Workcamps are the most common form of short-term volunteering and are projects where a group of volunteers work and live together on a project identified by a local community. SEEDS workcamps generally last for 2 up to 3 weeks
The types of the projects developed by SEEDS are mainly nature or environmental oriented, and they can be for instance building of walking paths or hiking trails, cleaning of the coastline, reforestation and erosion control works, construction or renovation of a community building, monument or community centre, ecological research, removing invasive growth (luppina), etc...
There are some social, cultural, study, agricultural, archeological, maintenance projects and others depending basically on the identified need of the local community.
International workcamps bring together volunteers from different nationalities and backgrounds aiming at building up international understanding and therefore encouraging peace while working for an identified need of the local community. Groups' sizes vary between 5 and 30 participants.
SEEDS organises every year workcamps in Iceland; in 2011 we had 100 projects with 1000 participants from 55 different countries. Since 2006, SEEDS has hosted over 3000 local and international volunteers in our projects in Iceland.
The length of SEEDS workcamps varies, but generally they last for 2 weeks; some of the are longer up to 3 weeks.
SEEDS mainly organises workcamps in Iceland, our projects are located all around the Icelandic map and we work with partners in about 70 different locations in Iceland covering the West and East fjords, North and South of the country, the Highlands and the capital area. It is possible to say SEEDS works in every area of the country.
SEEDS also sends Icelanders and residents of Iceland to volunteer in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. SEEDS has volunteering projects and opportunities for cooperation in more than 100 countries all over the globe.
Please email or Contact us for more information.
The types of projects developed by SEEDS are mainly focused on nature and the environment. This includes: ecological research; building walking paths or hiking trails; working in an organic farm; removing invasive growth (i.e. lupin); cleaning the coastline; reforestation and erosion control work; construction or renovation of a community building, monument or community centre.
There are social, cultural, academic, agricultural, archaeological or maintenance projects, and others depending on the identified need of the local community.In the cultural/festival/sport events related jobs, SEEDS came into action helping in their organisation and also taking part actively in the events.
For more information on SEEDS' projects please download our 2011 programme and descriptions at the link below:
If you want to know more about our projects, please email us or contact us here!
To find SEEDS workcamps description please use the drop-down menu "Volunteer in Iceland", situated on the upper left-hand side of our website, select the dates and click on "Find your workcamp", then you can browse the workcamps and find some you may be interested in!
You can also click on the following link to browse through our current and past workcamps: http://seeds.is/workcamps
Send us an email with your data or contact us here, including your home country, so that we can find whether we have a partner sending organisation there.
SEEDS has an extensive network of partner sending organisations around the world, in case you do not know one or want to know more about the procedure to apply and conditions, please let us know and we will give you further advice and their contact data.
Placements are made on a first-come, first-serve basis (exceptions can be made if there are too many applicants from one single country or in order to keep the gender as balanced as possible within the group).
If you are interested in joining one of our projects, please apply as soon as possible; some of the workcamps are very popular as some periods of the year are really busy with volunteers coming to SEEDS; the sooner you apply the most likely you will be accepted and the cheaper your travel will be.
Usually within two working days after receiving the application form. SEEDS tries to answer all requests within 2 working days to sending organisations, so applications will know rather soon whether the application has been accepted; in case applications are not accepted, we usually offer alternative projects to the candidates.
SEEDS usually accepts volunteers aged 18 or over; in most of our projects we do not have any upper age limit. We also have some projects that are open for teenage volunteers (16+) and some projects that have a lower and upper limit (eg. 25-35) but we usually try to place volunteers in our projects; age is not an issued if you are motivated to volunteers with SEEDS in Iceland.
The age range (lower and/or upper limits) are available in the workcamps descriptions.
Volunteers younger than 18 are accepted with special permission from their parents/guardians. In this case, you must contact us in advance so that we can send all the necessary documents and details.
Apart from enthusiasm and motivation, you will need to bring suitable working clothes (specific description will be sent in the infosheet, before the workcamp starts).
