Latin America is such a unique, diverse, fascinating, challenging, and rewarding region of the world to volunteer in. Many countries in this region have suffered from pasts of colonialism, military authoritarian dictatorships, or the negative effects of climate change to name a few. Despite all of that, they are rich with culture, tradition, and experiences, and any one of the Latin American countries where World Endeavors offers programs are ideal locations to volunteer abroad.
With Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Mexico to choose from, you can never go wrong volunteering or interning abroad in Latin America, and here is why.
To Learn a Language
Did you know that Spanish is the third most-spoken language in the world behind English and Mandarin Chinese? Gaining proficiency in Spanish will unlock the door for you to communicate with millions of people, and allow you to travel throughout nearly all of Latin America hassle-free. If you are from the United States where there is an ever-growing population of Spanish speakers, your language skills will be high in demand and make your resume stand out from the rest in virtually any career path you choose to take. World Endeavors offers language courses along with your placement at almost all of our locations, and when combined with the cultural immersion you will be experiencing while volunteering or interning abroad, you are sure to come away with a solid grasp of the Spanish language.
If you are leaning towards volunteering in Brazil and working on your Portuguese, that is fantastic! While it is not as widely spoken, it is equally important to communicate with people from Brazil, Portugal, and other places around the world. Plus, learning one romance language gives you a great foundation for learning others!
To Understand the Culture
Latin American countries have been shaped for centuries by colonialism, trade, indigenous cultures, foreign powers, and so much more. By volunteering or interning abroad in a Latin American country, you will gain a deeper understanding of the way that different events, individuals, and institutions have influenced the state of the nation in the modern day, and maybe even the roles which your own country has played in the creation of modern Latin America. You will also see what types of changes are in effect at the moment to better the socioeconomic conditions of the population, and gain a firsthand look at the culture by working with a local organization. By immersing yourself in the culture, learning the language, and staying with a host family, you will gain such a deep understanding of the issues facing your host country and how the people are affected.
You will also gain so much insight into the daily lives of everyone around you — from cuisine, to song and dance, to religious and cultural traditions. The deeper you immerse yourself into the culture and work to understand the world around you, the more that your international experience will become a part of you for the rest of your life.
To Gain Real-World Experience
If you are volunteering or interning in Latin America with World Endeavors, you will be working with experienced professionals in your field of interest doing work that matters. Often you will hold real responsibility, and you will learn how to lead, learn, and adapt quickly to new situations, all of which are skills that are so valuable in the professional world. You will be able to tangibly demonstrate a difficult situation you may have experienced or a time that you had to problem-solve creatively, because your experience volunteering or interning abroad will challenge you.
No matter what career path you go on, volunteering or interning abroad will set your resume apart and prove that you hold a certain skill set that many employers seek. Your experience abroad may even help you decide on a career path or change the trajectory of your life altogether — if there is anything that can be said about an international experience, it is that it will change you.
Posted by World Endeavors on November 16, 2016
World Endeavors believes that international travel has the power to change lives, broaden horizons, and deepen intercultural understanding. The world is undergoing rapid changes, with societies becoming more interconnected and environmentally aware; at the same time a more challenging global economy inspires in many a need to reach out and make a positive difference while seeking personal growth opportunities. There has never been a better time than now to travel abroad.