Volunteer Work in Southamerica

Volunteer Work in Southamerica

Volunteer Work in Latin America



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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Top 10 Things to Bring on Your Volunteer Trip

Volunteers traveling to Latin America will need to bring different things depending on the country and type of work he or she plans on doing. However, there are some general objects that are essential for any trip. Here we describe the top 10 things to bring on your trip to volunteer in Latin America!

Top 10 Things to Bring on Your Volunteer Trip
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Top Tips for Volunteers (Part II)

In continuation of last months ‘Top Tips for Volunteers’, here follows our second installment:

  • Practice your language skills
  • Why not make the most of the opportunity to pick up a new and invaluable life skill – a second language? Even if you only know a few key phrases, do not hold back! The local people will appreciate your efforts and may even teach you some more.

  • Be willing to learn
  • Willingness to learn is an essential trait of any good volunteer. The work you will be doing will be varied and will most likely be something you have never done before. Be ready for a few lessons, and enjoy the journey!

    Top Tips for Volunteers (Part II)
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Having recently completed our Masters in Social Work, Sofie and I decided to leave Belgium to spend four months travelling in South America. After starting in Quito, Ecuador, we travelled down to the beautiful city of Cusco to begin a month of volunteer work. The project we worked on provides care to people living in neglect, suffering from psychological and psychiatric diseases including the treatment of addiction.

During our time here we worked with people with mental disabilities. Our day started at 8.30am and we worked for roughly four hours per day doing a range of activities. We spent a lot of time decorating communal areas such as the dining room and outdoor walls, along with private rooms too. We spent a lot of time drawing things that the residents could then color in themselves, as this was an activity that most of them were able to participate in and really enjoyed doing.

Getting Creative in Cusco – Volunteering in a Psychiatric Home
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So You’re Thinking About Volunteering Abroad?

Volunteer Project in Peru

Volunteers at a local after school program in Cusco, Peru

You want to volunteer abroad but are uncertain of where to begin.  There are so many thoughts and questions.  Where to go?  What type of volunteering? What do I need to bring?  What are some of the challenges? Well, never fear.  You are not alone.  There is a world of information out there for you and volunteerworklatinamerica.org is happy to help you out along this fantastic journey you are about to embark upon.

It is important to think first about your personality, what your goals are and what type of work you want to do while abroad.  Do you speak the local language?  If not, best to start thinking about it as it will only deepen your experience when you can communicate more clearly with the people you will be serving.

I made the decision to volunteer in Peru after I was left with the large impression on my heart that there was more to life than just corporate America.  Not speaking any Spanish, I decided it was best to take some classes first and was so glad that I did.  If you are thinking of volunteering in Cusco, Peru or Buenos Aires, check out www.amautaspanish.com. AMAUTA was a great spot to get me started on what would be the journey of a lifetime.

In deciding what type of volunteer work I wanted to do, it was a great time to really think more thoroughly about who I am.  What skills do I have that I can share?  Do I like to work in larger groups or smaller groups?  Do I have the necessary patience to work with small children or would I work better with adults?  Perhaps, you are interested more in cultural or ecological volunteering.  With so much going on in the world today regarding global warming along with all of us needing to open ourselves up to cultural diversity, there are many projects that offer work in these fields.  Whatever your interest, goals or talents, there is something out there for you.

It is important to think through this as you determine how to make the most out of your volunteer work for both yourself and with those that you will be working with.

Working with volunteer placement organizations helps ensure that everything is in order, all questions are answered and you are never alone should challenges arise.  There can be no regrets if you learn to embrace the world and the people in it all.  I heard a quote once that I think sums all of it up.  “It’s not what the world brings to you, but what you bring to it.”