Lisbon costs 1,45-1,80€. A day pass costs 6,30€ (allows you to travel an unlimited number of times by all means of transportation for a period of 24hrs). While buying your first ticket, you will also be charged an extra 0,50€ fee for the reusable transportation card your tickets are stored on. During the programme we will be working in the area of Bairro Padre Cruz (for more information: host community), and we will not need to use public transportation. However, Bairro Padre Cruz is located around 40 minutes away from the centre of Lisbon, and if you would like to go to the centre in your free time, transportation will be at your own expense.
What if the programme is cancelled? Will I get a refund?
In the very unlikely event that the number of participants is below 10, the programme may be cancelled. In this case, we will transfer your money back as soon as we decide to cancel the programme.
If I submit an application and pay 115-150€, but then I decide that I do not want to come: will I get my money back?
The 1st installment of the fee is non-refundable.

If you reserve your place on the programme, by paying the whole fee (225-260€) or the 1st installment (115-150€), and later decide not to participate, we will not be able to reimburse the 1st installment to you (115-150€). If you decide to pay the whole fee at once, we will reimburse 110€ to you, reduced by the bank fee for the transfer, if applicable. Some exceptions may be made in case of proven visa denial: if the participant is denied a visa through no fault of their own, they may receive the reimbursement of up to 260€. Each case of visa denial is analysed individually and final decision belongs to Associação Spin.

If you resign within 1 week of the start date, do not show up for the programme or resign during its course, whatever the reason may be, we will not be able to reimburse any part of the fee to you.

How much money should I bring with me to Lisbon?
It is essential that you bring the remaining balance of the participation fee (110€). Other than that, the programme has been designed so that you do not need any additional expenses while in Lisbon, as the accommodation, food, language classes and cooking workshops, as well as two leisure-time trips (to the beach and to the São Jorge castle) will be included.

HOWEVER, if you want to buy some luxury items, enjoy the Lisbon night-life or participate in extra trips: you will need to supply that money yourself.

Portugal is a country belonging to the euro-zone. That means that the currency in Portugal is the Euro. Portugal is considered more expensive than the countries of Eastern Europe in which the euro is not the currency (for example Hungary, Poland), but at the same time Portugal is cheaper than Great Britain and other countries from the euro-zone like Italy, France and Germany. To give you an idea of the prices in Portugal:

  • beer in bars: 1€ – 3€
  • cocktails in bars: 5€ – 10€
  • wine bottle from supermarket: 1,50€ – 5€
  • large beer bottle from supermarket: 2-3€
  • pack of cigarettes: 5€ – 7€
  • meal in a restaurant: 10€ – 20€
  • single transportation ticket: 1,45€ – 1,80€
  • daily transportation ticket: 6,30€
  • postcard: 0,50€ – 1,5€
  • stamp to EU: 0,80€.
I am a student/youngster. Do I get any discounts in Portugal?
There are two international student cards which are recognized as discount cards:
Euro26/European Youth Card
ISIC.
In Portugal the more recognizable card is the Euro26/European Youth Card. You should also know that in Portugal these cards can benefit people who are up to 26 years old (in some cases up to 30).