Volunteer Work in Chile
- Program Information
- Combi Program
Explore the world while showing social commitment! By participating in volunteer work abroad, you will broaden your horizons, contribute to global understanding among cultures, and put your energy into action where it's most needed.
The best way to get to know a foreign country, its language, its people, its culture and, above all, the problems that each country struggles with, is to live there for a while and become part of society. By participating in one of our meaningful volunteer projects in Chile, you can be sure that you know Chile well off the beaten tourist track and will certainly love it.
Our volunteer projects in Chile take place in collaboration with social institutions and non-profit organizations throughout the country. In most cases, you work directly with the target audience and take on tasks such as looking after and caring for disadvanteged children, the disabled or the elderly, the homeless, or you get involved in environmental protection or animal welfare.
Not only will the people benefit from your volunteer service in Chile, but you will too! Volunteering abroad proves that you are adaptable, cosmopolitan, tolerant and socially engaged - a great asset in every resumé! Don’t underestimated the Spanish skills, that you will acquire while volunteering in Chile, which makes you even more interesting to future employers. This is particularly valuable since Spanish is one of the three most important (business) languages in the world, with an upward trend due to growing economic relations of industrialized countries with Latin America.
Chile Inside is your first choice when it comes to stays abroad in Chile. For nearly two decades, we have been successfully organizing volunteer projects in Chile, across the country, in a variety of fields.
The following volunteer projects are available:
Part-Time Volunteering + Spanish Course:
In addition to full-time volunteer positions, we also offer the opportunity to volunteer half-day in combination with a Spanish course. This is a great option for those with little Spanish skills and a limited amount of time. This special designed Service Learning program is a very intensive form of cultural immersion, so you can practice your newly acquired Spanish language skills directly during the volunteer work while getting to know more about local culture.
The volunteer work takes place on between 2 and 4 afternoons per week, while you will have Spanish lessons in the morning. Our half-day volunteer projects can already be booked from a participation period of only 2 weeks. Thus, the Service Learning program is also very well suited for short-term volunteering, and for people who have little time and would like to give back to society and to get involved in volunteer projects abroad.
Please note that short term volunteering of only 2 weeks is only available in projects where a short assignment also makes sense. Volunteer work in animal shelters or rescue centers, for example, are appropiate options. Likewise projects with little direct relation to humans / children can be considered for this type of volunteering. On the other side, social projects really should help people. So, for this reason, we at Chile Inside require a participation period of at least 4 weeks for all assignments in the social sector, especially for children's projects.
Service Learning in combination with a Spanish Course is available in the following locations:
Who can do Volunteer Work abroad?
Anyone between the ages of 18 and 70 who wants to live abroad for a while and engage in social activities can take part in volunteer work in Chile. We place volunteers from all over the world in the most diverse organizations in Chile. Previous knowledge is not required, as voluntary work primarily depends on the so-called "soft skills". It is important that you are interested, tolerant and open-minded towards other cultures and life conditions. A good dose of patience and understanding is also essential for volunteering abroad as you will encounter people and situations that require a high level of empathy.
What is the minimum duration to do Volunteer Work in Chile?
Volunteering in Chile requieres a minimum stay of 4 weeks. An exception is the volunteer work in the animal shelters, which are available for a period of 2 weeks. Part-time volunteer jobs are available in combination with a Spanish course in Chile and can be booked for a minimum of 2 weeks as well. The maximum participation time in all cases is 6 months.
When do I need to submit my application to Chile Inside?
We need between 2 and 8 weeks to organize a voluntary work that matches the criteria stated in the application documents. Please send us your application documents between 2 to 8 months before your desired start date. This gives us enough time to get you a placement that suits your preferences.
What happens after submitting the application?
Upon receipt of your complete application documents and the payment of the registration fee, we will create your internal application profile in Spanish. We use this profile to introduce you to volunteer positions that are within your area of interest. The placement process takes between 2 and 8 weeks. Once a volunteer position is confirmed, we will send you the program offer. If you want to accept the job, we will process your booking. We will send you the booking documents and the payment of the program costs will become due.
More information can be found here: Application process
When do I have to pay the program costs?
