Global Impact Corps: How To Apply, Program Requirements, and Costs

This page refers to the Honduras, India, and long-term (10+ day) Ghana programs. For more information on the one-week Ghana opportunity, click here.

How To Apply

  • Submit an application at http://www.uniteforsight.org/volunteer-abroad/apply
  • There is not an application deadline. Unite For Sight accepts applications on a rolling application deadline, and qualified applicants are therefore accepted on a first-come, first served basis. Programs fill quickly, and we therefore suggest that you apply as soon as you decide that you would like to participate. You may apply more than a full year in advance, or you may apply a few months in advance. If there is still space available, you may apply less than one month in advance of a program, though this is not encouraged since all programs may be filled, and you would have little time to prepare. Those who apply early can lock in their first choice program location and program dates before programs start becoming filled. Our website shows the programs that are currently available and accepting applications, and filled programs are crossed off the Dates list as soon as they become unavailable.
  • Recommendations are an important part of the application process. You must list at least two (2) professional references. You may list more than two, and we will review your application on the basis of the first two recommendation letters that we receive from your recommenders. Acceptable professional references include college instructors, academic advisers, former or current employers, work supervisors, and volunteer supervisors. Personal references (friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, clergymen, fellow students, and student leaders of a student organization) are not acceptable references, will be disregarded, and will result in automatic rejection of the application. College students should not submit a letter from a high school teacher or from a supervisor during high school.
  • The application fee is $55, which should be submitted by credit card or electronic check at the same time that the application is submitted.
  • The first qualified applicants are accepted, based on strong letters of recommendation and thoughtful application essay responses. Accepted Global Impact Fellows demonstrate intellectual curiosity, passion about global health, cultural competency, integrity, humility, respect for supervisors, cooperative disposition, dedication, and commitment to hard work.

Program Requirements

Our research, experience, and evaluation has enabled us to develop a highly successful pre-service training and orientation process that ensures that volunteers are fully prepared to contribute to the success of the Unite For Sight programs.

All of the Unite For Sight pre-service requirements can only be completed once a participant applies for and is accepted to the Unite For Sight program. Unite For Sight provides an easy-to-use personal login page so that fellows can keep track of their pre-service progress and access all relevant program-specific details and materials, program manuals, phone numbers, and important links, as well as email addresses of their fellow volunteers and alumni participants.

  • Global Impact TrainingFellows complete pre-departure training through Unite For Sight's pioneering training program, which includes topics in global health, social entrepreneurship, cultural competency, and eye care.
  • Insurance: It is important for anyone traveling abroad to have security, medical assistance, and medical expense reimbursement insurance coverage. All Global Impact Fellows are required to purchase security and medical assistance insurance, as well as medical expense reimbursement insurance, through International SOS.
  • Passport, VISA, Vaccinations: Receive a Passport and VISA, and get vaccinations and a physical exam. All participants are required to receive all necessary vaccinations and malaria prophylaxis for travel in accordance with The Travelers' Health Report from the National Center of Infectious Diseases of the Centers for Disease Control
  • Transport Eyeglasses: Global Impact Fellows obtain at least 600 reading glasses or sunglasses for donation to the partner eye clinic in the destination country. Most volunteers simply order eyeglasses from organizations such as RestoringVision (U.S.-based volunteers), New Eyes For The Needy (U.S.-based volunteers), Lion's Club (U.S.-based, Canada-based, Australia-based, and other volunteers), and other similar organizations worldwide. These organizations will ship the supply of eyeglasses directly to the Global Impact Fellow by postal mail. The highest quality eyeglasses come from RestoringVision, which receives overstocked glasses that would otherwise be discarded by eyeglass companies. The cost for the glasses varies by the supplier. Eyeglasses from the Lion's Club are usually shipped free of charge ($0), while RestoringVision charges 45 cents per eyeglass pair (including shipping), and New Eyes For The Needy charges a minimal shipping cost. After receiving the reading glasses and sunglasses in the mail, Global Impact Fellows pack the collection into their suitcase to transport to the eye clinic abroad. These reading glasses and sunglasses are distributed to patients by the eye clinic where the volunteer participates. Upon acceptance to the Unite For Sight program, fellows receive detailed instructions and contact information for obtaining reading glasses and sunglasses.
  • Required Fundraising/Donation (100% provides eye care to patients): Global Impact Fellows donate or fundraise at least $1,800 for Unite For Sight's international eye care programs, except professionals (fully licensed, fully trained and practicing optometrists and ophthalmologists who provide skills transfer to local eye care professionals, as well as professional filmmakers and photographers who are participating in a professional capacity), who donate at least $600 for the eye care programs. This tax-deductible donation is an essential part of a volunteer's contribution to patients living in extreme poverty, and this donation is in lieu of any administrative program fees. In contrast to all other volunteer abroad organizations, Unite For Sight does not have an administrative program fee. Unite For Sight operates in a very cost-effective manner so that the organization does not need to pass along typical administrative and volunteer coordination expenses to its volunteers. We have other sources of funding for the expenses associated with ensuring safety and preparing, training, managing, and supervising volunteers in a quality manner. 

