Voluntary work in Latin America
A lot of students and travellers alike have found that they can be very useful in another country by helping out in local Voluntary Projects. You do not have to know a specific trade or have certain diplomas, if you’re willing to help in schools, nature projects, day care, homes for the elderly etcetera, then there is always a project for you.
Your help is very much needed all over Latin America.
Depending on the amount of time you will be studying and travelling you can either start Voluntary Work after you have finished the Spanish Course or sometimes you can even work part-time during your Spanish Course.
A lot of people want to have the Voluntary Work organised before hand from your home country. This is possible but this often leads to disappointment and unnecessary high costs. It is much easier to see what the different options are once you are in Latin America and then decide what you would like to do.
Unlike some other organisations, we do not make a profit out of helping you find good Voluntary Work. We just want to pass on our information to everyone who wants to help out in a social or environmental project in Latin America. One requirement is that you first study a minimum of two weeks of Spanish in one of our schools. The Spanish Language School is the main source for all the actual information on the different projects.
When you study Spanish in one of the schools in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Peru Argentina or Chile you will find that these schools have a voluntary work coordinator.
During your classes you can discuss the various possibilities of the projects, and then decide which suits your abilities and wishes best. Often you can visit with the coordinator various projects to make the best choice for you. There are a few schools where you can study Spanish and at the same time work as a volunteer provided that your level of Spanish is sufficient for the type of work. You will have half days of classes and work half days or just a few hours a week. This is possible in Pedro Moncayo (Ecuador), Buenos Aires (Argentina), Antigua (Guatemala), and Arequipa (Peru).
The minimum time required is usually one month but sometimes an availability of 3 or 6 months is requested. The part time projects can be done for shorter periods of time on request.
Keep in mind that most public schools and some projects are closed during long school holidays, in Latin America this will usually be from half December till half January.
If you would like to work with people in a social project your level of Spanish should be fitting. When you whish to work in forestry your level of Spanish will be a little less important and often you can work in these projects for a shorter period. Be aware that in most cases the accompaniment will be very minimal; a Latin-American worker won't give you assignments; often you will have to initiate the work yourself.
Most of the time food and lodging aren't provided but a simple solution can be to stay with your guest-family after Spanish classes where the costs of living and food will be $ 60 -
$ 100 per week (Guatemala - Ecuador). In bigger projects, with more foreign voluntary workers, it often happens that the foreigners rent a house and cook together to keep the costs of living as low as possible.
Normally all volunteer programs ask for a contributory payment. This payment in the case of children's organizations will help them to buy teaching or didactical material and in case of environmental organisations it will help them to cover the costs of their programs, from volunteer food and accommodation, to resources for development projects.
Some organizations ask for an application payment of around $ 35. Volunteer payments run from about $ 70, depending on what is included. The school or project will always tell you before you begin what the exct costs and requirements are to participate.
Just to give you an idea of possible voluntary projects we know of in a few countries you can take a look under the specific countries . The schools in these countries will be very happy to help you to make your best choice!