Weather conditions in Iceland can change rapidly, even in the course of a few minutes. It is strongly recommended that you are prepared for both warm, sunny days and cold, rainy and windy ones. Iceland has a combination of all weathers you can imagine (which you might experience all in the same day!).
We also recommend to bring: a towel and swim suit, food or drinks from your country, games, music instruments, or anything else that you would like to share with the other volunteers.
Once you have been notified of acceptance into a workcamp you may go ahead and make your travel arrangements.
Volunteers participating in our projects should arrive to Iceland the latest one day before the workcamp starts, as travel to the project, if arranged by SEEDS, will leave Reykjavík on the first day of the camp in the morning. If the project takes place in Reykjavík, you can arrive to Iceland the same day the workcamps starts.
If volunteers choose to go by different means (to workcamps located outside Reykjavík), they might need more than one day to reach the destination by public transportation services.
In the same way, volunteers shall not book their return journey the day the camp ends, the earliest one day after the camp finishes. In this way volunteers ensure they will be able to join the camp for its full length.
From former volunteers' feedback you can consider staying longer in Iceland; before or/and after the project. Volunteers may group together and decide to travel the country and visit different areas to those of the project itself.
SEEDS will send you an Information Sheet (infosheet) about your workcamp, including detailed information about the project as directions to travel to Iceland, to the workcamp site, meeting points, accommodation in Reykjavík, etc.
Apart from the specific information sheet for your camp, SEEDS also has a "General Information sheet" for all of our projects; in this one we include details on:
- Participation fees - Where your contributions go!
- SEEDS workcamps - Team, work, food & accommodation, free time, transportation to/from the sites, etc.
- What to bring with you
- Insurance - EEA and non EEA
- Travel to Iceland & Reykjavík
- Arrival and Departure dates
- Accommodation (in Reykjavík) for stays before or after the workcamps
- Other Practical Information
- If you have any problems, emergency contacts, etc.
Yes, in most of our workcamps we have a person called "the Environmental Messenger"; who is in charge of giving our projects an educational/awareness-raising approach to environmental, sustainability and global issues. S/he organises and develops fun, interactive and educational activities within the workcamp.
One of the goals of the "Environmental Messenger" project is to encourage workcamp participants to undertake simple but easy-to-implement actions which will affect the way we use our resources and we deal with the environment.
Participation/contribution fees are required in order to take part in our workcamps, as these finances help to support the ongoing work of SEEDS. Please note that your entire fee might not necessarily go towards your particular workcamp. The fees collected by SEEDS are mainly used to:
- bear the administrative expenditures of the association: salaries, rent, office bills (energy, phone, electricity, insurance, heating), personnel, external representation, mail, website, postage, equipments, supplies, banking costs, legal formalities, etc.
- aid/develop of some of our other activities - to pay food or accommodation in some of the projects, where the hosts do not provide it, co-funding for our long-term voluntary service projects and the development of particular sessions in the camps.
SEEDS is a non-profit organisation, and all funds go back into improving the service we provide to volunteers and hosts. Most European organisations similar to SEEDS raise funds by sending volunteers abroad and charging outgoing volunteers a registration fee.
In Iceland, we face a particular challenge for two reasons: voluntary service is not very popular among Icelanders yet, and the Icelandic population is very small, so the number of volunteers sent by SEEDS overseas does not represent sufficient income to run our association. Furthermore, SEEDS does not receive any regular government funding, or financial support from our local, regional or national authorities or government. The amount of the fees will be stated for each camp in their descriptions and are to be paid on arrival in cash, preferably in Euros.
It is up to you which mode of transportation to the workcamp you choose. You can use Icelandic public transport or any kind of individual one. The costs for transportation in Iceland might be very high and it is not always easy to reach the workcamp.
We therefore recommend that the volunteers use transportation by a minibus provided by SEEDS. The costs vary according to the location of the workcamp but we always aim to make the cost cheaper than the costs of other ways of transportation provided in Iceland.