    Can I fundraise instead? Yes! While volunteers are welcome to pay the $1,800 donation, many volunteers instead choose to fundraise, which we strongly encourage. This is a great opportunity to engage your family and friends in your upcoming experience abroad, and volunteers often far exceed the $1,800 minimum. 100% of the fundraising efforts by Unite For Sight's fellows provide impoverished patients with free eye care and sight-restoring surgeries. Each cataract surgery costs $50 on average, so every dollar that you fundraise or donate has a tremendous impact on the lives of children and adults.

    Easy-To-Use Personalized Fundraising Page: To facilitate the fundraising process, Unite For Sight creates a personal donation fundraising page for all Global Impact Fellows and provides a Fundraising Toolkit. Unite For Sight's Global Impact Fellows are very successful with their fundraising initiatives, and fundraising often requires very little of a volunteer's time since they only need to email their fundraising website link to friends and family. As donations are submitted, Unite For Sight records the donations and notifies the volunteer. All donors receive a receipt for tax purposes, and the donations are tax-deductible to the full extent provided by U.S. law.

    Click To View Examples of Volunteer Fundraising Pages

How easy is it to fundraise with the online fundraising page? You will find that your family and friends are excited to support your fundraising efforts for a cause and organization that are important to you. You will likely find that it takes no more than one month to reach the $1,800 minimum fundraising amount, and some volunteers even reach the fundraising minimum within one week. College student Daniel Yeboah-Kordieh, for example, anticipated that fundraising would be difficult, but he ultimately raised $1981 within a few weeks. He explains: "The learning experience of the Global Impact Corps Program began way before I actually arrived in Ghana. I initially flinched when I was told raising a minimum of $1800 was a prerequisite to participating in the program. Given that I was a freshman international student, who barely knew anyone in the United States, I sincerely thought this amount would be impossible to raise. However, this turned out to be a life lesson of ‘tenacity in the face of challenges’ that this program would teach me. I had the immense support of officials at Unite For Sight’s office, who would call me, and discuss innovative fundraising techniques with me. In addition I was given a fundraising webpage that streamlined the process. Within a few weeks, I had raised way more than the minimum requirement; I was forced to think outside the box, push myself, persist and overcome a challenge I thought was impossible."

  • Upon acceptance to the program, Global Impact Fellows submit a deposit to confirm their commitment and to hold their place in the limited-capacity program. For convenience, we offer two deposit options:

    Option 1: $600 non-refundable deposit to confirm commitment and to hold your place in the program. The deposit counts towards the $1,800 fundraising/donation requirement. The remaining $1200 is due two months prior to the program start date. If, however, the volunteer is accepted between 4-8 weeks prior to the program start date, then a $900 non-refundable deposit is due within five days of acceptance, and the remaining $900 is due 4 weeks prior to the program start date. If the volunteer is accepted between 2-4 weeks prior to the program start date, then the full $1800 is due within five days of acceptance.

    Or Option 2: $1800 reimbursable deposit due soon after acceptance, and $1800 fundraising due one month prior to the program start date. The original $1800 deposit is reimbursed after successful completion of the program, and volunteers therefore do not personally submit any funds, unless they choose to donate. This option is ideal for volunteers who would like to fundraise instead of personally paying the $1800 requirement.

