Volunteer Work in Southamerica

Volunteer Work in Southamerica

Volunteer Work in Latin America



Becoming a volunteer in South America is an exciting and rewarding experience that will change your life. Prepare before you travel by researching each of the Latin American countries that you are interested in doing volunteer work in. Some specialize in certain types of volunteer jobs more so than others so it is important to be informed.

I visited Ecuador for the first time in 2011, while vacationing with a friend, and from the moment I stepped out of the plane I fell in love this this amazing country.  Ecuador is full of happy people who enjoy a life without luxury.  I toured a majority of the country, getting to know the different customs of the coast, mountains, and jungle.  We made such a strong connection to the country that in 2012 we decided to return and acquaint ourselves with the places we hadn´t visited yet. 

When I got back from my trip, I realized that the country needed many things that that I could help contribute! I began looking to volunteer and stumbled upon the web page for VOLUNTEERWORK LATINAMERICA. They organize volunteer placements in Latin America and have amazing opportunities such as volunteer projects in Peru, work holidays in Chile and volunteer projects in Argentina and other countries such as Ecuador.

Report of Volunteering in Hospital for Kids in Quito Ecuador

As a nursing student, I liked the looks of the volunteer work in el Hospital Pediátrico Baca Ortiz in Quito, and I chose that volunteer project in Ecuador because I felt I had the necessary tools available to help to support children who have to spend a long time in the hospital away from their families, feeling alone, scared, and in pain.   It was hard to watch the children suffer alone because their parents were unable to visit them because they had to work or stay home to care for their other children.  This time I came alone for 3 months, and I worked at this project Monday thru Friday for a month and a half. 

Read the rest of this page

Bookmark and Share

Volunteer in Medellin Colombia, the most innovative city in the world!

Medellin, the second biggest city in Colombia, has recently been named the “most innovative city” in the world, beating New York and Tel Aviv in the running. The Urban Land Institute said Medellin had seen one of the most dramatically urban transformations in modern history, praising its environmental policies and network of public parks and libraries, museums, schools and efficient metro and cable car system, allowing people from the poorer hillside neighborhoods to easily access the city center.

Volunteer in Medellin Colombia, the most innovative city in the world!

Medellin, which used to have the reputation as the most violent city when it was in the grips of Pablo Escobar’s drug cartel, is effectively rehabilitating its image since the dark 90’s. These days, the city is a fantastic place to visit and as safe and cosmopolitan as the rest of Latin American’s major cities. Of course, like any big city, there are parts that you’d rather avoid, and it’s generally advised to use your common sense and keep a low profile, i.e. not flaunting expensive jewelry or electronic gadgets when out and about.

Read the rest of this page

Bookmark and Share

One language, different ways of celebrating Christmas in Latin America

Christmas in Latin America known as Navidad is one of the most important events in the year. It is celebrated with even more devotion than in other parts of the world due to the omnipresence of Christianity; after all, Christmas is centered around the age-old story of Jesus’ birth on the 24th of December.

For most Latinos it is very much a religious holiday with families attending together the Misa de Gallo (Mass of the Rooster because it usually finishes at 1 am when the rooster announces the coming day). Christmas Eve or Noche Buena really is the time of giving, but many Latin American families also keep alive the Día de los Tres Reyes. Those children who have behaved themselves well will receive a second round of presents on January 6th from the Three Wise Men, just like they did after Jesus was born.

Besides all the similarities, there is great influence from the different indigenous people of the region and many Latin American cultures hang on to their own curiosities during Christmas time:

celebrating Christmas in Latin America

Chile
In Chile they do a toast with a monkey’s tail. Not what you might think, but the cola de mono is a traditional Christmas cocktail made with milk, coffee, sugar, cinnamon and brandy.  Father Christmas is known as Viejito Pascuero who wishes everyone a Feliz Navidad. And at New Year’s Eve they have the habit to burn huge dolls made out of old clothes, paper and wood with the fire supposedly eradicating all the bad and purifying the start of the New Year.
Read the rest of this page

Bookmark and Share

Volunteer in Bolivia at a children’s center (Interview part I)

How could you learn Spanish in South America while discovering places and cultures and also doing something useful? It’s a question many of our volunteers initially have asked themselves before they started to plan their trip.

Working as a volunteer in Bolivia is for many the perfect answer. Volunteer Work Latin America arranges placements at an integrated child care center in a beautiful semi-rural valley surrounded by the red and green Andean mountains at only 15 km. from La Paz, capital of Bolivia.

The center, or “the Nursery” as Emma (one of the humble founders of the project) affectionately calls it, has caused a tremendous impact on the largely indigenous population, pulling them out of very vulnerable situations and social, economic and political exclusion. We have asked her a few questions about the project and the involvement of volunteers.

Volunteer in Bolivia at a children’s center (Interview part I)

Can you explain your role in the organization?
The children’s Centre started in my home with 30 children. We now have a lovely purpose built children center with just under 90 children, between the ages of 6 months and 4 years that come to learn, to play and to be nurtured. Whilst I was very involved in the first two years raising and managing the project, the Centre is now run entirely by local women, many of them indigenous Aymara who wear the traditional bowler hats and wide skirts. My role is now mainly concerned with fundraising to ensure the sustainability of the project and coordinating the work of the volunteers to provide vital hands-on support in the classrooms and for the care of the children.

