Get Your Answers Here!

GENERAL

Do you offer a Spring Break program?

We do have a public trip happening this march in the Dominican Republic!

If those dates don’t work for you and  have a group of 10 or more people we can help you organize a private trip to Mexico, Haiti, or the Dominican Republic. Please read the Private trips section for your next step in this direction.

How do you choose who gets to go on Live Different Build?

It’s quite simple, really: APPLY! Everyone who has ever applied for Live Different Build has been able to join us, provided they still wanted to come and that they were able to pay all their fees on time. Our public trips are filled on a first come, first serve basis. If you apply late, there may not be space available on your trip of choice.

Can families participate together in Live Different Build?

If your children are younger than 14, please contact our office for special arrangements. Unless otherwise requested, we will keep children on the same team as parent(s) so that you are able to have this amazing experience together. Children younger than 14 are required to stay on the same team as their parent and/or adult guardian.

What will I be doing during a Live Different Build?

Every day is an adventure! For those of you who cope best with a structured, up-to-the minute planned schedule, get ready to have your world stretched just a little bit! Working in a different culture is an adventure in itself. Things don’t always go as planned, so be prepared for last minute changes, delays, weather complications and so on. However, here is what you can expect: to take part in a building project that provides a school for the community or homes for families, and sometimes even helping out with children’s homes and other community opportunities. Anything else is a surprise! Many times when we go into a community we begin to see other needs as well, and it’s pretty cool to make some last-minute changes in the schedule in order to help where we can. Many times the diversions end up being the highlight of the week!

Will we have opportunities for adventures or is it all work?

Although you will be working very hard, we also make sure you have opportunities to participate in some fun activities. The specific project location will determine what extra-curricular activities are available.

Do I need to speak another language?

No, but it sure helps! The official language of both Dominican Republic and Mexico is Spanish. In Dominican Republic and Haiti, the Haitian communities also speak Creole, a French/African-based language. If you speak French, you will be able to communicate fairly well with Haitians, so pay attention in French class! It’s always great to try to brush up on some useful Spanish phrases. For Mexico, it’s Español all the way! For Thailand, obviously it’s Thai! We always have translators available at each location, and we do our best to give our volunteers many opportunities to communicate with the people that they are working with.

What supplies do I need to bring with me?

We will provide all of the building supplies, but we do ask that you bring your own work gloves (two pairs), have proper footwear (such as work boots or running shoes) and a hat. A specific packing list will be provided for each trip.

Can I bring gifts for the local people?

When we host volunteers in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Haiti, we are always amazed at the generous hearts of those who come to work with us. Many volunteers bring donations with them in hopes of being able to give them directly to those they meet on their trip. After years of working in various communities and countries, we have unfortunately seen this create many problems.

Instead, we want to inform and inspire our volunteers with the many valuable ways that Live Different already has in place to enable them to make a contribution to the communities we work in. Learn more about how Live Different handles aid and donations. 

Do I need a passport to participate in a Live Different Build?

Yes. A valid passport is mandatory for all Live Different Builds destinations. Don’t worry if you don’t have a passport at the time of applying. You can notify us of your passport number and expiry date when you receive it. Please let us know if you hold a passport from a country other than Canada. If you don’t currently have a passport, be sure to apply for it as soon as possible to avoid any delays.

How do I apply for a passport?

You can pick up an application form at your local post office, passport office or download an application form from www.pptc.gc.ca. You will need an original birth certificate in order to apply for a passport. For Thailand participants, if your passport expires less than six months from the date of the trip, you will need to apply for a new one before traveling to Thailand.

Do I need a travel visa?

If you hold a Canadian passport, you do not need a travel visa to participate in a Live Different Build. If you hold a passport from another country, it is your responsibility to ensure you have met all of the requirements for entry into the country you are visiting, and for some countries this may include a visitor’s visa.

What if I have dietary restrictions or I am a vegetarian/vegan?

We do our best to accommodate to all dietary restrictions, although when traveling in a foreign country this can sometimes be complicated. It is recommended that if you have a dietary restriction to note it when your registering, and to bring other food options with you in case we cannot always meet your requirements. Vegetarians: the types of proteins that are provided in our destinations are beans, eggs and cheese. Feel free to bring you own snacks, but there will be options to purchase more at a convenience store at your destination.

