If you’ve already registered for the One Year Challenge, one of the questions you were asked was whether you could support yourself or need the church to provide financial support for you.
Some churches do have the financial resources to provide housing or even a salaried internship, but…
Most volunteers at most sites are self-supporting. They are following a great tradition of men like Paul who made tents to support himself and his co-workers on the mission.
Here are some practical ideas for preparing yourself financially:
- Talk about money with the leaders at various sites. In many places it will be fairly easy for you to find a job. In some countries, there may be restrictions on what jobs foreigners can hold. In campus towns, some have abundant employment opportunities, some don’t. Ask!
- Know your total debt amount, not just your monthly payments.
- Improve your earning power with additional experience or certifications. For example, if you want to support yourself as a teacher (a popular option!) you could get an online certification in teaching English as a second language. Many good companies offer these programs. We know several OYC volunteers who have completed the least expensive program at i-to-i, but there are many other excellent options like this, too.
- If possible, don’t get into long-term financial obligations (such as financing a car or buying things with a credit card).
- If you are a student, be very careful about accepting lots of financial aid with the promise that you don’t have to make payments until six months after you graduate. Many students have no idea how much debt they are accumulating or how constraining it will be on their future choices. Pay as you go, as much as possible.
- Mostly, get input from wise advisers who have their own finances in order.