WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT VOLUNTEERING ABROAD

 
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Have you ever wondered what it would be like to attend Oktoberfest…or how to become a volunteer at Oktoberfest? If so, today is your lucky day. I had the chance to chat with a Stoke Travel Volunteer to discuss what it’s like working at some of the largest festivals/events around the globe. Here’s what she had to say:

Tell me about yourself. how did you get into working festivals abroad?

I'm Hannah. I'm a Chicagoan and attorney with my own practice; a community advocate, food tour guide, and now I'm a Festival Fairy.  I went to law school in Cincinnati where I was introduced to the local "Zinzinnati" Oktoberfest. I loved it, and decided it was time to hit the big leagues in Munich. I'm a natural cheap-ass, so I scoured the internet for ways to experience Oktoberfest for the cheapest way possible and found Stoke Travel. 

After going as a guest with Stoke Travel for Oktoberfest in September 2017, I fell in LOVE with the environment and festivities. I asked Stokies (Stoke travel staff and volunteers) how they got their jobs. They told me how to apply, and I, with all the thirst in the world, applied as soon as I got back to America. 

If my followers wanted to volunteer at the festival(s), how could they sign up? and is there a long interview process? 

The process is a bit competitive. Applications are taken in November/December. By March, folks know whether they'll be working the season. Preference is given to folks with more availability and able to work from Springfest (similar to Oktoberfest, but in the spring) through Oktoberfest. Throughout the year there may be another call for more folks to come. You can send your info provided on their social media blasts (Facebook, Twitter, and Email Listserver).

Tell me about the upcoming SpringFest event.  Where is it held and how long is it?

Like Oktoberfest, Frühlingsfest (Springfest), is a massive beer festival held in Munich with delicious local brews, served only in one liter glass mugs called steins. There are over 30 different beer tent. Each tent is a different brew company. Guest can dance to local music, booze with strangers, and have the time of their lives. The biggest differences from Oktoberfest:

  1. Brews at some of the beer halls are only available in the Fall.

  2. The weather tends to be much nicer in Spring than in Fall.

  3. It's way less crowded. About one million guests come for Springfest; whereas Oktoberfest sees about 6million.

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How many festivals do you attend per year?

As many as humanly possible. Last year I went to and/or worked with Running with the Bulls, Stoked in the Park in Pamplona, Spain; San Vino wine fight in Haro, Spain; BBK Music Festival in Bilbao, Spain; and Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany.  Regrettably, I missed some opportunities to go to the Barcelona boat parties and the Ibiza Beach Camp, but I'm planning to make my rounds.

What's your favorite part about the festivals? 

The unique environment. Interacting with people from all over the world, while partying your face off, and ticking off a bucket list festival. It's nothing I would have ever dreamed existed. 

Do you receive any form of payment/compensation for working these events? 

When you "work" festivals, you are compensated with what guests pay for. That includes beer, sangrias, lodging, food, and parties. Sometimes folks are needed for paid roles (like translation or promotion). Otherwise, we only get paid for folks using our promo codes to book.

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When guests sign up for these events, where do they stay? Do they have to find their own accommodations or is that provided in the price of their ticket? Are food and drinks included, too? 

They stay with Stoke! For these festivals, Stoke sets up at a campsite near the major events. There are tents and teepees for guests. Depending on the festival, the booking may include: tent, meals, beer, and sangrias. The beer and sangrias are unlimited at no additional cost, if you use my promo code: HJB.


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Would love to learn more about your day to day as a volunteer? Are you helping people sign in or do you help pass out drinks/food to guests? Does it vary day to day or are you assign a specific task for the week of the festival?

We get in weeks before guests do to help set up everything. Tents, stages, kitchen areas, lounge areas, etc. After that point, we are assigned a role which pretty much stays the same the whole festival. You could work at the bar, register folks to make sure they get the tent or teepee they booked, or any other positions to keep things running. 

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I took a look at the link in your bio and I came across something called the Stoke Travel Passport. Could you tell me a little more about it? What is it and how does it work?

The Stoke Travel Passport is a way to get the most bang for your buck. For a one time flat cost ($620), guests receive four trips for the price of three. For example, someone with a passport could attend all of the events I took with Stoke for one flat rate.

  • Running with the Bulls

  • San Vino Wine Festival

  • BBK Live Music Festival

  • Oktoberfest

Each trip includes a three night stay at a camp and all the other fun shenanigans that come with the Stoke experience. You can book as late as one week in advance which is great for folks who are traveling around but a bit indecisive. 

Any special perks for guests when using your promo code? If so, what are they?

Free, bottomless booze with my promo code! Otherwise it costs to add it on to your booking(s).

What's your promo code? (Pease provide the affiliate links for the events you'll be volunteering at). 

My promo code is: HJB. Spread it far and wide - use it for everything lol. 
I haven't confirmed yet where I'll be, but I want to suggest:

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If you don’t think you’ll find yourself in Germany this year:

Anything else you would like to add? 

The travel culture is massively different outside of the U.S. In other parts of the world, travel isn't something that seems exclusively for the wealthy— it's for anyone who wants to see the world.  I think that can be the case for Americans too, if we change how we look at travel. I understand everyone doesn’t have the opportunities to own their own business, work remotely or have the financial ability to travel. However, if you can take a week off work and set aside a couple thousand dollars to attend Coachella, or Art Basel in Miami, or go to Vegas for a weekend; you can save up to travel internationally. I want us to explore other options and see other things outside of the U.S., and Stoke is a very affordable way to do it.  I can't scream it loud enough: I HAD THE TIME OF MY LIFE. I really just wish more people would take advantage of it. 

Another thing I forgot to mention is that a percentage of the profits goes to charitable organizations (primarily refugee efforts). I strongly believe that 90 percent of voluntourism is horrific.  It's created with the intent of making Westerners feel good about themselves, without actually doing good for the communities at issue. However, Stoke Travel does an AMAZING job of finding great charities that are created, founded, and led BY the groups in need (in most recent years, refugee efforts in Greece) and specifically providing physical assistance, clothing donations, and financial donations in the ways that refugees indicated they needed them.  It is noble, and incredible, and not an easy thing to do. So ALL that partying, and ALL that booze is for a great cause. When I found that out, I was super sold. 


If you have additional questions for Hannah, please reach out to her on Instagram: @hjaybee