What is the food like on a Live Different Build?

The food is delicious at each of our destinations! In Dominican Republic, our resort often provides us with delicious buffet-style meals. In Mexico, we hire a cook who makes the best Mexican food (tacos, fajitas, etc.) that you have ever had in your life! Breakfast in Mexico is quite normal and we pack a lunch (usually sandwiches and snacks) for the work site each day. While in Thailand, you do not need to be a “chop stick handler extraordinaire” because most Thais actually eat with a fork and spoon. We eat a variety of Thai and Western food while traveling there. In Haiti, the food is very flavorful as well: breakfast is freshly baked pastries and dinners are an evening adventure.

How can I contact my family during a Live Different Build?

All ground staff have cell phones. There are landlines and access to WiFi in all of our locations. Staying connected is easy!

Can I get community/volunteer hours for school?

Yes, once your Live Different Build has ended, please contact our office and we will be sure to send you a letter with your volunteer hours. You may also bring your own form from your school.

LEADERSHIP

Can I apply to be a leader on a Live Different Build?

We do not accept applications for leadership on our Live Different Build projects. Leaders are our staff members or individuals closely associated with Live Different and have been appointed by Live Different to be in a position of leadership.

What is the Live Different Build Summer Internship Program?

This program is offered in Dominican Republic and Mexico only. The deadline is earlier than the normal deadline for registrations: January 15th of each year for the following summer. This program gives you an opportunity to develop your leadership skills in a great learning environment and help fight poverty at the same time. Registrants must be willing to participate for the entire program, which lasts approximately one month. Space is limited, so apply early!

TRAVEL

Can I fly directly to the Live Different Build destination from my own city?

Yes, we ask for all of our Live Different Builds that our volunteers fly directly to the destination location. We ask that for our Mexico, our volunteers fly into San Diego, CA, for Dominican Republic, our volunteers fly into Puerto Plata, for Haiti, our volunteers fly into Cap Haitien, and for Thailand, our volunteers fly into Chiang Mai, Thailand. Please see the individual projects for more details.

Who will pick me up at the airport when I arrive?

A Live Different representative will be waiting outside of the arrivals area with a Live Different sign and/or wearing a Live Different t-shirt. We do require that your flight details be emailed to us ahead of time. Please forward the official itinerary that the airlines sends you to avoid any typos.

How do I get to the departure location from my hometown?

You can walk, drive, sail, fly, take the bus, subway or the train, depending on which area of Canada you live in. If you are flying to Puerto Plata (POP) for our Dominican or Haiti Live Different Builds or San Diego (SAN) for our Mexican Live Different Builds, we provide complimentary airport shuttles to and from the airport. Travel arrangements to our departure point and all associated costs with this portion are the responsibility of the volunteer and are not included in the cost of the Live Different Build.

SAFETY AND SECRUITY

What security measures are in place?

The safety of our volunteers is our number one priority. For this reason we have a security team whose job is to stay up all night and be on call in case of a problem (or in the event that someone tries to sneak out!). No Live Different Build volunteer, whether adult or student, will be permitted to venture anywhere alone, day or night. We do our best to make sure all of our destinations are in safe areas.

Why do I need a criminal record check and how do I get one?

We want Live Different Builds to be safe for all of our volunteers, and this is why we require a criminal record check from all adults 18 years and older. If you need to discuss your criminal record check with us, please feel free to contact our office. To apply for a criminal record check, you must visit the police station in the city or town in which you live.

Do I need Overseas Health Insurance?

Yes, it is mandatory for all of our volunteers to have Emergency Medical Travel Insurance. If you need to purchase Emergency Medical Travel Insurance, please visit www.insuremytrip.ca.

Do I need any special immunizations?

It is recommended that you visit your family physician or travel clinic as soon as you know you are volunteering in Live Different Build to ensure all immunizations are up to date. For more information on immunizations, please visit the Public Health Agency of Canada.

What about Malaria and other diseases?

There have been no cases of malaria reported from the areas we are working in. The Health Agency of Canada recommends a good insect repellent with a high concentration of DEET (30%). Good hand washing is important. It is recommended that you carry hand sanitizer. Once again, please discuss your options with your family physician.

Will I need extra spending money?

