South America offers volunteers the opportunity to get involved in many different areas: nature conservation, social work with children and the disabled, teaching in schools and many other areas of activity. After the World Cup in 2016, the Olympics will also come to Brazil, so the country will continue to receive special attention and a stay abroad in the largest country in South America also looks good on your resume. But the small island developing countries in the Caribbean are also exciting destinations for volunteering abroad. And in South America’s scenic and cultural diversity allows volunteers to discover a lot.
Volunteer projects in
5 reasons for volunteering in South America
- Great variety of projects
- Speak and improve Spanish or Portuguese in everyday life
- Visa regulations simplify volunteers-round trips
- Brazil after the 2014 World Cup, again in focus through the Olympics in 2016
- Climatic, scenic and cultural diversity in South America
South America offers a wide variety of volunteer projects
Central America and large parts of South America are dominated by the rainforest and the Amazon, which is why volunteers work here primarily for the protection of species and nature. The great diversity of species makes wildlife projects in South America particularly exciting, so that, for example, volunteer projects with Galapagos turtles are very popular and are a particular highlight of Ecuador. In addition, many social projects also need help with childcare, such as daycare centers, kindergartens, projects with disabled children or street children. Volunteers with teaching experience are in demand in teaching and educational projects and can teach English at primary and secondary schools, for example.
Volunteering in Brazil even after the Soccer-World Cup still in the spotlight
The World Cup is over, but volunteering in Brazil is still interesting in 2015. For example, an internship abroad in economically up-and-coming Brazil improves your CV. And soon the 2016 Summer Olympics will be just around the corner in Rio and will again attract many people to Brazil. Then simply combine the pleasant with the useful and get excited during your voluntary service at Olympia!
Speak Spanish and Portuguese, but also English
A side effect of volunteering that should not be underestimated is learning a different language when dealing with colleagues, host families and new friends. Central and South America are naturally predestined for the improvement of the Spanish-Knowledge, but there are also countries where Portuguese (Brazil) or even English (e.g. Belize or Jamaica) is the official language.
Liberal entry conditions make volunteer tours easy
With very liberal visa regulations (usually the visa is issued directly upon entry without prior application), South America is particularly suitable as a place for a volunteer assignment for participants who are not only interested in one project, but want to combine several. The advantage of flexible volunteering as opposed to regulated voluntary services is particularly important here, because in this case flexible means that the participants can put together the start and end times of the projects in a personal volunteering travel route. So you can get involved in projects in several countries and get to know different cultures. Our tip: ask the sending organizations directly in the contact form whether the arrival and departure dates can be selected and whether different projects can be visited one after the other.
Support small island developing countries through volunteering
Projects in Belize or on the Caribbean islands such as Jamaica or the Bahamas offer volunteers the opportunity to volunteer to help small island developing countries. Since these small countries are struggling with special problems (rising sea levels as a result of global warming, isolated location, etc.), a helping hand is always welcome there. Find out why you shouldn’t feel guilty when you volunteer under palm trees.
Climatic change in volunteering
South America is the continent with the largest north-south extension – from Mexico’s northern border to The southern tip of Chile is around 12000 km – and therefore offers climate zones for every volunteer taste. Last but not least, it also offers the opportunity to escape the cold European winter and instead volunteer during the summer in the southern hemisphere (e.g. in Argentina or Chile). From the rainforests and beaches of the tropical equatorial region – which is why the country of Ecuador has its name by the way – over high mountains and deserts to temperate latitudes, there is something for everyone.
Do volunteering and discover other cultures
Many volunteers use their volunteer work in Latin America to discover their own country and often other countries on their own at the weekend or after the end of the project. The often tough decision, whether it is a hiking trip through the Andes to the impressive Lake Titicaca, a detour to the rainforest and the Amazon or a visit to the numerous Caribbean dream beaches, lies with the volunteer himself Experience a lot and, for example, go on the trail of the ancient cultural peoples, the Maya and Inca, and visit the ruins of Macchu Picchu or enjoy Latin American music. The fiery tango of Argentina, the relaxed reggae music of Jamaica or the salsa dancing, popular all over Latin America: music lovers in South America and the Caribbean definitely get their money’s worth and have the opportunity to relax.
Photos courtesy of Blue Ventures and Manager for People.
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