Are you interested in doing a DTS with YWAM but not sure which location is right for you? Here are some important things to keep in mind as you're exploring the options for beginning your missionary adventure!
1. What is God saying?
Before you start planning, take the time to seek God and ask for his blessing over your decision. Don't bypass his direction—you might make your initial choice based on practicality and logistics, but if you feel an inexplicable pull toward a certain base or country, ask God if he is speaking to you and wait for confirmation.
If you have several bases or nations on your heart and you can't decide between them, don't stress. Maybe God is telling you that the choice is yours, and any one of these YWAM bases will help you grow and flourish!
If you're looking to leave your home country for the first time, culture is an important thing to consider. The beauty of a DTS is that you can get out of your comfort zone and head to someplace completely new.
Be adventurous, but keep in mind that some cultures might be harder to adjust to than others. Then again, maybe you're looking to leave behind your more reserved culture for a boisterous and welcoming Latin culture, or vice versa!
Looking to brush up on your high school language skills? Maybe you're heading to Brazil but you don't speak a lick of Portuguese?
No matter your skill level, if you choose to do your DTS in a country that speaks another language, you're going to learn fast!
Don't be afraid to apply for a YWAM DTS in a country that speaks a different language, however, make sure to double check that all of the lectures are bilingual—otherwise you'll be forced to learn the language a whole lot quicker than you thought!
Do you love going to the beach? Is the big city your scene? Or in the middle of the countryside? YWAM bases operate all over the world and in hundreds of different locations.
Find out all you can about the location you are interested in—the climate, activities around the base, cost of transportation, etc. Remember that you'll likely have weekends free, so spend them doing something you enjoy!
Maybe you're the adventurous "I'll eat anything!" person, or maybe you have food allergies and need to keep to a strict routine. Whichever type of person you are, keep in mind that if you go abroad, you might not encounter the same kinds of food.
Research the country or city the base is located in and see what shops, restaurants, and grocery stores are around—this will give you an idea of what is readily available. A tropical place in South America might have an endless supply of tropical fruit, while a country like Germany might serve fresh-baked bread with every meal.
On outreach, there may come a time when you have to eat what the locals eat, and that could be anything from rice and beans to goat meat and quinoa. But hey—it's all part of the adventure, and you won't know if you like it until you try it!
7. Size of the DTS and the base
YWAM bases come in all different sizes. Some bases are large and able to run mega-DTS's every quarter, while others are family-style and keep it down to 15-20 students per school.
For many, this is a crucial deciding factor. You know your personality type, and only you can decide what situation best suits you. Research the bases you are interested in and ask about the typical size of their DTS's. Maybe you are looking for a more intimate school where you can get to know everyone, or maybe you want a bigger pool of new friends to choose from.
Many bases don't announce where a DTS is going on outreach until a few weeks into lecture phase. However, if you're curious, shoot your pending base an email and ask where they've gone in previous years. That might give you an idea of where you'll be heading on outreach.
It's likely that during your lecture phase you will be serving with the ministries on your prospective base, so make sure it's something you're passionate about!
Last but not least, consider the community you are going to be living in. Talk with someone from the base on the phone and ask what the atmosphere is like there.
Is it family-oriented? Are there lots of different nations represented? Is it big and busy or small and intimate? These are all valid questions to consider as you search for the place you'll be spending the next six months of your life!
Hopefully, these suggestions will help you navigate the many different DTS options and find the right base for you. Just remember that wherever you go and no matter which base you choose, God will be there, waiting to meet you.