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Frequently asked questions from volunteers

Would you like to become a volunteer at the Sealcentre? Great! Here, you can read the frequently asked questions from volunteers and everything you need to know before you apply. Didn't find the answer to your question? Then please contact our volunteer coordinator, Vicky Stoneman: We hope to see you soon! 

What requirements do I need to meet to apply?

There are no specific requirements. It may work to your advantage if you have a background in animal care, or experience in a rehabilitation centre. For our department in seal care, it is not often that people already have experience with seals. Even if someone does, they are new to our way of working. Therefore, there is no difference in the training you receive.

Are volunteers/interns paid?

No, all volunteer and internship placements are unpaid.

What is the difference between a volunteer and an intern?

A volunteer comes here on their own initiative, while an intern often comes on assignment from their studies. We make no distinction in the tasks of volunteers or interns. However, the tasks for an intern are adapted to their assignment.

Is there an age restrictions?

Yes, for the seal care department, the minimum age is 18. This is because of the physically and sometimes emotionally demanding work and flexible working hours. There are legal restrictions for minors in what times they can work. Seal care working hours may fall outside this.

How long is the minimum and maximum length of stay?

The minimum length of stay is 8 weeks and the maximum length of stay is 24 weeks.

How many days and hours per week must I be available to work in seal care?

5 days a week, 8 hours a day. As a seal hospital, we need to be flexible because of the number of patients, the severity of illness in those patients and the tasks required in addition to working directly with the patients.

Is accommodation possible? If so, what are the costs and conditions?

Yes, we have our own campus on our premises. You must be at least 18 years old to stay on the campus. We charge 100 euros per week for staying here. This includes all daily meals, water, gas, electricity and a bed in one of the shared rooms. There are 4 bedrooms, 2 shared bathrooms, a washer and dryer and a large living/dining room. There is also Wi-Fi throughout the campus. The campus is open only to accepted and authorised volunteers/interns. Neither visitors nor employees are allowed in this area.

Is it mandatory to stay on campus or can I find my own accommodation?

You are not required to stay on campus. If you can find a place in the area where you can easily travel to and from the Pieterburen, you may do so. In that case, you don't have to pay anything to our centre, but you should remember to bring your own food for break/lunch.

Does the Sealcentre accept people from outside the EU?

Yes, although you should always check the visa requirements of your own country before applying.

Do I need to be able to speak English?

Yes, speaking and understanding the English language is required. We are an international organisation. The official language of our centre is English, this ensures that everyone understands each other and feels welcome. This will be assessed during the job interview.

Is there a possibility to work in multiple departments?

It is possible to work in several departments, such as seal care and in the visitor centre. You can let us know in your application. We can make a combination schedule for a maximum of 2 departments. Example: seal care three days a week and visitor centre two days a week.

I am interested in the internship in veterinary medicine, is this different from the role of seal care nurse?

Yes, you must be a veterinarian or a veterinary student in your final year. There are two positions available and the length of stay is one year, no exceptions. One position usually starts around April and the other around October each year. When the application period is open, advertisements are posted on our website and through our social media, this is usually around June. If you have any questions or would like to be added to the list of those interested, please email:

When is the busiest time of the year in seal care?

There are two busy periods in a year. From December to March we care for common seal lungworm patients and grey seal pups. From June to September, there are common seal pups and injured grey or common seals by fishing nets or litter. The rest of the year we still have patients to care for, but are much less busy. We need fewer volunteers then.

How long after sending my application will I receive a response?

A maximum of 1 week.

How long after an interview (Skype or face to face) will I be told if I have been hired?

A maximum of 1 week.

Can I apply a year in advance?

Yes, there is always an annual plan. There are also dates available for the next annual plan that you can request during your application.

Can I still take my school holidays/weeks (Christmas, Easter etc...) during my volunteering or internship period?

Unfortunately no. We work in a rescue centre and hospital for sick seals. This is a dynamic working environment. Therefore, we need to have people who can constantly provide care at all times. Have you already planned a holiday? Then it's best to request another time in the year to come work with us.

I have a part-time job on weekends, is this a problem?

If you can do this in addition to five days a week, let us know in your application form. You do need to take into account travel times, your own appointments at weekends and, of course, whether this is feasible for you.

A friend and I want to do an internship together, is that possible?

We advise you to do internships separately. It seems exciting, but we often see people staying together and interacting less with the whole group. While this is precisely one of the fun things about this work period! We also find that the learning experience improves when a group just needs to get to know each other.

What should I consider when working around wild sick seals when it comes to health and safety.

It is important to have your own health insurance to cover medical expenses. It is important that you are healthy and in good physical condition. If you have any disabilities or are on medication that may affect your duties, we should be informed in advance. This way, we can see if there are possibilities to create a personal schedule with some adjustments within our working environment.

If you were accidentally bitten by a seal, we need to know about complications. For example, a certain blood disease or antibiotics you should not have, we would like to know your GP's advice.

I cannot come as a volunteer after all. Can I get my money back that I paid for my stay?

Yes. If you cancel 2 weeks or more before the agreed arrival date, you will get a full refund. If you cancel within 2 weeks before arrival, you will receive 80% of the amount paid. If you decide to leave early during your stay, either on your own initiative or because you are sent home, you will receive a 50% refund (except if you have to leave due to the illness or death of a family member, in which case you will receive a full refund).

Haven't found an answer to your question?

If so, please contact our volunteer coordinator, Vicky Stoneman: