Argentina is bursting with cultural charm and natural wonders. It is a country of vast beauty including the tropical north with the spectacular Andes, the large Pampas and the chilly deserts of Patagonia in the south.
To volunteer in Argentina is to experience the Latin way of life working with enthusiastic and passionate Argentineans. You can do this by either teaching English to students in private schools or language institutes or through caring for children and young adults in children’s homes and residential centres, maybe even both!
Schools Assistant placements are based in top private schools. You will provide support to primary teachers and assist the children with their English schooling. These placements are ideal for those interested in working with children or thinking of pursuing a teaching career.
English Teaching placements may be in fee-paying schools for both primary and secondary levels, or at private language institutes for children aged from 10 years through to adults. English is considered to be a very valuable language to learn and volunteers use their conversational English skills to assist both teachers and students in the classroom.
Community placements are available in children’s or residential homes, where some children with learning difficulties reside when they become adults. Volunteers provide support to residents who range in age from newborns to 16 years old. In the home, volunteers assist with the day-to-day running of the centre. Activities with the residents such as arts, drama and sport are also greatly appreciated. No English is spoken in these centres, so volunteers need a basic understanding of Spanish before their placement begin.
Both accommodation and food are provided by the host. Volunteers are usually accommodated either with a host family or an adult host at teaching placements. Host families may expect the volunteer to integrate and to contribute to family every day life. Despite the fact that Argentina is a big meat producing country, vegetarians have always managed without any problems.
Is it for me?
If you are looking for a new cultural experience and can adapt to the Argentinean pace of life, then a rewarding time awaits. You will need to show flexibility and initiative. In turn, you will have the chance to develop your Spanish and build strong ties with your hosts. It is necessary to have a good intermediate knowledge of Spanish for Community placements however, no understanding of Spanish is required for some Schools or Teaching placements though more options will be available if the volunteer has a basic knowledge of the language.
Teaching placements are located in the provinces of Neuquén, San Luis, Cordoba and the city of Buenos Aires. Community placements are located in Cordoba and recently we have started to combine community work placements together with English teaching. Most placements are on the outskirts of, or a bus ride from, provincial capitals with populations of around 80,000 to 120,000 people except for the city of Buenos Aires, where there are 13 million people. There your placement would be located in the Northern suburbs. The remaining placements are in smaller towns of some 25,000 inhabitants.
Studded with outstanding natural wonders and endowed with one of the world’s hot-list cities, Argentina is a vast and varied land. Tapering from the Tropic of Capricorn towards the tip of Antarctica, it encompasses a staggering diversity of terrains, from the lush wetlands of the Litoral to the dry Andean plateau of the Northwest and further to the iconic Tierra del Fuego.
The capital, Buenos Aires is one of the most fascinating of all South American capitals and is reminiscent of many European cities. Its many neighbourhoods (barrios) are startlingly different. Some are decadently old-fashioned, others daringly modern – but all of them ooze character.
Volunteers meet at weekends and on holidays and generally make the most of their free time to explore Argentina and neighbouring countries. Iguazu Falls, on the border with Brazil, are spectacular and not to be missed.