Read the rest of this page

Bookmark and Share

Volunteer in Bolivia at a children’s center (Interview part II)

In continuation of the first part of the interview with the founder of the childcare centre in Bolivia we continue the interview with more questions:

Briefly, what is your overall experience with volunteers?
We are constantly moved and inspired by the people who come to volunteer with us and share so freely their talents and time. The first week can often be overwhelming as hardly anyone speaks English and the children are all clamoring for your attention. But from experience we know that by the end of the second week, our volunteers feel very at home in the nursery and understand the routines and activities and realize that they are really being helpful. We recommend a minimum stay of 1 month, as too much change can unsettle the children and also the local staff. Actually, many of our volunteers choose to extend their stay as they see the true benefits of their presence in the nursery and for their study Spanish in Bolivia.

Volunteer in Bolivia at a children’s center (Interview part II)
Read the rest of this page

Bookmark and Share

Preparation Tips for Volunteering in Latin America

To volunteer in Latin America you can really contribute and give something back to the local communities where you are travelling. It does, however, require a lot of effort and dedication on your side. The following tips will go a long way to ensuring that you are well prepared for your time in Latin America:

  • Learn some Spanish! Either study a bit before you come or take classes when you arrive. The ability to communicate with others is indispensable, wherever you are volunteering. This, along with a bit of country research, pays dividends as you will feel settled-in much faster. We can arrange for online Spanish lessons over Skype with some of most established Spanish Schools in South America. The teachers, from either Peru or Argentina, will be able to teach you some important verbs in a very intuitive manner and meanwhile you can get used to the accent!
  • Preparation Tips for Volunteering in Latin America

  • Keep in mind the reasons for volunteering; there may be times where things get a bit too much and have your reasons set clear will help you when you’re feeling low.
  • Read the rest of this page

Bookmark and Share

If you are particularly interested in culture and history as well as supporting the local population, than our volunteer project in Cajamarca is your destiny. The Cajamarca district, located in the northern highlands of Peru, is one of the poorest in Peru. It is here where Volunteer Work Latin America has been arranging volunteer placements at a nutritional and educational center for underprivileged children.

Thanks to the help of our volunteers, 40 children living in extreme poverty now have a chance to enjoy recreational activities and get help with their homework, as well as receive a warm meal, medical attention and counseling to which they otherwise never would have access to. Volunteers are also invited to participate and organize weekend trips, fundraisers and family workshops.

In the two months that you live and volunteer in Peru at this social volunteer project you will get acquainted with an exceptionally friendly and noble culture. The following video gives you an impression of what life is like at the center:




Read the rest of this page

Bookmark and Share

Spotlight: Quito, Ecuador’s city of eternal spring!

Quito is a true marvel set between beautiful pacific beaches and the flanks of the snowcapped Andean mountains, looked upon by the volcano Pichincha. Due to its close proximity to the equator it is blessed with a perfect spring like climate of around 20 °C year-round.

At 2,850 meters altitude the city is referred to as the crown of the Andes, not only because it is the highest capital in the world but also due to its rich colonial heritage. An endless number of monuments, manor houses and religious abbeys filled with sparkling golden altars take up a big part of the best preserved old city center of Latin America, with the snow white cathedral on the plaza Grande as its majestic flagship.

Spotlight: Quito, Ecuador's city of eternal spring!
Read the rest of this page

Bookmark and Share

Spanish & Volunteer in Peru: full immersion!

The "Spanish + Volunteer combo" provides you the unique opportunity to experience first-hand the rich cultural diversity of Peru, while developing your Spanish skills. If you want to truly enjoy your time in Cusco while integrating into Latin American culture, than this is the ideal program for you!

The Spanish language course consists of 20 lesson hours per week and is held in a group environment and based on a total immersion model with a lot of practical fieldtrips. The native teachers focus on quickly teaching you the necessary vocabulary and conversational skills enabling you to communicate while volunteering, even if you arrive as a complete beginner. You may also decide to study Spanish for a week in one of the other locations offered by the language institute, in the beautiful and peaceful Sacred Valley of the Incas or the sensational Tambopata Reserve part of the Amazon jungle.

Spanish & Volunteer in Peru: full immersion!
Read the rest of this page

Bookmark and Share

Country Spotlight: Honduras, a natural paradise!

Honduras is blessed with some of Mother Nature’s most pristine environments in all Central America. Famous for its lush jungle lands, breathtaking mountains, challenging rivers and ‘claro’… its awe-inspiring Caribbean coast.

Country Spotlight: Honduras, a natural paradise!

While enjoying the turquoise waters stretching as far as the eye can see, it’s an absolute must to hop over to the close by Bay Islands. A true diver’s paradise, with the world’s second largest living coral reef surrounding the isles of Roatan, Utila and Guanaja, it also offers superb snorkeling, kayaking and excellent lazing on palm beaches with sand white as a snow!

Read the rest of this page

Bookmark and Share