Volunteering in Latin America- The Spanish Learning Opportunity

By: Moe Tamani

Past South America’s exotic appeal and interesting cultural make up, Latin America offers a lot of opportunities for volunteerwork and especially in teaching English. This South American region offersbeautiful landscape and travel opportunities to places that are more heard ofthan seen. Volunteering in Latin America has increased in the recent past dueto a failing economy, poverty, and lack of education and political and civilwars and strife. But the fact is that Latin American nations have a wealth ofnatural resources, but are still considered as developing countries by those inNorth America and Europe.

So if you are interested inoverseas volunteer work then Latin America is a place to be. Some of therelatively developed countries in Latin America like Argentina and Costa Ricahave significant number of people below the poverty line. Apart from this mostof Latin American countries are not well versed with English, which is slowlybecoming a global language. Volunteering in Latin America can vary from countryto country and it can include from community development, health education,environmental work and even sports. As an individual, you can always choose thekind of overseas volunteer work you want to participate in and the durationthat you want to work for.

Volunteering in Latin Americaincludes the following types of work:

Conservation volunteerism: This is of prime importance especially because alarge part of the Amazon rain forest has disappeared and with it hasdisappeared many habitats. You can choose volunteering work from differenttypes of conservation projects that include preservation of endangered speciesof turtles in Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago; Wildlife rehabilitationcenters in Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador and save forests and environmentalprojects in Brazil (mostly Amazon), Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala etc. Youdon’t need to have any kind of degree in animal behavior, all you need is lovefor nature, animals and a will to make a difference and save the planet and itsdepleting natural resources.

Health Volunteerism: Volunteering in Latin Americarevolves a lot around health and related services because most of the countriesthere don’t have the necessary infrastructure or skilled people that include,doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners. Lack of education also meansthat health problems are at a rise in the backward areas and smaller towns. Youcan get a lot of exposure through volunteer work in hospitals in Ecuador andHonduras. ?

Sports Volunteerism: Sports may seem to be the unlikely area forvolunteer work. South America has a lot of sporting talent especially in soccerbut there is no infrastructure, coaches or training schools that can hone theskills of the youngsters or teenagers who want to enter the professional sportsarena. Soccer is like a religion in some countries like Brazil and Argentina,who have also made their mark on the World stage. El futbol is considered to bea way of life, so if you have ever coached any teams or played in any leaguegames in Europe or other parts of the world then you can volunteer as afootball/soccer coach.

Volunteer Community Development: Although South Americapresents a pretty picture that advertises the smiles, the sun, the sand, thegiant palm trees, the beautiful and exotic wildlife, there is much work to bedone in terms of community development. Latin America suffers from a disparityof wealth and there are many people who dream of a better life, more money sothat they can provide the basic necessities to their children or parents.Volunteering in Latin America in Community development will involve manyaspects like teaching English, developing projects that will benefit thesociety as a whole, helping old aged people and orphansFind Article, providing education tostreet kids and many more. It is all hard work but the end result is gratifyingbecause you will be one of the few people to have made a difference.

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