The program costs have to be paid when you accept the volunteer position that we have organized for you and once you want to book your volunteer work in Chile.
Which language skills are required?
You should have a medium level of Spanish. Especially with volunteer projects, communication is very important so that both you and the people you work with in the project can benefit from your stay. Having said that, you should be able to understand children, the disabled or old people (depending on the project) as well as your colleagues after a short adaption period. If you do not feel confident enough in terms of language, we will gladly book the appropriate language course in Chile for you. Volunteer projects involving in animal welfare or environmental protection, volunteers generally get along well with lower Spanish levels.
What are the working hours?
Your working hours not only depend on the project but also on your personal commitment. We organize both full-time (between 30 and 40 hours per week) and half-day jobs. Most volunteer institutions or organizations are very grateful for the help of foreign volunteers and respect their wishes as long as the personnel structure and the institution‘s rules allow for this.
Do I have an obligation towards my host institution/organization?
We organize all volunteer work projects in Chile thoroughly and diligently. Likewise, the host institutions go to great lengths to welcome their voluntary helpers and to provide a work introduction. Therefore, it is important that you are aware of your responsibilities. The main objective of doing voluntary work is to help others (people or animals). Working hours as well as work rules need to be respected and tasks should be completed properly. Also, the requested time of stay should be completed to avoid complications in the institution’s personnel planning. Particularly in projects which involve children it can be very sad for the little ones if volunteers suddenly don’t show up anymore.
What are my tasks?
The tasks are very different and depend on your placement. A description of each project can be found on our website. When volunteering with children, of course, everything revolves around the welfare of the little ones. Activities such as playing, crafting, dancing, playing music, doing sports or looking after and supervising children / adolescents are usually part of the daily routine. If you work in a retirement home or homeless shelter, then the tasks include the care, assistance and entertainment of the residents. For animal projects it is important that you have a big heart for animals and do not be afraid to work hands-on. Many animals in our projects have experienced traumas and just need some petting and attention. In environmental projects, you will work outdoor, surrounded by beautiful nature that needs to be preserved. This can involve physically hard work.
What kind of insurance do I need for my stay abroad?
To participate in a stay abroad in Chile you need at least a travel health insurance, so you are protected in case of illness or accident. You can take the insurance directly through us, at a reasonable cost with flexible supplementary insurances.
More information about our travel insurances can be found here: Travel Health Insurance
Will I be picked up at the airport?
If you book Volunteer Work Premium, we will arrange your airport pick up and the costs are included. From the airport you will be taken directly to your destination in Santiago. This may be your accommodation, our office or the bus station for the onward journey to the location of your volunteer project.
What do I do if I have any problems?
In the unlikely event that problems occur during your stay in Chile, we are always available for you. No matter if the problems are related to your volunteer work or if they are of a different nature, we are happy to assist you. With the booking confirmation you will receive our 24-hour emergency number, so that we can get in touch with us outside our business hours in case of an emergency.
Where will I live?
Participants in our volunteer programs have the opportunity to book accommodation in Chilean homestays. Homestays are furnished rooms in private homes where one or more rooms are rented. There are always single rooms with access to the Internet available (double rooms are available on special request). Half-board can be added upon request. (Note: the accommodation placement is only included in Volunteer Work Premium.) Volunteers who choose our Volunteer Work Basic program, have to arrange their own accommodation.)
For some volunteer projects, especially those outside the major cities such as Santiago de Chile, Valparaíso and Viña del Mar, the volunteers usually live in guest houses or volunteer houses. This type of accommodation is then an integral part of the volunteer program and the costs are included.
Will I have access to the Internet at my accommodation?
Chile, especially the capital Santiago, is modern and has a good infrastructure. Internet access (WIFI in most cases) is part of the standard equipment in our accommodations. Exceptions are some volunteer projects that are located in remote areas (e.g. Patagonia, rural areas).
Do I need a work visa to do volunteer work in Chile?
The tourist card (tarjeta de turismo), that you receive when you enter Chile, allows you to do unpaid work. The tourist card is granted for a period of 90 days. This period can be extended locally. Get in touch with us if you need further information regarding visa requirements.
