If you have any questions hopefully you can find the answer here. If not, you are welcome to send us an email.

  • Q – Do you have any age requirement? +

    A: You need to be 18 years old. There is no upper limit as long as you are reasonable fit.

  • Q – What is the average age of the participants? +

    A: Students of all ages join our programs, from 18 up till 72. The average ages of our students are between 20 and 35.

  • Q – What is a B-certificate? +

    A: A B-certificate equals a third Bachelor in “Fighting with The Poor”. You study 750 hours and it gives 30 credits with ISET / One World University.

  • Q – How do I fly to St. Vincent? +

    A: Ask for a specific travel guide for your area.

  • Q – How do I get to Richmond Vale Academy from the airport? +

    A: If you arrive early in the daytime you can take a van to the Leeward bus station and from there another Van to Chateaubelair but it is a strenuous trip with your luggage; so for the first time travelling in St. Vincent we advise you to take a taxi.You can ask us to call one of our local taxis to pick you up. It will save you app. 30 USD. The taxi driver will have a “Richmond Vale Academy” sign right outside the airport.
    You can pay the driver with USD or EC dollars, which is the local currency. One USD is 2.71 EC. If you drive with our local Taxi they charge you a set price of 220 EC or 82 USD. Inside the airport there is an ATM where you can use any bankcard or credit card to take out EC dollars.

  • Q – Do I need to apply for a visa before I arrive? +

    A: Upon admittance you will receive an acceptance letter from RVA. You will need to present this letter to customs upon arrival in Saint Vincent. After three months (Europeans except UK citizens) or one month you will fill out a visa extension application which will be provided by the school.

    If you are a citizen of the following 8 countries you must apply for a visa in advance:

    China
    Dominican Republic
    Iran
    Iraq
    Jordan
    Lebanon
    Nigeria
    Syria
    We will support you in obtaining the visa. So far no one has been denied.

  • Q – Should I get travel vaccinations before my travel? Which vaccines are recommended? +

    A: Vaccination recommendations can differ based on where you are traveling from but generally you don’t need any vaccinations to enter St. Vincent and the Grenadines. It is advisable to boost your Tetanus shot.

  • Q – Does the program offer health coverage? +

    A: Richmond Vale Academy does not provide health coverage. Please acquire your own policy before traveling to Saint Vincent. For those traveling to Belize or Ecuador, health coverage is provided for the 5 month service period but not during the time at Richmond Vale Academy.

  • Q – Can I use USD and Euros in St. Vincent and the Grenadines? +

    A: In almost any bigger store you can use USD or Euros – any change will be returned in EC dollars. (East Caribbean dollars).

  • Q – Can I use my credit card or banking debit card from the ATM? +

    A: You can use any banking card to take out EC dollars. On Arrival there is an ATM in the airport – it is advisable to take out 2 to 300 EC dollars, as the nearest ATM from the school is 40 minutes away. In Kingtown there are several ATM’s which all charge a different fee to take out EC dollars.

  • Q – Do you have Internship Positions? +

    A: Yes, Richmond Vale Academy co-operates with several universities. For example students of Environmental Engineering can do 1 to 6 months Climate Compliance Conference as part of their education, and receive credits from their university.

  • Q – What are the frames of the school? +

    A: In order to ensure the best possible conditions for the programs, we have set frames regarding alcohol and drug use while in the program.

    • Nobody who participates in a course can take alcohol while carrying out the program exept for Open Weekends and holiday periods spent away from Richmond Vale Academy.
    • Nobody who participates in a course can be involved with euphoriant or narcotic substances.
    • These two fundamentals apply whether you are at the schol, on investigation, or in Central or Latin American during travel and work periods. In short it applies all the time.
    • Former drug users must have been free from heavy drugs for a minimum of 18 months before the course starts.
  • Q – Are Sundays off? +

    A: Yes but most teams agree on team activities such as hiking the volcano or other nature trails, jump from the cliffs at the Richmond Beach, take a diving certificate, sailing to Falls of Belem, visit families in Chateaubelair, etc.

