Volunteer Work in Southamerica

Volunteer Work in Southamerica

Volunteer Work 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.
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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.
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My volunteer experience really began before I even started my work. I decided to volunteer in Buenos Aires, Argentina to improve my Spanish and give back to the world. I think that this is something that is very important for everyone, especially young people to do in their lives. I prepared for volunteering at the project by spending some time living in the city of Buenos Aires, Argentina and exploring everything that it has to offer. It is full of food, such as great steak, and culture, such as the famous MALBA Museum. I also prepared by studying Spanish at AMAUTA Spanish School and what I learned was very useful as a volunteer!

My Volunteer Experience with teenage girls in Buenos Aires, Argentina

Now, I have been working for four weeks at an Hogar for girls between 10 and 20. It was very challenging work and I enjoyed it a lot. I would have liked to stay longer. Just when you feel that the girls are starting to trust you it is time to say goodbye. There are about 20 girls living at the hogar for various reasons. Some do not know their parents because they left them behind when they were little and some have parents that cannot or do not want to take care of them. Also, some were abused and some lived on the street before coming to the hogar. There are also some of them who are mentally disabled. A few girls had just arrived and others had been there for several years.

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