They will be collected together on the first day of the camp in Euros and only in cash. Unfortunately we cannot accept any other form of payment. Please make sure you bring enough money, as you may not be able to get cash during the camp.
We usually work five days a week, between seven (7) and eight (8) hours a day. Weekends are usually free but if requested by the hosting partner, we might work during the weekend and get days off during the usual working days, Monday to Friday.
SEEDS has trained leaders for all of our workcamps; they are also volunteers and their role is to bridge the local host, the group of short-term volunteers and SEEDS. They have the extra responsibility of running the projects and communicating with all involved parties. In all workcamps, they will also be involved in the work, cooking and cleaning duties. Camp-leaders are not fully responsible for organising your free time and they hope for your ideas and contributions.
No, you do not need any special skills to join a workcamp with SEEDS. However, some of the workcamps are physically intensive so in those specific cases you will need to be aware of your own limitations. You will be expected to participate not only in the work with the other volunteers but also in building a positive group atmosphere, cooking and undertaking group activities together.
We recommend applying for a workcamp in good time. If you decide to participate at the last minute, contact us or your sending organisation. We will try to find a workcamp for you to participate in that will suit you and your travel dates.
Some workcamps become full months in advance, some might have free places, even a few days before the workcamp starts (for example, if a volunteer cancels their participation for some unavoidable reason).
Of course! In fact we encourage it! If you have enough time available, we would like to encourage you to join more than one project.
SEEDS noticed that some volunteers like to participate in more than one workcamp and that is why we decided to offer an special discount for this situation: if you participate in more than one of SEEDS' workcamps, you will get 10% discount from the participation fee of the second (third or fourth) project.
All basic food and accomodation costs will be fully covered by SEEDS or the local host, from the evening of the first day of the camp, until the morning of the last day. Very often the leisure time activities are also covered by SEEDS and/or our local hosts. Sometimes you will be asked to cover some costs (entrance to a swimming pool, bus excursion, etc.). Of course, these activities are not compulsory, so you can decide whether to take part in such activities or not.
Yes, both food and accommodation will be provided by either the local host or SEEDS during all workcamps. In most of the workcamps, volunteers will share the duties of preparing and cooking meals using the ingredients and equipment provided. However, if you would like some luxury food items, ingredients or sweets, you will need to buy them yourself, probably before the departure to the workcamp as supplies can be limited in small towns. If you have no special wishes, most probably you will not need any money to buy food during the workcamp. If you have special requirements, such as vegetarian/veganism, or allergies to certain products, SEEDS hopes it can provide for you, also.
Accommodation varies significantly from camp to camp. You may have accommodation in anything from a tent or school classroom to a very comfortable hotel with your own room, although this is quite unusual. Volunteers usually need to bring their own sleeping bags, detailed information will be sent once you are accepted for the project.
In the year 2011, we hosted volunteers from 55 countries. SEEDS tries to organise the workcamps placing a wide variety of volunteers from different countries. This brings different cultural influences and perspectives together, avoiding groups where single cultures are over-represented.
Yes! Volunteers MUST obtain health and accident insurance for the whole duration of their travel before arrival in Iceland. You must bring all necessary documents, contact numbers, etc. with you. SEEDS itself does not provide any type of insurance for international volunteers, therefore volunteers without insurance will not be allowed to participate in our projects. Depending where you are from, please read the relevant section below on obtaining insurance for your project.
Residents of the EEA (European Economic Area) and Switzerland
Iceland is part of the EEA so volunteers residing in the European Union or in any EEA country and Switzerland benefit here from the use of the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), having access to the Icelandic Health system as in any European country in the same conditions as Icelandic citizens and will be treated on the same basis as a resident of Iceland. For information on the European Health Insurance Card, please visit: http://ec.europa.eu/social/main.jsp?catId=509&langId=en
Non EEA Residents (rest of the world)
If you are travelling from outside the EEA, you must seek private medical/travel insurance for the duration of your stay. It is strongly advised that this is obtained before leaving your country of residence, as the cost of insuring you in Iceland will be much higher. Your insurance must cover you for all medical eventualities, and it is advised that it should cover any private medical healthcare.