  • Q – Which holidays will I have off if any? +

    A: The school has no program from the 22nd of December till the 2nd of January. You are welcome to stay on at the school.

  • Q – Are there any breaks during the program? +

    A: Yes, there are 3 Open Weekends during the program from Friday Noon till Monday Noon. The March team has a holiday break in June and the November team from 22nd of December till 2nd of January.

  • Q – Do we have school program during the weekends? +

    A: Yes, there are school activities and classes on Saturdays. Typically Sunday is off. We also have a Building Weekend once a month where everyone work on various projects around the school through the weekend and then the following Monday is off.

  • Q – Can I bring a pet? +

    A: While we do have some animals here at the school, we ask that you do not bring your pet (unless it is a Service Animal).

  • Q – Will I share a room? +

    A: All rooms are double rooms so it is very likely that you will share a room with another person.

  • Q – Do I need to bring anything to furnish my room? +

    A: The rooms are furnished with two twin beds, a desk, shelving space and curtains. Please bring your own sheets and pillow case.

  • Q – What kind of activities can I do during my free time and are there any stores around? +

    A: At Richmond Vale Academy a healthy lifestyle is promoted and offers many opportunities for sport (volleyball, soccer, and diving, swimming, hiking, yoga, dancing, gym). RVA has a library and there is a public library in Kingstown. There are some very basic shops nearby as well as a weekly farmers market.

  • Q – Can I have visitors while I am at the school? +

    A: Yes, but you have to first make an agreement with your team regarding dates, duration of stay, etc. While visitors are welcome it is important that they do not interfere with your studies or your ability to fully participate in the program. There are holiday periods where it might be more suitable to have visitors.

  • Q – I am a vegetarian/vegan. Does the school provide meals that meet these dietary restrictions? +

    A: Yes, every meal will contain vegetarian and/or vegan options based on the needs of everyone here.

  • Q - Do you have Security Rules at RVA? +

    Yes we have - here you go

    1. It is advisable to keep your room locked, hide values from the window. The school has a small safe that can be used.
    2. If you leave Richmond Vale campus notify your teacher or another member of the staff. Tell where you are going, the expected time of return and if possible a phone number for contact.
    3. Do not swim alone. 
    4. Use common sense. Do not carry valuables clearly visible like cameras, iPods, purses or anything that can easily be seen and taken. Be aware of what is going on around you.
    5. Avoid “trouble situations” in the streets such as people arguing, car accidents or people trying to catch a thief.
    6. Do not invite people or guests to RVA without previous agreements. Please communicate who and when, and the timeframe.
    7. When new students and volunteers start at RVA an introduction to all people working at the Academy are done by a tour or a “Farmers Lunch or Common Working Day”. If you see people on the campus, who do not work or live at RVA please notify a teacher.
    8. Students and Volunteers agree with their teacher and team when traveling or spending the night off campus. This includes who are leaving, where to and the timetable.
    9. It is advisable that each team has a list of important information on each student such as full name, DOB, blood type, allergies, important information related to the person and an address and phone numbers of a relative.
    10. Do not walk alone outside the RVA Campus.

     

    Other Advice

    1. Dress appropriately on the campus common areas. There is a lot of “official traffic” in the area such as government officials, employed staff, hikers and other visitors.
    2. Keep you own insurance to protect your valuables such as cameras, iPhones or laptops.
    3. Family or friends from abroad are welcome and they can stay at the Nature and Hiking Center.
    4. If a student wishes to terminate the program, then the person should leave Richmond Vale Academy within 3-5 days. If more days are needed a special agreement has to be made with a teacher.
  • Q – Will my cellphone work while I am at the school? +

    A: This depends on your phone/service but if you bring a phone with a sim card you can obtain an SVG sim card to insert in the phone. Most people at the school are able to use WI-FI on their smart phones

    There are several phone companies, which offer prepaid phones. The school has a phone for local calls and the staff are all equipped with phones to call internationally in case of an emergency.

  • Q – How far away is the nearest town? +

    A: The nearest town, Chateaubelair, is 5.5 kilometers away. This is about a 30 minute walk or a 10 minute drive from the school.

