Finding Volunteer Work
Any search engine (Google, Bing, etc.) is a good starting point for finding the right program/host organization for your volunteering adventure. Simple keyword searches like “Volunteer abroad,” “International volunteer,” or “Service abroad Latin America” will yield a plethora of results.
Some sites devoted exclusively to Latin American volunteers are listed in the links section. Due to the popularity of international volunteering, specifically in Latin America, these results might yield too many searches, leaving you more confused and overwhelmed than when you start.
In order to find the program that is best for you, you should ask yourself a few key questions before typing in your keywords:
- What do I want to get out of my experience?
- Will the focus be on language, cultural immersion, environmental conservation, working with children?
- Where do I want to go?
- What kind of climate?
- Beach or mountains?
- How much money can I spend?
- How much time can I commit?
- Would I prefer a structured or unstructured atmosphere?
- Live on a commune or with a host family?
Having the answers to these questions can greatly increase your chances of finding the right fit for your program.
Another important assessment is of your own skills, and exactly what you have to offer a potential host organization. If you have great ideas for how to motivate children to read, you may choose an organization that works with children’s education, but allows volunteers to develop and implement your own program. If you want to be a doctor, and prefer taking direction to giving it, becoming a nurse’s assistant in an inner-city hospital or clinic might be for you.
After you’ve made your self assessment, you are ready to tackle the Internet to find an appropriate program, and begin your volunteer adventure. If one of the long-term programs mentioned in the previous pages interests you, links to their websites can be found on the Volunteer Organizations Directory page.