Do we have to be able to speak Spanish?
No, Spanish skills are not necessary, but we do need some fluent Spanish speakers at each site. You may wish that you could converse with the local residents and people you meet. If you are able, we recommend learning some conversational Spanish for your own personal benefit.

Can I participate if I am not affiliated with Yale?
Absolutely! We encourage family and friends to participate in the Service Trip. All helping hands are welcome. Please note that children must be at least 10 years old to participate, and all participants under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Can we attend a portion of the trip, either arriving late or leaving early? 
No, we work as a family of volunteers-members of a team who will share different responsibilities and project assignments. We will have work teams for all of the projects, and teamwork means all hands on deck! You can certainly travel to Nicaragua early or stay longer on your own, if you’d like.

I would like to travel to Nicaragua with other members of the Yale group. Is there a group flight to Nicaragua?
The program fee does not include international air arrangements so there is no group flight option. 

Will there be financial assistance available for this Service Trip?
It is possible that there will be some funding for partial scholarships primarily for Yale alumni and current Yale students. As we are dependent upon the generosity of paying participants for scholarship funding, there will not be any information about scholarships until mid January. We will then notify any scholarship applicants (as noted on the application) if there are funds available and what information they need to provide to be considered for funding. Please be aware that available funding will be extremely limited. Please do not send e-mail requests for funding to us as we cannot record the information at this time.

We encourage those of you who can to contribute to the Service Trip Scholarship Fund! Scholarship gifts are fully tax-deductible and enable talented alumni from diverse backgrounds to participate, enhancing the experience for everyone.

What will we wear?
Comfortable work clothes. You will be working at community centers and project sites in impoverished communities, often outdoors. All excursions and group activities will be casual. There is no need for a coat and tie unless you’d like to dress up at your discretion. You may want to bring one nicer outfit for the farewell dinner, but formal attire is not necessary. You should bring a swimsuit if you choose to swim during the trip.There are pools at some hotels where we will be staying.

I have specialized skills that may be valuable to the service projects and I’d like to be involved in the project development. How can I do that? 
You will be asked for this information in the registration page. We will then work with a committee of specialized alumni volunteers who provide expertise to help shape our service projects. If you have additional questions for now, please contact Joao Aleixo at (203) 432-1054 or write to joao.aleixo@yale.edu

What about medical emergencies?
We recommend that each volunteer look into getting medical and travel insurance to cover this trip. Sometimes the site that you book your airfare through may offer this additional insurance or your current medical insurance company may cover some overseas care or offer additional supplemental insurance. Credit cards, in particular American Express, sometimes provide insurance if the card is used to charge the expense (as well as airline or current insurance). We encourage you to look into this since Yale cannot assume any responsibility for travel issues or medical emergencies or care costs.

Can you provide information about travel insurance?
The Yale Alumni Service Corps strongly urges every trip participant to consider the purchase of trip cancellation and interruption insurance. While YASC and AYA are not able to give advice regarding travel insurance, we can provide information that we hope each traveler will consider carefully in deciding what to do about insurance.

Neither YASC nor AYA carries insurance that offers financial protection to travelers for cancellation of any or all of the trip for any reason.
Should you decide to purchase insurance, you must choose what level of coverage you wish to obtain. Basic travel insurance is generally offered at several levels that protect a traveler from loss in the event that a traveler withdraws from a trip because of circumstances in the traveler’s personal life. Basic travel insurance also typically offers some level of protection in case of trip cancellations, trip delays or lost luggage.

However, basic travel insurance does not offer any protection in the event a tour is canceled by force majeure or other, similar events. That level of coverage is offered by some insurers under the heading of Cancel for Any Reason Coverage (CFAR) and is more expensive than basic travel insurance. It may be offered as a separate package or as an upgrade option for some basic plans. There are restrictions on CFAR coverage with respect to when it must be purchased, what level of coverage the traveler must buy and who is eligible to purchase it.

Many carriers offer travel insurance. Here is the contact information for two carriers offering travel insurance and CFAR:

Travelex Insurance
800 228 9792

Travel Insured
800 243 3174

We strongly recommend that tour participants consult an insurance company or visit the websites of either or both of these companies to come to an informed decision as to whether or not to purchase trip cancellation and interruption coverage and the appropriate level of coverage.

What if I have to cancel my participation unexpectedly? 
Please be aware that after the December 15, 2011 registration deadline, the initial program deposit is non-refundable. Following the final January 15, 2012 payment deadline, all Service Trip program fees are non-refundable. We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance, which would cover your expenses resulting from cancellation due to illness or accident. We are happy to send you a brochure from Travel Insurance Services, or you may obtain coverage through the company of your choice.

What if my questions are not answered here? 
We’ll be delighted to address your particular questions and concerns. For more information, please contact Joao Aleixo at (203) 432-1054, or via e-mail at joao.aleixo@yale.edu

See you in Managua!