What does Volunteering Abroad mean?
Many people, especially young people, may ask themselves why volunteering abroad? Of course, it is more comfortable to travel the world as a mere tourist. Nevertheless, participating in a stay abroad is really something very special and not at all comparable to holidays.
During your volunteer work in South America, you can personally develop yourself and gain life and work experience abroad. These are important assets for your resume. In addition, when you stay abroad, you continue to develop traits such as teamwork, tolerance, flexibility, and adaptability, and exactly these "soft skills" are very much wanted by employers in today's job market. Contact with foreign cultures, traditions and customs will help you broaden your horizons and learn new skills. Additionally, you should not underestimate the language skills that you gain during a service learning abroad. Even if you only have basic Spanish knowledge on arrival at your collaborative service project in Chile, you can be sure that you will return home with solid Spanish skills and a large vocabulary.
In addition to all the benefits that volunteering abroad brings to you, the benefit for others is of course the focus. It is well known that the gap between poor and rich in South America is very large. There is poverty among a big part of the population in developing countries, many sins are unfortunately also committed to the flora and fauna. There is really a lot to do, let's get started! Your participation in community based volunteer projects is an important contribution to international understanding and can be of great importance for charitable institutions. The close cooperation for a good cause welds people together and forms strong bonds. Most participants associate volunteering abroad with one of the most important life experiences.
There are many different ways to do good while travelling abroad. In addition to lots of social volunteer projects with children, nursing homes, in education or with the homeless, you can also do service learning dedicated to nature conservation and animal welfare.
On this guide about the Volunteer Work in Chile you will find interesting facts that will help you with the planning and organizing of your stay abroad. Chile Inside has many years of experience (since 2003) in organizing meaningful stays abroad in all Latin America. If you have further questions, we are very happy to assist you. Just contact us!
Volunteer projects in Chile
Chile has become a popular tourist destination in recent years. Also, more and more volunteers are fortunately finding their way to Chile to collabotare in service learning projects. Over the last 15 years (since 2003), Chile Inside has developed a wide range of interesting volunteer projects where you can get involved and make an important contribution to international understanding, animal welfare and nature conservation. As part of your volunteer work in Chile, you can participate in projects that help disadvantaged children, seniors or the homeless, or give new hope to people with disabilities. There is also a great deal of need for animal welfare projects, especially for stray dogs and cats, but also for wild animals. In the nature and environmental programs you support the preservation of native flora and fauna.
Accommodations for our volunteers differs depending on the volunteer project. Many volunteer places, such as volunteering in social work or in animal shelters, are located in the capital Santiago de Chile or in other major cities. In these cases, volunteers live in single rooms with / without meals in so-called homestays, i.e. in rented rooms in private households. Internet is always included, and good transport and safe residential area is given.
Volunteer work in environmental protection or in animal welfare centers takes place in nature and far away from big cities. In most cases, there is a volunteer house where local workers and volunteers live together. There are multi-bed rooms or in very rare cases single rooms. Often the food is included. Due to the partially isolated location of the project locations amidst beautiful nature, a reliable Internet connection is not always given.
What requirements do I have to fulfill as a volunteer abroad?
The formal requirements that you must meet to take part in voluntary work abroad include:
- Being og age (some projects are also available for 17-year-olds, please contact us if you are interested)
- Valid passport with a duration of at least 6 months beyond the return date
- Travel health insurance
Note: A visa is not required in most cases, as voluntary work abroad is not a paid employment.
In addition to the formal requirements, you must also meet some personal requirements, so that you feel comfortable abroad and your volunteer project will be a complete success - for you and the project!
You are tolerant!
Prejudices of foreign culture and people have no place in your luggage. Please leave it at home. You should be open-minded and tolerance is a very important feature for you while volunteering abroad. Even if the other way of working may not always make much sense in your eyes, please be respectful of your host country and its habits. The aim of a voluntary work abroad is not to criticize or smile at people's thinking and actions. On the contrary, the purpose is to work together supporting a good cause.
You are adaptable!