Costs

  • The exact cost of your program will vary based on the location and dates. 
    • Required Fundraising/Donation: As explained above, all volunteers either donate or fundraise $1,800, and 100% provides sight-restoring surgeries for patients living in poverty. This tax-deductible donation is an essential part of a volunteer's contribution to patients living in extreme poverty, and this donation is in lieu of any administrative program fees. In contrast to all other volunteer abroad organizations, Unite For Sight does not have an administrative program fee.
    • Airfare: Airfare varies based on your starting location, destination location, and the time of year. You can determine the flight cost by going to a travel website such as FlyForGood, Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, or FlyCheapAbroad or by going directly to airline websites.
    • Living and Lodging Costs: Unite For Sight coordinates housing for all volunteers, and volunteers pay the lodging providers directly. The specific cost varies by location and trip duration. For specific details, visit Program Locations, then select your preferred program location to see all of the program details, including the living and lodging costs.
    • International SOS Security, Medical Assistance, and Medical Expense Reimbursement Costs: The exact cost depends on the amount of time that you spend abroad. You may coordinate a cost estimate at http://buymembership.internationalsos.com/. For example, a 10-day period of security insurance coverage costs $84, and a 1-month period of insurance coverage costs $189. The medical expense reimbursement (health insurance coverage) also varies by the number of days abroad. Coverage for up to 10 days is an additional $29, while coverage for up to 31 days is an additional $53. Therefore, for a volunteer participating for 10 days, the cost would be $84 for medical assistance and security coverage and an additional $29 for health insurance coverage.
    • Visa: You will need a visa to enter Ghana and India. You may review the costs on the Ghana or India Consulate websites in your country. Depending on your destination and length of stay, your visa will likely cost between $60 and $150.

Alumni Reflections

"I am very impressed with how Unite For Sight prepares their volunteers and has such a good rapport with their organizations that they work with. I like how Unite For Sight is very professional and prepared to help you in every way possible. They thought of almost everything and anything that could affect you while on your trip and prepared you for every situation (through readings, online videos, and other training). In turn, this made for such a wonderful experience during my two weeks."

Alumni Reflections

"My overall experience was excellent because not only did I gain a cultural experience and meet wonderful people and make friendships, but I also have also gained an academic and hands on experience into the field my interest. The modules, preparations, training, fundraising and eyeglass collection have brought me so much closer to my family, friends, and community...I am certain that I will contribute some of my time and skill to community development in developing countries in the future...I learned so much about the role of NGOs through reading the modules and the importance of having an effective and organized organization in order to have a positive impact rather than a negative one."


Alumni Reflections

"In the surgery room, people were prepped and operated on at amazing efficiency, as the surgery itself took but seven minutes. Seven miraculous minutes was all it took for people to get their sight back. A miracle not only for them, but an eye opener for me, for I had fundraised enough money for 57 of these people to have this chance to regain their sight, a chance they would not have had without the financial support of Unite For Sight. My experience in Ghana was nothing short of amazing. Not only did I get a hands-on experience in the medical field as an undergraduate, but I realized how preventable blindness can be in many developing countries; so preventable that I, a mere college student, could change 57 lives."

Alumni Reflections

"I loved how the Unite For Sight program guided you through the whole process of becoming a volunteer. I appreciated the deadlines, for it gave me solid timeline with which to work. On top of that, I was glad that there were readings on cultural competency, health care, the anatomy and physiology of the eye, and the numerous pathologies of the eye. Without all these required readings and videos, I would have gone in blind to Patna. However, because I was able to get a general understanding of what my stay in Patna would be like, what work was required of me, and how to interact with patients, I felt more at ease while I was actually volunteering. My favorite requirement was the one where I had to go and shadow an ophthalmologist. I learned so much more about the eye than I could have just from reading and watching videos. I was able to attain actual experience on how to establish a relationship with the patient and how to proceed in taking down a patient's history and visual acuity. Without the requirements, I would not have been as effective of a volunteer as I was because of all the knowledge I gained beforehand."