Why should I pay to volunteer abroad?
We understand that it may seem strange to pay a fee to do Volunteer work abroad. We're sure that you'll get a better understanding of it by reading the following statement: Chile Inside is a privately owned agency that provides services to foreigners in Chile. Our services and advice involves costs for office maintenance, administration, saleries, websites, taxes, etc. With the program costs you pay for our services and, if applicable, for you accommodation and meals in the Volunteer project. Chile Inside assures you a regular evaluation and supervision of our volunteer projects. We make sure that the volunteer projects work well, are well structured and safe and that they provide an interesting work environment for our volunteers. As soon as you get in contact with us, you will see that we take care of each participant in a friendly and diligent manner, taking a lot of time for each request and respond individually to each of our participants.
Before you start your journey, you will receive a detailed booking confirmation with helpful pre-departure information. We invest a lot of time, effort and work to keep our extensive website up to date and maintain long-term and fair relationships with our program places.
Of course it is also possible to organize voluntary work abroad on your own. The search for trustworthy and appropriate volunteer projects is very time-consuming, but very important, before embarking on the long journey to the other side of the earth. Keep in mind, too, that unexpected problems might arise. Chile Inside is always there for you and will not let you down!
Volunteering abroad in South America
Volunteering abroad is becoming increasingly popular and important. Many would like to experience something new, exciting, different; some want to push up their curriculum vitae and others want to take some time off to find themselves and define their paths for the future.
Your stay abroad must be well planned and prepared so that it leads to the desired success. At Chile Inside, we want to help you answer all your questions so that you can make the right decisions which pave your way overseas.
As our company name says, Chile is our specialty - here we are at home, here we we work, here know our way around best. We communicate daily in the local language, we live and work in the middle of the local culture with its customs, peculiarities and sometimes pitfalls ...
Many years of experience in youth travel and exchange programs like Volunteering, Internships, Working Holiday, Au Pair, Farm Stay and Spanish Courses in Chile are incorporated in the following guide. If you have further uestions, we are happy to be there for you. Contact us at any time!
Why do volunteer work abroad?
Travel expenses, work for free and pay for accommodation? That does not sound like a good deal. And yet, there are really good reasons to opt for volunteer work abroad. Here we inform you about the many benefits, and you will see that the costs and efforts are worthwhile!
Stay abroad as a recipe for success
You can also see the world as a tourist, but as such, you will never get the insights you get as a volunteer. Working with the locals side by side in another country is a priceless experience that opens up new horizons, changes your perspective and contributes to personal development. From a stay abroad, you will benefit all your life - private and professional! HR managers appreciate this. Meanwhile, stays abroad are required for many jobs - not only in upper management - because a stay abroad trains like almost no other the famous "soft skills", which today are almost as important as expertise. Applicants are expected a lot today: one should be proactive, creative, problem-solving, resilient, flexible, tolerant, communicative and a team-player, be mature and so on. You do not learn this in any course and only to a limited degree at the university. A longer stay abroad in your resume signals: I dared myself, I have looked outside the box, I adapted and learned, I got involved in a multi-culti context!
Language skills are worth gold!
Foreign language skills are becoming increasingly important in professional life. English is required, so only a second foreign language - fluently spoken - is a plus that sets you apart. Because of its geographical distribution, Spanish is one of the most important foreign languages - Spanish opens the door to a whole continent! The Chilean Spanish is a challenge in itself - it is spoken quickly, syllables are swallowed and local-typical modisms are used. In other words, anyone who understands Chilean Spanish can handle Spanish anywhere else!
Your work means the world!
Chile is a country with a stable economy and politics. On average, Chile can keep up with other OECD countries. Unfortunately, the average does not say much about the real situation of the big portion of Chile’s population. The wealth is extremely unevenly distributed: While some can afford any luxury and live more comfortable than you may imagine, a large part of the population lives in poverty. Particularly bad is the situation in case of illness, because it can be fast that a family has to borrow for years for the medical expenses. Although the situation has improved in recent years, the gap between poor and rich is unfortunately still huge. Only with the help of volunteers from abroad can many social projects, environmental protection and animal welfare programs be kept going. Many bitterly necessary aid projects for humans, animals and the environment can only start and survive thanks to this help. Your cooperation is worth it for those in need in Chile, whether you are in a hospital, a school, a children's home or an environmental project. Animal welfare would often "go down the back" without volunteers, as there are so many other problems that need to be fixed that funding for animal welfare projects is difficult to find. Also in this area you can make an important difference.
