When considering being a volunteer at the Sealcentre you might have a lot of questions. We have already answered the most frequently asked questions for you.

What requirements do I need to apply?

There is no specific requirements, although it can be of an advantage for yourself to have a previous background in animal care, experience in a rehabilitation or environmental education centre. As for the Seal Care/Rehabilitation department: It is not often that people have experience with seals, even if someone does, they are new to our way of working so there is no difference to the training procedures.

Are the volunteer/internship positions paid?

Unfortunately not. Being a charity organization means our only means of generating money for the centre is through donations, visitors entry fees and products sold in our gift shop, which is filtered throughout our organizations departments to keep the centre going.

What is the difference between a volunteer and an intern?

There is no difference in the tasks set for volunteers or interns. An intern is someone who comes here for practical work experience as part of their school or university, therefore those persons usually have their own project work to do besides the daily tasks.

Is there any age restrictions?

Yes for the Seal Care/Rehabilitation department, due to the physical demands of the tasks, emotional pressure, the flexible working hours and legal restrictions for under 18yrs, the minimum age requirement is 18 years.

How long is the minimum and maximum length of stay?

The minimum length of stay is 8 weeks, there are no exceptions to this, and a maximum length of stay of 24 weeks.

How many days and hours per week is generally required Seal Care/Rehabilitation?

5 days per week, 8 hours per day. Due to the nature of our work, being a hospital and a rescue centre there is a need of flexibility due to the amount of patients, seriousness of those patients, and tasks required.

Is there housing possibilities? If so what are the costs and conditions?

Yes, firstly you must be 18 years to stay on-site. There is a fee of 100 Euros per week of stay in our on-site Campus, this fee includes all your daily meals, water, gas, electricity used and a reserved bed in one of the shared rooms. There are 4 bedrooms, 2 shared shower and toilet rooms, washing machine and dryer, a large living/dining area, and there is Wifi throughout the Campus. The Campus is strictly for only accepted/authorized volunteers/interns, it is not allowed to have visitors stay on-site under any circumstances. There are B&B’s, a hotel, and a campsite in the village of Pieterburen for visitors to stay in.

Do I have to stay onsite in the Campus or can I choose to find my own housing?

You do not have to stay onsite, if you are able to find a place for yourself in the surrounding area which you can travel to and from the centre easily then you are free to do this. In this case you do not have to pay anything to our centre, but you would need to keep in mind you would have to bring in your own food for break/lunch.

Do you accept persons from outside the EU?

Yes, although you should always check your own countries Visa condition before applying.

Must I be able to speak Dutch?

Although it is beneficial for yourself to speak the native language, our centre is staffed internationally, so likewise is the case for the body of volunteers/interns. As the official language of our centre is English it ensures that everyone understands each other and feels welcome. It is therefore necessary to have a moderate level of speaking, reading and writing skills in English. This would be assessed at the interview stage.

Is there a possibility to work within multiple departments?

Because of an interest in Seal Care and Education with the Visitors Centre for example? Yes, through communicating your interest in your application information, for a max of 2 departments, it can be therefore possible to make a combination schedule. Example: Seal Care 3 days a week and Visitors Centre 2 days per week.

I’m interested in the Veterinary internship, is this different to the Seal Care/Rehabilitation assistants role?

Yes, to start with you must be a veterinarian or a veterinary student in your last years of Veterinary Medicine. There are 2 positions available and the length of stay is 1 year, no exceptions. Usually one position is scheduled to start around April and the other one around October each year, but there can be changes. When the application period is open, advertisements are posted on our website and via our Social Media, this is usually around June. If you have questions or you want to be added to the list of interested people, please write an email to: vet@zeehondencentrum.nl

When is your busiest times of the year in the Seal Care? Are there differences in types of patients at the different times of the year?

The are 2 busy times of the year. From December until March: we have Common (Harbor) seal lungworm parasite patients, and wounded grey seal pups. And again from June until September: wounded Common Seal pups, Common seal pups brought in due to human disturbance issues and wounded Grey/Common seals by fishing nets/trash. The rest of the year we still have patients to care for but the hospital is much less busy. Therefore, we require a smaller amount of volunteers in those times.

How long after sending my application information would I typically receive a response?

Maximum 1 week.

How long after an interview (Skype or Face to Face) would I know if I had been accepted or not?

Maximum 1 week.

Could I apply a year in advance?

Yes, there is always the current year plan plus the following year plan position dates attached to the application information for you to request.

Could I still have my school vacation days/weeks (Christmas, Easter etc..) during my internship time?

Unfortunately no. We are working within a rescue centre and a hospital for sick seals. This is a highly changeable working environment therefore we need to have people consistently in the schedule for the quality of care to be as is needed. If you have prearranged vacations then you must request another time of the year when you are freer to dedicate your time to.

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

If you are able to dedicate still the 5 days a week, Mon-Fri, and you state this on the application information then this can be pre-arranged directly upon being formally accepted. It is more the point that you must consider the travelling times, your own working tasks in the weekend and the tasks set here at the centre, and whether this is realistic for your health/productivitiy in general.

A school friend and I want to intern together, is that possible?

Firstly it is important to apply separately. Secondly, we have seen in the past that persons from the same school/university starting at the same time tend to mostly stick together, not mixing well within the rest of the campus group and sometimes also affecting their quality of work. Typically in this case if 2 friends were to be independently accepted they would be arranged to arrive on different training groups. This gives them a better learning experience and has proved to be better in the social aspects of the campus.

Is there any health and safety points, or issues working around wild sick seals that I should be aware of?

Firstly, it is important to have a good state of health and physical condition. If you have restrictions of any kind or are taking medication that can affect your tasks we must be made aware of this upfront so we can try to see if there are possibilities with some adjustments to make a personalized schedule within our working environment. If you were to be accidently bitten by a seal we would need to know of any possibilities of complications, for example; certain blood condition or antibiotics that you cannot have, as well as advise from your doctor. It is therefore important to have your own insurance to cover any medical costs. Research has shown that people can infect seals with influenza. Therefore it is compulsory when working within the Seal Care Department, between October and March, to be vaccinated against the European type influenza. The vaccination will be effective after 10 days, so if you were accepted then you should be vaccinated at least 10 days before your arrival to the Sealcentre. The vaccine is usually released between October and January, with a limited amount being ordered so the sooner you can have the vaccine the better.

Is there a refund policy for the money I have paid for my stay?

If I have been accepted already, but my plans have changed for some reason is there a refund policy for the money I have paid for my stay? Yes. if you cancel 2 weeks or more prior to your agreed arrival date you will receive a full refund. Cancellation within 2 weeks before arrival you would receive a 80% refund. If you decide to leave earlier during your stay, either self-initiated or you are sent home then you would receive a 50% refund (unless you have to leave due to sickness, or death of a relative, then you would receive a full refund)

Did you not find an answer to your question?

Please contact the Head of the Volunteers, Vicky Stoneman: victoria.stoneman@zeehondencentrum.nl 

Want to know more?

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Volunteers FAQ

Volunteers FAQ

You might have some questions. On the faq page you can already find some answers.