Breakdown of ASB
Check out our "About" tab to see our history, philosophy and mission.
In September, ASB begins recruitment for our trips in May of that year. We host information sessions about the trips, and set up tables around the Ryerson campus where people can come and learn about us as an organization and ask the leaders any questions.
At the end of September, we begin accepting applications for that year. The application is written, and it is downloadable from our website at this time. Once the written applications have been submitted, successful applicants will be called to schedule an in person interview with the current leadership team and ASB advisors. After the in person interviews, the teams will be selected and members will be notified!
Weekly team meetings typically begin around the beginning of November. These meetings take place on Tuesday nights at 6:30PM. They are 1.5 to 2 hours in length, and they are mandatory to attend for all team members. During the weekly team meetings, the team participates in a variety of things including:
-team building exercizes
-ethical engagement workshops to teach members about responsible and effective international development projects
-learning about the country you're visiting and the host organization
-pre-departure information like packing lists and project updates
The teams also divide into "subgroups" responsible for social media/team building, events and silent auction planning. A portion of time in each weekly meeting is devoted to meeting with your subgroup. The goal of these meetings is to make sure every team member feels confident and prepared before departure.
Weekly Team Meetings
Volunteering abroad can be expensive, so one of ASB's main goals is to make these types of programs afforable for students. Members pay a "membership fee", which is calculated at half the projected cost of the trip for one person. We try to keep this fee at maximum $2000.00, in the past students have paid as little as $1300.00. This fee is paid in installments throughout the year in order to make it easier to save money for the trip. Your membership fee includes:
- your round trip flight
- volunteer fee
- weekend excursion
The only things that aren't covered by ASB are vaccinations, in country spending money and some in-transit meals in country. Members should also budget for their gear (backpack, hiking boots, etc...), and some small at home fees (buying supplies for a bakesale, an admission fee for an event, etc...).
Through extensive group fundraising, donations from local sponsors and grant applications, the team makes up the rest of the money required to go- and we don't go unless we fundraise enough, we do not ask for more money from team members.
As stated above, ASB is able to offer a low participation cost for members due to our extensive fundraising throughout the year. We annually host a silent auction, which is our biggest event of the year. Each year, the events subgroup is responsible for planning other fundraising initiatives. We have bake sales, bar nights, raffles, comedy nights - we've even gone caroling in Dundas Square. These are fun ways for the team to bond pre-departure, and of course- how we raise our money! Outside of events, the student leadership team applies for Ryerson grants and seeks out funding opportunities for the team.
All trips go through a lot of research and prep to ensure everyone is prepared for departure. All teams attend a pre-departure session with Ryerson International to be briefed on in country safety, and everything must be in place in order to be approved to go. All student leaders are certified in first aid and are briefed on all in country protocol with our faculty advisor and Ryerson University. Safety and security for our members is our number one priority!
After all our preparation throughout the year, our teams are itching to go come May. They head off for their one month trip, and each experience and itinerary is completely unique. ASB strives to participate in sustainable and ethical volunteer projects, while throwing in some other activities for the team to experience the culture and see the sights of the host country.Check out our "Past Projects" tab to learn more about the kinds of work we have done whilst abroad and what countries we've visited!
Upon return, students have a post-trip debrief with faculty advisor Dr. Arne Kislenko. This is how we get feedback on our trips and find new ways to improve in the future. Additionally, Arne simply loves to hear about everyone's experience. Members often describe their experiences as "life changing" and "eye-opening". Many alumni have gone on to pursue careers in the field of international development. No matter your major or your future goals, ASB is an incredible experience. You return having learned so much about yourself and about what you're capable of when you step outside of your comfort zone. Of course, a huge bonus is the great new group of friends you will have made through ASB. Plus, you don't just have your new Ryerson friends- but the friends you met in your host country as well. ASB is an experience you will continue to think about long past your return to Toronto.