SALT | Frequently asked questions

When does the SALT term start and end?

SALT runs each year from August to July.

SALT 2023-2024 will be August 15, 2023 – July 13, 2024. Orientation will be August 15 – 23, 2023 and the re-entry retreat is July 8 – 13, 2024.

Orientation and the re-entry retreat are mandatory for all SALTers with costs covered by MCC. You leave for your international placement immediately following orientation. Travel back home to your permanent residence in Canada or the U.S. will immediately follow re-entry.

What does MCC look for in a SALTer?
  • Not an "expert" but ready to lend a hand and learn from others
  • Desire to build healthy cross-cultural relationships and deepen understanding
  • Strong communication and conflict resolution skills
  • Patience, flexibility and willingness to be stretched in new ways
  • Good sense of humour, humility and willing to learn from mistakes
  • Committed to learning a new language and culture
  • Willing to actively participate in a local church community
How much does SALT cost?

There is not program fee for an individual to participate in SALT. Instead, you are asked to try your best to fundraise towards a goal of USD$5,000 for U.S. citizens and CAD$6,000 for Canadian citizens.

To help you reach your goal, we provide a fundraising package with ideas and a template letter you can send to friends, family and other potential supporters. You will also set up an MCC giving registry on our website where people can easily make donations. Fundraising is also a way for you to share with others what you will be doing while with SALT and a way to create a community of support, prayer and encouragement during your term.

If you demonstrate you tried your hardest, use all the tools we provide, but are not able to reach the fundraising goal, you will still be able to participate in SALT. You will receive the same level of MCC support and care regardless of how much you fundraise.

How does MCC determine the fundraising goal?

We try to keep the fundraising goal as low as possible. Each year we calculate the average cost to MCC for a SALT placement from the previous year. We then set the fundraising goal to be less than 50% of this total.

What if I have trouble reaching the fundraising goal?

You will still be able to participate! Fundraising can be intimidating but we do not want the goal to discourage you from doing SALT. We simply ask you to try your best and use all the tools provided. If you feel you may not be able to reach the fundraising goal, be in touch with the SALT coordinator. Together we will figure out a way forward based on your personal situation.

Does MCC cover my expenses?

Yes! During SALT, MCC covers all assignment-related costs including:

  • All basic needs related to assignment (travel to and from assignment, food and household costs, housing, in-country transportation, etc.)
  • Full medical coverage — no co-pay
  • Vacation days
  • Orientation and re-entry retreat costs
  • MCC in-country meetings and retreat costs
  • End-of-term benefits

You will also receive a small monthly stipend for personal items such as clothing, vacations and haircuts and are eligible for assistance with repaying student loans.

You will need to cover costs related to a pre-service medical exam (required), optical/dental exams (optional), passport and visa expenses and any vaccinations relevant for the country you are placed in.

When should I apply?

We begin accepting applications each fall for terms starting the following August. Only those received before February 15 are guaranteed to be considered for a placement in the same year. The earlier we receive your application, the greater your chances of being placed. We start the placement process each January and finish in late May.

How do you decide which assignment I get?

When applying to SALT, you are asked to list your assignment preferences. Once your placement process begins, the SALT coordinator will work with you to help secure an assignment that matches your skills and interests with the expressed needs of a local partner organization.

We send a summary of your application to MCC staff in the relevant countries that may have a possible fit for you. In consultation with the local partner organization, they weigh your skills and interests against other suitable applicants. The partner organizations make the ultimate decision about who to interview and offer their assignment to.

Will MCC cover my educational loan repayments due during SALT?

MCC will help you make educational loan re-payments that are due during your SALT term. You will also receive an additional three months of loan assistance upon the completion of the full SALT term to help you with your transition back home. The amount provided is determined by your loan repayment plan to a maximum of $290 monthly.

Can I receive post-secondary credit for doing SALT?

Yes! SALT is not an accredited program but does have relationships with a handful of post-secondary institutions who offer students credit for participating in SALT. For example, St. Stephen’s University (SSU) offers up to nine credit hours to SALT alumnus who enter their Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of International Studies programs. SSU students who use SALT as intentional mentorship are eligible to receive up to 15 credit hours. If you are an educational institution interested in partnering with SALT, contact us at saltinq@mcc.org.

Can I use SALT for my internship/practicum?

In most cases, SALT can be used to fulfill an internship or practicum requirement of your degree. Before leaving on assignment, you must discuss this in advance with the SALT coordinator to ensure we are able to meet the specific requirements of your educational institution. It is up to you to ensure that SALT meets the requirements of your program before leaving on assignment.

Learn more about using SALT as an internship from Tyler Loewen and Dexter Volkman.

 

What is it like to be a SALTer?

SALT is not about being an expert but going deep in a new culture and building meaningful relationships. It is not for the faint of heart. It’s about taking chances, trying something new, getting messy, learning from mistakes and being challenged. In the process, you will learn a lot of things, and perhaps teach some things. It will be an experience you will remember for a lifetime.

You can find out more about life as a SALTer by checking out the SALT Facebook page where we post current SALTer blogs, photos and stories. You can also read about the experiences of past SALTers in the SALT Yearbook.

Learn more about what it's like to be a SALTer from Chris Klassen who served in Kenya.

 

What policies guide SALTers on assignment?

For more information about SALT policies and procedures, download the complete SALT policies document.