A longer stay abroad is a good way to get to know yourself better. Many people only realize abroad how "unwordly" they actually are or what undiscovered, yet hardly used, talents they have. One also gets to know and admit one's own weaknesses in such a situation. Many volunteers tell us about these experiences of "self-finding" and their individual development. The fact that you can manage your own network in a foreign environment leads to wonderful experiences of success that strengthen self-esteem. The living together with strange people in host families or volunteer houses also promotes social skills. So, a stay abroad extends your horizons and makes a positive impact on your personality!
Tolerance wants to be learned
Wir halten uns generell selbst gerne für tolerante Menschen. Bei einem Auslandsaufenthalt kannst du testen, ob das auch wirklich so ist. Obwohl Chile deutlich weniger als andere Kulturkreise von unserer Mentalität abweicht, so reichen die feinen Unterschiede doch oft aus, um an die Grenzen der eigenen Toleranz zu kommen. Arbeitseinstellung, Verhalten der Einheimischen im Alltag, Fettnäpfchen, die allgemeine gesellschaftliche Lage (wie z.B. die große Schere zwischen arm und reich) und vieles mehr wird sicherlich Eindruck bei dir hinterlassen – oft auch Überraschung, Staunen und manchmal Frust. Freiwillige kommen, um vor Ort zu helfen und die Einheimischen lernen gerne von ihnen und schauen durch ihre Anwesenheit in gewisser Weise ebenfalls über den Tellerrand, auch wenn sie selbst nicht reisen können. Sie möchten jedoch nicht von Fremden von oben herab belehrt, kritisiert oder verändert werden. Deine Aufgabe als Freiwilliger ist es, einfühlsam zu sein, dich anzupassen und respektvoll mit deinen lokalen Kollegen und dir anvertrauten Menschen umzugehen. Die Lehren aus dieser Anpassung werden dir auch später im Berufsleben sehr nützlich sein.
Teach and learn
Many projects depend on volunteers who contribute their knowledge. However, this knowledge transfer is not a one-way street: If you opt for a longer stay abroad, you will let yourself into a different culture with all its codes, taboos, habits and customs. It's not always easy, but as time goes by, you'll learn to better understand the habits and circumstances of the locals. All this makes you grow as a person with a strong intercultural competence. Maybe that is even what makes you aware of the peculiarities of your own culture.
Be among friends
In many projects you will not be the only volunteer and sometimes you will be required sto share you room with others. Everyone brings their own story, but all have traveled to Chile with the intention to support a charitable project, to help people, to experience a new culture, to learn a language, and to do something good. This common ground connects and weekend trips and excursions do their thing: From a casual project acquaintance has more than once become a friendship for life.
Traveling broadens the mind – and is fun!
We have now explained to you the many advantages that a stay abroad entails. One should not forget an important detail: IT'S FUN! On no other occasion can you dive so deeply into the "real life" of a country. You are not a tourist, you are part of local society. You meet people who will give you great insider tips, show you around or invite you home. Such valuable and unforgettable experiences are hardly offered to a tourist.
What requirements do I need to meet to be a volunteer in Chile?
First the formalities:
- A passport that is valid for at least another 6 months upon entry.
- Participants must be of legal age (some projects allow 17-year-olds, please contact us for further information)
- Travel health insurance
In addition, you should meet a number of personal requirements:
Tolerance is essential if your volunteer work in Chile is to be a success for all. Yes, the clocks tick differently here and yes, the diet takes some getting used to and the codes of living together are not quite what you know. In order to have a good time in Chile, it is very important to respect the culture, the habits and the local mentality, even if you "go against the grain". The goal of your stay abroad in Chile is to broaden your horizon and your personal development, not the teaching of your hosts. After all, you will work with them for a good cause.
