Learn and Build Experience: Frequently asked questions

Do I have to have previous Habitat experience to apply?
No previous experience needed! You do have to be a high school student between the ages of 16 and 18 and be motivated to help end poverty housing.

How many students will be chosen for each trip?
Each trip will have 16 participants.

What kind of supervision will there be?
There will be a staff to student ratio no higher than 1:5. Staff members are trained by Habitat for Humanity International and will make sure each student has a safe and enjoyable experience!

What is included in the program fee?
The $550 program fee includes all meals, except for lunch on days of arrival and departure, lodging during the trip, a Learn and Build Experience T-shirt, a donation to the host affiliate and curriculum materials.

I have already participated in a Learn and Build Experience; can I go on another trip?
Yes, you can apply for the Learn and Build Experience alumni trip. Trip dates and locations for 2015 trips will be posted in December. 

Are travel expenses included in the trip cost?
The $550 trip costs do NOT include travel costs, such as airfare, to and from the project location and the participant’s home. The trip cost includes all meals, lodging and a donation to the affiliate. Please note: Lodging will most likely be modest. Some participants will need to bring a sleeping bag.

What if I cannot financially afford to go?
The Learn and Build Experience offers scholarships ranging from full-trip costs to partial trip costs. See “How do I apply?” below for scholarship information. All applicants are encouraged to apply for scholarships, but awards will be given to participants showing financial need. Remember the power of fundraising, too! You can ask people to sponsor you, plan a fundraising event or even collect change from classmates.

Where and when do you build?
Trips will take place between June 22 and Aug. 12. Trips applications have closed for 2014. Trip applications for 2015 will open in December.

Can I pick where I go?
You can rank your preference on your application. While we will do our best to accommodate your preference, we cannot guarantee placement.

How will I get there?
Once you are accepted into the program, you will be notified of the specific airport and times necessary for you to make your travel arrangements. A Habitat for Humanity staff member will be present to greet you at baggage claim and transport you to the host site. Additionally, both staff and students will have LBE shirts to wear so they can easily recognize each other at the airport.

Can I go with a friend?
Unfortunately, we do not accommodate requests for participants to be kept together. The Learn and Build Experience is about traveling to a new place, meeting new people and trying new things. If you are interested in participating in a Habitat trip with an existing group, please visit the Collegiate Challenge page.

How is this trip different from Collegiate Challenge?
Unlike Collegiate Challenge, participants sign up as individuals instead of groups. The Learn and Build Experience is for students who are excited to learn about Habitat’s mission and want the chance to go to an unfamiliar place with unfamiliar people. There is also an educational component to the Learn and Build Experience program that is not built into every Collegiate Challenge trip.

I want to go international. Is that an option?
There will be one international Learn and Build Experience trip in 2014. If you are interested in participating in an international short-term build with Habitat, consider the Global Village program.

I am from outside of the United States. Can I participate?
Yes! We welcome a diverse group of students and staff to be a part of LBE.

Do the words “educational activities” and “educational component” mean I’ll be taking exams?
No worries! We will not be testing your housing knowledge – or any knowledge during your trip. Education activities are meant to teach participants about local poverty housing needs through events such as tours of poverty-stricken areas, listening to a Habitat homeowner’s story or participating in team building and community service. Each affiliate offers a new perspective based on local needs and area poverty.

It says on the application that cell phone usage is strongly discouraged. What if I can’t live without my cell phone for a week?
Cell phones can be used for quick calls to check in at home, but nonessential chatting or texting will not be permitted. Cell phones, MP3players and tablets will not be allowed on the build site due to safety concerns.

What if I am 15 now but will be 16 before the trip?
You may apply for the trip as long as you turn 16 before the start of your trip.

I’m ready to go! How do I apply?
Applications for the 2014 Learn and Build Experience are open through Feb. 28. Those chosen to move forward in the selection process will be asked to complete a second application that includes scholarship information and scheduling a phone interview. All applicants will be notified by April 1 of his or her application status. Contact us at learnandbuild@habitat.org.

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