For a longer stay in a foreign country, you step out of your comfort zone and you have to adapt to other lifestyle habits and people. It is very important that you are ready for it. Especially in a voluntary work abroad, in underdeveloped countries, you will encounter situations and realities that are new to you. Maybe you also live with a local host family, who belongs to a foreign culture. But exactly these new challenges are also the exciting thing about volunteering in South America! Explore a foreign country, become part of society, immerse yourself in the culture and traditions and get to know people intensively and try to learn from them! This represents a unique opportunity to grow beyond yourself, to mature as a person and to evolve!
You have team spirit!
Please be aware that volunteering abroad always means that team spirit comes first. Working in a team is fun and brings good mood! So, if you travel to Chile as a volunteer, be sure to include a good deal of team spirit, because during your volunteer work you will work with different people from different backgrounds. So, it is important that you are willing to work fair and constructive and sometimes stuck back. A head-to-head attitude is out of place for volunteering.
You are responsible!
One of the most important traits is a strong sense of responsibility. You have chosen to do service learning abroad, and you are not on a vacation trip. Your collaboration in the volunteer project has been scheduled and the team counts on your support. You will have certain responsibilities that you must perform carefully and reliably. The beneficiary of your volunteer work are people (for example, child relief projects), animals (such as animal welfare projects) or nature (such as nature conservation projects), who depend on your work. Please be aware of this responsibility and perform your duties conscientiously and carefully.
You are helpful!
Selfishness does not go down well with volunteering abroad. Rather, the helpfulness and a courteous nature is appreciated. Volunteering is about helping others, be it people or animals or in nature relief projects. With a volunteer work in Latin America, you have deliberately decided to dedicate yourself to a good cause without any financial compensation. What really matters is your helpfulness!
You enjoy good health!
In order to participate in doing community service abroad, it is very important that your state of health meet the requirements of volunteering, as well as working and living conditions. For some volunteer projects, physical fitness is important because physical work is required. On the other hand, in volunteer projects where you work with children or vulnerable/marginalized people, it is very important that you do not have mental health problems such as eating disorders, depression, etc. In these projects, it is important that you are firmly on the ground with both feet, because many of them are struggling with the processing of traumatic experiences. Your role as a volunteer is to give them strength, confidence and prospects, to make them happy again and help with their rehabilitation.
You are flexible!
Be prepared that many things will be different in Chile as you are used to from home. The Chileans certainly a different understanding of time and work and their way of approaching certain things may not always make much sense in your eyes. The different language and mentality can sometimes lead to misunderstandings or communication problems. So: always be flexible and spontaneous! You will soon realize, that there is a solution for all situations and that you can quickly develop a plan B from a problem.
You are proactive!
It is important that you show a lot of initiative, because most volunteer projects have only a short work introduction. Get involved proactively, actively offer your help and see where you can best use your skills. It is always welcome when the volunteers propose suggestions for improvement in a constructive and diplomatic way.
Which volunteer project suits me?
A community service in Chile is exactly your thing and now you are facing the difficult question: Which volunteer project actually suits me? At Chile Inside there are different ways of volunteering abroad. The range of opportunities includes children's aid projects, voluntary work in education, help for people in retirement homes, volunteer work with the homeless, animal welfare projects, nature conservation projects and volunteer work in a dog shelter.
To find the collaborative service project that suits you best, be clear about where your strengths and personal abilities are but also keep in mind your personal interests. Write down the answers to this questionnaire: What do you like to do? What would you like to do? Which activities do you do well? What can you do especially good? Which character traits are most pronounced and would most benefit a given volunteer project? Think about where your personal and physical limits are. Do you have fears or health restrictions that could affect your involvement in a volunteer project? This brainstorming will certainly crystallize very quickly what kind of volunteer work suits you best.
Thanks to the many volunteer opportunities that we offer in Chile, you will most certainly find the project, which is consistent with your strengths, interests and abilities. Our experienced staff will also be happy to advise you personally.
Planning and organizing your volunteer work abroad, on-site support
You found your favorite among our many volunteer projects? Then the next step is to plan and organize your volunteering abroad. Such a journey must be well planned and organized. Here you can trust the experienced employees of Chile Inside. Since 2003 we help volunteers from all over the world to fulfill their dream of volunteering abroad. With great care we organize your volunteer position as well as accommodation and Spanish course in Chile if desired. In addition, we help you with travel planning, questions about the appropriate health insurance abroad and we are based on the ground to give local support.