It is recommended that you bring some spending money – depending on how much you like to shop! There will be opportunities to go shopping for souvenirs or to take part in some extra fun activities with a professional tour guide, get your hair braided, and so on. You may also get the munchies at the airport while waiting for your flight. Please note that volunteers are responsible for their own meals while traveling to and from their destination. In Mexico, the bus will stop at places where there will be a variety of food choices to accommodate different meal requirements. The most widely accepted currency in the places we travel is USD cash. Feel free to bring cash or travelers ‘cheques. While in the country of your destination there are places where you can cash your travelers’ cheques or bank machines where you can get more money.

How can I raise money for my Live Different Build?

There are so many great fundraising ideas out there! We have included some ideas under the fund raising section. Talk to everyone you know: family members, friends and local businesses. Let them know how they can be involved in a great project and get a tax receipt too!

ACCOMODATIONS

Where will we be staying while in Dominican Republic?

We are staying at Sosua By The Sea Resort. www.sousabythesea.com

Where will we be staying while in Mexico?

The accommodation location varies, based on the number of participants and time of year. You will be staying in either a dorm-style building with big rooms: one for girls and another for guys. Or you could be staying at our Live Different compound. We have a few houses on location and a trailer. We can host up to 50 people there and love setting up some fun camp fires at night. Each site has hot showers, flushing toilets, and electricity. Meals are provided on-site and lunches will be brought to the work site.

Where will we be staying in Thailand?

There are many guest houses throughout Thailand, similar to our Canadian bed and breakfast facilities. The exact location of the guest house we will be using has not been determined at this time.

Where will we be staying in Haiti?

We are staying at Residence Royale in Cap Haitien, Haiti.

Do I have to share a room with other people?

In Dominican Republic, students share a room with up to three other students of the same gender. Married adults volunteering in Live Different Builds together will have a private room. Single adults will be allocated to a room with one other adults of the same gender. Everyone has the option of paying for a private room. Costs associated with a private room are subject to change, depending on resort prices.

In Mexico, accommodations and the number of people per room will vary. In Thailand or Haiti, the number of people per room will also vary. For all three of these destinations, there are no options for private rooms.

Can I share a room with my boyfriend/girlfriend?

One of the values that Live Different supports in high schools is abstinence. We feel that this message should carry over into Live Different Builds with our high school volunteers. Therefore, for our student volunteers, we ask that you stay in separate rooms during your trip unless you are an adult. (18 years +)

Will there be a real bathroom?

Bathrooms are available on all projects.

Will I have access to safe drinking water?

Yes, purified water will be available for you at all times. You can fill up water bottles to take with you during the day and we will have a steady supply of drinking water on the work site. You’ll discover just how much water you are capable of drinking because we’ll make sure you drink a lot of it!

TRAINING AND REGISTRATION

Don’t I need special skills to build houses and schools?

No, we will provide on-the-job training. The work we get you to do is quite simple and straightforward. We leave the complicated stuff to the pros. However, you will be working hard!

I have special skills.

If you are a doctor, a nurse, a carpenter, a brick layer or a candlestick maker, I am sure we can find some way to put you to work!

How do I Register?

Registering is easy! Get started by heading here: my.livedifferent.com

ABOUT LIVE DIFFERENT

Are you a government agency?

Live Different is not a government agency, nor are we supported by any Canadian Government funding or projects. However, Live Different is a charitable organization registered with the Government of Canada. Our registration number is 86123 2890 RR0001.

Do you issue charitable donation tax receipts?

Yes, Live Different Builds is a charitable program, and we can issue tax receipts for donations towards a Live Different Builds projects. Donations made on Live Different’s website and fundraising pages will receive tax receipts. For offline donations sent in by mail, please use a donation log form, call our office for more details.

All tax receipts are mailed or emailed out in February following the year that the donation was made.

What makes you qualified to bring teenagers to a foreign country?

Live Different’s Build program has been changing lives since 2005. Each year, we bring hundreds of teenagers and adults to one of our four locations around around the world, and each year our volunteers return home with amazing stories to tell of how they were a part of something that is changing lives.

Many of our staff members and leaders have worked with youth and young adults for many years prior to Live Different Builds and have many combined years of experience in dealing with most of the issues that arise.

Live Different Staff

Check out the Meet our Team page to see our current staff.