  • Q – Does RVA have a stable Internet connection? +

    A: Yes, RVA has a reliable Internet connection which seldom fails.

  • Q – Is public transportation available? +

    A: Taxi is available any time and public transportation (vans) is very frequent. There are several info booklets and maps at RVA to give you an overview of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

  • Q – Can I get any Tropical diseases while I am there? +

    A: As in any tropical climate there are Mosquitos and flies and these can transmit a number of diseases. Chikungunya, Dengue fever, and Zika are present on the islands. They are not life threatening and have the same symptoms as a flu. Travelers should carry and use insect repellents and mosquito nets. There are mosquito nets available.

  • Q – What if I need medical assistance? +

    A: Several staff have a first aid course. First aid kits are available. The closest village Chateaubelair has a clinic with nurses and a doctor. A doctor is available on call 24/7. There is a Hospital in Kingstown about an hour’s drive away with an ambulance.

    There are clinics for all kinds of ailments in Kingstown, which is 1.5 hours away. The rates are low and the personnel very friendly and accommodating.

  • Q – How do I take care of my personal security? +

    A: RVA has a no drugs and no alcohol policy, which is part of securing the safety of the individual. Besides this there are rules for not hiking or swimming alone. Furthermore RVA has a security guard on the 30-acre premises.

  • Q – Can I get mail and packages sent to me? +

    A: All mail and packages go to the Chateaubelair post office where we pick it up on a regular basis. Regular mail can take up to 2 months to reach you so if you need expedited delivery use DHL or FedEx.

  • Q – Can you recommend a list of books to read about Global Warming and Climate Change? +

  • Q – Can you recommend a list of documentaries to watch about Global Warming and Climate Change? +

    Here is a list of documentaries:
    2011 – the year the earth went wild Six Degrees Disruption
    An Inconvenient Truth
    Chasing Ice
    The Garden
    The Power of Community – Cuba
    Do the Math – from 350.org
    Generic Roulette
    Dude where do you get your proteins?
    The end of poverty? Food Inc.
    The Future of Food
    Hope in a Changing Climate
    When the water ends
    How many people can live on Planet Earth?
    Home
    This Changes Everything BBC
    Planet Earth – David Attenborough BBC – Human Planet – 8 programs of people’s lives in extreme places around the planet
    Planet in Peril
    The 11thhour
    The miracle tree – Moringa
    When the water ends
    Forks over knives
    Hungry for change
    Killer at large
    Human Planet 1-8
    King Corn
    Tales from the hive – bees
    A place at the table
    Addicted to plastic Bello Horizonte Food
    Biofuels think outside the barrel
    Cradle to Cradle RX for survival – examples of low tech solutions Mark Hertsgaard
    HOT – Democracy Now 2012 (droughts and food riots – mobilize next generation – climateparents.org)
    Food Matters
    Global Warming part 1, 2, 3 and 4
    Hope in a changing climate and 17 other documentaries from John Liu under the title “What if we change….”
    The miracle water village (producing healthy soil in time of scarce water)
    Cowspiracy: The Sustainability Secret’

     

    Websites:

    www.350.org
    http://www.climateparents.org/
    www.jameslovelock.org
    www.geofflawton.com– 40 videos on permaculture “Surviving the collapse”
    www.permaculturenews.org Permaculture Research Institute Australia
    www.whatifwechange.org
    www.nationalgeographic.com
    Union of Concerned Scientists http://www.ucsusa.org/
    UCS is an independent nonprofit alliance of more than 100,000 concerned citizens and scientists. They aim to augment rigorous scientific analysis with innovative thinking and committed citizen advocacy to build a cleaner, healthier environment and a safer world.

    GM Watch http://gmwatch.org/
    GMWatch is an independent non-profit making organisation founded in 1998. We seek to counter the enormous corporate political power and propaganda of the biotech industry and its supporters through our website, our lists, our Spinprofiles portal, LobbyWatch, the BanGMFood campaign and our many other outreach and campaigning activities.