Surely you have landed on our homepage, because you want to try something new for a while or break out of your usual rut. New experiences automatically lead you out of your known comfort zone; in a foreign country like Chile, the water you jump into is even colder. You will find in Chile that the standard of living is not the same as in Western Europe. Volunteer projects are often in poorer neighborhoods or remote regions - just where help is needed. The adaptation is a challenge – but also the salt in the soup of a stay abroad! Get involved and you will be proud of yourself in the end and drive home as a better person.
When working in a volunteer project, you always work in a team. Some team members are local employees, some of whom have been working there for years. They know exactly how the project works and they will be there for a long time to come. Others, like you, are volunteers from all over the world. With so many different people and perspectives working in a team can be a challenge. Remember, the team is more important than your self-interest and you all work together on a project that needs to be promoted!
Responsibility is a must. Our volunteer projects in Chile depend on your cooperation and your workforce is firmly planned. That's why our partners need to be 100% confident that you'll do the work responsibly, and that you take your volunteer work very seriously. In some projects, you are responsible for other people or animals, so you should not take your work lightly.
That may sound very banal, since volunteers come as a matter of course to help ... So, you do not lose focus but it is very important to always remember that your stay in Chile is not just a holiday. The projects are dependent on volunteers who are sincere and committed to tackle, and to give their time and manpower to people, animals or environmental projects.
Each project has different health requirements for the volunteers: some focus on hard physical work, and applicants should have good fitness. Some projects are located in climatically extreme regions, e.g. in the semi-desert in northern Chile or in changeable, often cold-windy Patagonia. In projects with children or socially weak adults, a stable and emotionally balanced personality is very important. Here you are responsible for the welfare of other people, many of whom have already experienced bad or got traumatized. Your job is to be a rock solid, radiating confidence, giving people hope, making them laugh. Therefore, you have to make sure that you do not bring problems like depression, eating disorders or your own trauma.
As mentioned above, Chile works a lot differently than you are used to. Some differences are not great, but they can be enough to drive a foreigner up the wall. There is a different understanding of time and duties as well as other standards of living, cleanliness and order. If there are still language barriers, misunderstandings can occur. Therefore: flexibility is required! If you give yourself spontaneously and flexibly, a problem can quickly turn into a new possibility!
Initiative and Proactivity
You'll get an introduction to your volunteer project at the beginning. However, then you are often expected to tackle quickly and proactively without anyone ever giving you tasks. Think about your strengths beforehand, and you'll see how you can best bring them to life.
What kind of volunteer work suits me?
If you say so far after reading: Yes! This is something for me, I want to and can do that! - Then comes the next and perhaps biggest step: finding a suitable volunteer project in Chile for you.
The selection is great. You can engage with other people, e.g. in children's homes, schools, kindergartens, retirement homes, aid projects for the disabled, etc. Volunteer projects focusing on nature conservation or animal welfare also offer a variety of options to get involved. There are many possibilities, you are spoiled for choice. If you do not know exactly what you want to do, it is a good idea to do a self-analysis: What are your strengths and interests? What are you especially good at, what have you been asked by others for advice or help? What have you always wanted to try? What are your character traits? Do you feel better in the city or in the countryside? Does harsh climate matter or do you even love it?
You should also be careful not to overestimate yourself. Do you know your physical limits? Be honest when there are health restrictions. Anyone who is psychologically or mentally weak should rather do something different than volunteering with people who have had bad experiences (such as traumatized children). And in construction projects or on farms, you should be robust and do not give up on physical labo.
The selection will therefore be well considered, but we are sure that we will find the best match for you in the variety of volunteer projects that we offer in Chile.
Our experienced staff will be pleased to help you finding the best fit!
And off you go! Let´s plan your volunteer work abroad
Finding the right project is the first step. When done, a series of steps follow until you finally get on the plane. Throughout the preparation of your trip and later when you are on site in Chile, our experienced team stands by your side with assistance and advice. We will not only find your favorite project and place you there, but also help with practical travel planning tips. We are not finished until your last question has been answered.
Just contact us, we are here for you.