We have lots of different expeditions available and it can be quite daunting to decide where to go. Most people struggle to pick out a project, and we don’t think we’ve ever had someone join us without asking at least one question first!
It’s important to know that you can change your mind at almost any point. You can change expedition, even after you’ve booked on, up until the 31st March of the year of the booking. Or even delay your expedition a year or cancel entirely if things aren’t working out the way you’d hoped.
You can find our full terms and conditions here, but there’s basic information below on some of the most common questions so you don’t have to go digging through all the legal stuff!
The first step is arguably the hardest! How do you narrow down 100+ projects to just 2 or 3? Most Opwall staff members will give you one simple answer – “go with your gut!”
It’s almost impossible to choose at this stage, so use the filters on the search to start digging through a few options, and our key tip for this is watch the videos! They give you a great overview of the project and will help you visualize what it may be like on site.
Don’t forget to look at the dates each project runs, and the information tabs. They all contain information that might help with your decision.
The best resource for helping narrow you down your option is Opwall staff. The majority were volunteers before they were staff members, and are fountains of knowledge about each of the different expeditions. If one can’t help you, they’ll put you in touch with someone who can!
If you submit an expression of interest we’ll also be able to notify you if we’re giving a talk at your university, if you’re a student. Between October and December each year we speak at most UK, US and Canadian Universities – one of the first things we do for each talk is notify people at that university who have said they may be interested.
The expression of interest form lets us know which projects you might be interested in, and we will put you in touch with a member of Opwall staff who may be able to help.
How we do that is entirely up to you – emails, phone calls, skype or even the website chat are all available options. We tend to recommend a phone call as it lets us cover the most information, but you don’t have to speak to us on the phone if you don’t wish!
Please also feel free to contact us without even submitting an expression of interest!
One of the most common question we get asked is “when do applications close?”
Unfortunately there is no easy answer! Each of the expeditions has a limited number of spaces available – from as low as 2 or 3 for dissertation projects, up to 20 or 30 for some research assistant expeditions. Some will fill quickly because they’re popular, others more slowly – but then certain projects also start to fill quickly when others are closed! It’s incredibly difficult for us to predict when things might fill up.
Because of this, we tend to recommend that you secure a place as soon as you’re fairly confident you’re interested. You can always move which project you’re booked onto until the 31st March! You can also cancel entirely*, or move your booking forward 12 months.
* If you opt to cancel, as long as you do it before 185 days before your expedition start date (mid-December to mid-February depending on the project), you’re only risking a £50 cancellation fee.
Think someone you know would be interested in an expedition? We do offer a referrals scheme!
If someone uses your name when signing up through the website, you both can receive a discount from your expedition of £30/$50 if you’re both booked for 2020.
This is entirely repeatable, so if three people sign up you get a £90/$150 discount!
The discount is calculated in March using those people that have paid their second deposit and booked their flights. If you or your referral haven’t yet done that, the discount will be processed when you do.
If things aren’t working out the way you’d hoped – maybe something has come up that you can’t avoid – there are options available. The first step is simply chatting to us by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org! What we’ll recommend will vary depending on what you’re booked onto, and when you speak to us. But the most common outcomes are below.
You can move your entire booking forward one year. We transfer over all the money you’ve paid to a future booking – this gives you an extra 12 months of preparation time and fundraising!
See section 4.1.2 of the terms and conditions.
In some rare instances we’ll sometimes find that people might book a dissertation or thesis project with us, but for some reason their university opts not to support it. This can sometimes happen quite late, so we have a special policy in place for when this occurs.
If you book a dissertation project, you can cancel without any cancellation fees up until the 1st of April if you can provide a letter from your university tutor stating that they won’t support the project.
Cancelling is always a tough decision but one that unfortunately some people do have to take. You can cancel a place at any point, but we do have a number of cancellation charges in place depending on when you’ve cancelled.
As an example, our earliest expedition in 2020 starts on the 7th June. So the earliest these dates would be are 5th December (185 days), 10th January (149 days), 30th March (69 days) and 26th April (42 days). But most will be later!
See section 4.3 of the terms and conditions.