    Friends of the Earth http://www.foe.org/
    Friends of the Earth is a network of grassroots groups in 77 countries that defend the environment and champion a more healthy and just world.

  • Q - Does RVA have a Mission Statement? +

    Yes please read.

    Mission Statement

    By educating people from St. Vincent and the rest of the world, Richmond Vale Academy aims to build the capacity, knowledge and confidence in its students. By achieving personal growth and development, future leaders of St. Vincent and of the world will take action for a more just and more sustainable world.

     

  • Q - Can you give a short historical overview of St. Vincent and the Grenadines? +

     St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) consists of 32 islands and cays of which 8 are inhabited and one is a nature resort. St. Vincent is the biggest island with an active Volcano “La Soufrière”. The other islands called the Grenadines are Bequia, Mustique, Canouan, Mayreau, Union, Palm and Petit St. Vincent.

    SVG, also known as ‘Hairoun (a)’, is located to the south of the Caribbean Sea and has a population of 110,000 people. SVG is a small island nation, but its history is quite remarkable and its landscapes are breathtaking.

    The country has had a long history of resistance against European imperial powers. The people of St. Vincent, the Caribs, managed to protect their homeland from French and British settlement for 200 years. They were so vigilant that this territory became the last of the major Caribbean islands to be colonized. During this struggle, African slaves escaping from a Dutch shipwreck and runaway slaves from the surrounding islands were welcomed to settle on the islands. They mixed with the Caribs and are now known as the Black Caribs (Garifuna). In 1719 Britain took control over the country and remained in power until 1979, when SVG gained independence and rights to control its own affairs.

    Read more:

    Discoversvg.com - History

     

    Watch these documentaries on YouTube:

    A Story About the Garifuna Documentary

    Vacation in a Garifuna Community on St. Vincent

    Natural Disasters - What to do?

  • Q - What is the currency in St. Vincent and the Grenadines? +

    The local currency is East Caribbean Dollars or officially XCD. When you arrive it is advisable to take out approx XCD 300.00 as the closest ATM is 1 hour away from RVA. You can also use USD and will then get back in XCD: USD 1.00 = XCD 2.67 approx.

  • Q - How is the Transportation in St. Vincent? +

    The most convenient transportation is the private taxi – rates are XCD 160.00 from RVA to Kingstown, XCD 220.00 to the airport and XCD 230.00 to town, letting the taxi wait while you do errands and return. Taxis are available any time – RVA has an updated list of available taxi drivers. Varying reliability regarding time, but good track record with airport runs.

    The second most convenient is a taxi where you pay for a seat – XCD 10.00 from Chateaubelair or XCD 15.00 from RVA. There are only a few of these leaving from Chateaubelair, but as a team you can book a van to pick you up; here you would agree a special rate.

    The third way is the van, filled to the brim and often with very loud music. Here you pay XCD 6.00. There are plenty of vans leaving from early morning until 3pm and going back as well; when going to town it is best to leave early in the morning having organized pick up with the public system.

    With the last two options you need to agree with the driver to take you to the driveway of RVA. It is usually possible if you pay double, meaning XCD 10.00 more with the private taxi or XCD 6.00 more with the van.

  • Q - What kind of activities are there besides the program? +

    A healthy lifestyle is promoted and offers many opportunities for sport (volleyball, soccer, swimming, hiking, dancing, gym etc).

    You have the opportunity to take a PADI Discover Dive or a PADI Open Water Dive certificate.

    Richmond Beach is 5 mins away from the Academy with plenty of possibilities for snorkelling, swimming and jumping from the cliffs.

  • Q - Is there a Volcano in St. Vincent? +

    There is an active volcano in St Vincent (La Soufrière) that last erupted in 1979. The volcano rises to 4,048 feet or 1234 m. It is the largest of the 3 craters that are present at the summit of the volcano, the other 2, the Somma and the 1812 crater are both presently dormant. Eruptions have generated a series of pyroclastic flows, lahars, ballistic projectiles and ash. The ash generated by the larger eruptions is, in fact, responsible for the yellow cliffs that run along the windward coast of the island.