English is the official language of SEEDS workcamps but do not worry if you do not speak it perfectly; many of our volunteers use the opportunity to learn and improve their English skills! You do not need any knowledge of Icelandic language, as most of the Icelanders can speak English really well. But keep in mind that locals appreciate and like it very much when foreigners try to learn and speak some words or phrases of their native language.
It depends on the camp and which kind of activities it is possible to organize with the locals and with the group. There can be excursions on the weekends, visits to museums, galleries or places of interest, go for a walk/hike around the area, go to the swimming pool or activities prepared within the group as games, sing, talk about topics of common interest, make log fires, international evenings, etc.
If you get lost or you miss the transport connection to reach the camp, phone the emergency phone number you will find in the information sheet.
We suggest our volunteers to research travel with different airlines/alternatives as fares for different companies may vary significantly according to the dates of travel. There are 3 main airlines flying to Keflavík (Reykjavík) International Airport this summer:
1. Iceland Express: www.icelandexpress.com
2. Iceland Air: www.icelandair.net
To check the map routes and destinations for Icelandexpress and Icelandair please click to:
Scandinavian Airlines (SAS) might be a good option for volunteers coming from Northern Europe and the Baltic countries.
Apart from these 3 airlines, there will be few others flying to Iceland during the summer 2012:
a. Lufthansa : www.lufthansa.com
b. Germanwings: www.germanwings.com
c. Air Berlin: www.airberlin.com
d. Air Greenland www.airgreenland.com
e. Transavia France www.transavia.com
f. Delta Airlines: www.delta.com
g. WOW Airlines www.wowair.is (From June 2012)
h. Norwegian www.norwegian.no/ (From June 2012)
i. EasyJet easyjet.com/ (From March 2012)
j. NIKI www.flyniki.com
Volunteers might find good deals and help with connecting flights and general trip planning at:
Last, if volunteers have plenty of time to spare, the Smyril Line operates a ferry service to the east of Iceland. This is a four to seven day sea adventure for travellers and stops off at the Faroe Isles on the way! (www.smyril-line.com)
Flights have a significantly negative impact on environment and increase our "carbon footprint" (more information: www.carbonfootprint.com).
Most of the airlines provide you a chance to pay an extra fee in order to offset your carbon footprint through projects. For example, in Iceland this money supports reforestration projects.
If you have plenty of time to spare, the Smyril Line operates a ferry service from Denmark (Scotland and Norway) to the east of Iceland. This is a four to seven day sea adventure for travellers and stops off at the Faroe Isles on the way (www.smyril-line.com).
There are buses leaving the airport approximately 40 minutes after each flight (in day and night time). So do not be afraid of getting stuck at the airport even if your plane lands late in the night or is delayed.
Most probably you will spend very little money during the workcamps or, if you live more modestly, no money at all. If your workcamp is located in Reykjavik and you like enjoying the night life, it is a good idea to bring some extra money.
Iceland might be quite expensive. However, after the impact of the global crisis in 2008, the local currency (Icelandic króna) dropped significantly. Many prices of basic products and services are similar to those in other Western countries. Some things might be even cheaper (for instance, entrance to swimming pools, phone calls), and others are more expensive (transportation, excursions, alcohol).
To reduce your costs you can choose the Duty Free shops in the airplane or on arrival at the Keflavik airport. If you want to buy some personal stuff you can also try the local budget supermarkets Bónus and Krónan.
You can also buy an Icelandic SIM card for your phone (if it is "unlocked") to reduce your phone bill, this can be bought also in the airplane when flying to Iceland.
We recommend to use our links http://www.seeds.is/links-seeds-iceland-en.html, they will provide you with lots of useful information on many topics about Iceland.