    Hiking the La Soufrière Volcano is always an amazing experience! If you have some extra energy, once you reach the top, you can go down the crater and experience the silence and beauty inside the crater. In this video, that’s exactly what we do!

    Watch the movie:

    Hiking the La Soufriere Volcano is always an amazing experience!” on Richmond Vale Diving & Hiking Center's YouTube Channel

     

  • Q - What happens in case of an Emergency? +

    All gather in the main hall by the ring of the bell - Everyone is briefed about the situation
    - The meeting does not break up until everyone understands and is in agreement with the instructions and new systems to follow - Anyone not present will be briefed by phone and called back if necessary.

  • Q - What is the postal address of RVA? +

    Richmond Vale, St. David, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, West Indies

    RVA landline phone number: (+1 784) 458 2255

    Google Maps – Richmond Vale Academy

     

  • Q - What is the country dialing code to St. Vincent? +

    The Country Dialing Code is +1784

  • Q - Do you have a list of What to bring and prepare +

    Yes here you go:

    General Health: Please let us know prior to the course if you have any medical conditions, physical limitations or dietary restrictions.

    Personal Care: If you take medicine or vitamins on a regular basis, make sure to bring
    enough for the duration of the program.

    Passport: You need a travel Passport that is valid for 6 months after the end of your stay in St. Vincent.

    For the 12 months Fighting With the Poor Team
    High School Diploma: You need to bring a copy of your high school certificate, accompanied by an official English translation. When applying for a visa for Ecuador or Belize you might be asked to show an official Police Clearance Certificate.

    Visa: Money for visa extensions. After 1 or 3 months, your visa can be extended for 3 months at a time. The price of this is XCD 25.00 (USD 10.00) each time.
    If you are European you will receive 3 months visa on entry (except for British). You will receive a letter to use when passing through the immigration in St. Vincent.

    Clothes and other things – check how much luggage you can bring:

    Bed Sheets and pillow case • Lightweight raincoat • Strong outdoor shoes • Sports clothes • Flip-flops (XCD 20.00 to buy in SVG) • Light long sleeved t-shirts • Thin jacket for chilly nights • Lightweight trousers for working outside • Swimwear and towel • Shorts and tops • Insect repellant and anti-itch cream • Sunscreen • Toiletries • Electric adapter for St. Vincent - a universal will do
    (Normally a British outlet)

    Bring clothes you don’t mind getting dirty and dried out by the sun.

    Optional, but great to bring:

    Musical instruments • Snorkeling gear • Games
    Soccer, hand balls or any other kind of balls – maybe explain your cause and try to get them donated from a sports store
    Yoga mat if you practice yoga or want to start – XCD 34.00 in SVG

    If your luggage should get lost… bring essentials in your cabin luggage. It usually takes up to a week to get it back; but you will need to make some calls to speed up the process.

    St. Vincent is hot, sunny and humid. Therefore it’s best to bring lightweight clothing as
    well as clothing that can protect you from the sun. Long sleeved tops and light trousers
    are advised. The climate also brings mosquitoes and other insects, therefore long sleeves and long pants are advisable to protect against insect bites.

    Life is very sweaty here, so it’s good to have a few changes of clothing with you, as you’ll probably want to change clothes quite often. There are laundry facilities on the premises as well as detergent all included.

    Essentials

    Money and Supplies: You will need some money for personal items such as stamps,
    shampoo, toothpaste, snacks, souvenirs, etc. It is advisable to withdraw money from the ATM in the airport as the nearest ATM is 1 hour’s drive from RVA. You also need to pay for the taxi and they always prefer local Caribbean dollars.

    School Materials: You will need some materials for your studies such as notebooks and pens.

    Garden work: Bring 2 pairs of working gloves.

    Personal Computer: It is advised to bring your laptop as research is made on the computer.

    Most of the daily supplies can be bought in Kingstown, the capital of St. Vincent. However, it takes a one and a half hour’s drive to reach Kingstown so it is advised to bring your items from home for the first month.