Chile has a special fascination for many people. And for volunteering in South America, Chile is a very special place, too. The country is over 2,500 miles long, but on average only just under 125 miles wide. It houses both the driest desert in the world and the last major inland glaciers. Between the Pacific coast and the Andes peaks, you will find a variety of exciting volunteer projects in different areas. In Chile, you can work with children in orphanages, help disadvantaged people, protect endangered flora and fauna, look after confiscated monkeys (Note: Chile's natural wildlife does not include monkeys! It is a conservation project that cares for confiscated and trafficked monkeys.) and much more. During your volunteer work in Chile you have the wonderful opportunity to get to know the hearty Chileans and their culture up close. Whether you're volunteering in the capital city of Santiago, on the coast, in Patagonia or in the Atacama Desert, you'll soon find friends to help you discover the country. By the way, in a cozy "asado" (barbecue), the Chileans will certainly give you many insider tips for their beautiful country.
Why should I become a Volunteer in Chile?
There are many reasons to volunteer in Chile. One of the reasons is certainly the fabulous and varied landscape that awaits you in Chile. From south to north, from the coast to the Andes peaks, you can travel through almost all climate zones and visit breathtaking places. Be it the famous Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia, the landscape of volcanoes and lakes in southern Chile, wild coastlines with cliffs and endless sandy beaches in central Chile, unforgettable deep views into the universe for amateur astronomers in the Valle de Elqui or the very own beauty of the World's driest desert in northern Chile. The capital, Santiago, has also become a real world-class metropolis over the last 15 years and captivates its visitors with its mix of historic buildings and state-of-the-art architecture.
Another important reason to do a volunteer service in Chile is that by living here and in contact with the local people, you can learn Spanish very quickly. At first, it may be challenging for you to hear the Chilean dialect, but you will probably very fast learn the typical Chilean words and their meaning, and you will learn to speak like a true Chilean.
Another reason why Chile is the ideal country for volunteering is security, both politically and socially. Chile and the capital Santiago de Chile are among the safest countries or cities in Latin America. Both politically and economically, Chile is stable and the most developed country in South America. Since 2010, it is even a member of the OECD countries. Nevertheless, you should always pay attention to your belongings when traveling, because pickpockets are everywhere and unfortunately also in Chile.
What are my benefits as a volunteer abroad?
If you've been thinking of doing volunteer work abroad for a long time, then Chile is the ideal place to turn that plan into reality. During your volunteer service in Chile you can get involved in different projects. Many social and charitable organizations in Chile are open for volunteer helpers who assist in day-to-day tasks. Doing volunteer work abroad is a unique and above all meaningful work experience. It does not matter in which project you finally volunteer. It is important that you feel like helping disadvantaged people, such as children, the elderly, people with disabilities or homeless people. In addition, South America Inside offers the opportunity to participate in a variety of projects dedicated to the protection and preservation of Chile's amazing wildlife and nature. No matter which project you choose in the end, they all offer you the opportunity to do something good and to make a valuable experience abroad.
As you do volunteer work in Chile, you also have an intercultural and international experience that will make you mature as a person. In daily contact with the Chileans you will learn more about their everyday life, you can make comparisons to the life in your home country and you will learn a lot about cultural differences. Often there are also volunteers from other countries in the organizations, so you work in an international team and you will soon learn the full load of tolerance for other cultures. So, you learn from each other and you acquire important personal skills (soft skills) that can be useful for your later working life. Having a work experience abroad in the resume will set you apart from other applicants if you apply for your dream job later!
You will find that in your volunteer service you will not only help others, but you will also grow as a person. After your stay abroad you will be more mature and have gained a lot of experience that you can only do when you break out of your daily routine and go on an expedition to get to know new situations, cultures and ways of life. In this sense, volunteering in Chile is the perfect way to change perspective and embark on an unforgettable and enriching adventure that you will always remember.
What types of Volunteer Projects are available in Chile?
South America Inside offers a variety of opportunities for volunteers in Chile. There are many social projects with children, the elderly or projects with disabled or homeless people. You can also get involved in animal welfare projects or engage in nature conservation. In our volunteer animal projects, you can work with street dogs / cats or in a monkey rescue center. In our conservation projects, volunteers strive to preserve the natural flora and fauna of Chile. For example, you can protect a native deer species or work in the Torres del Paine National Park, Chile's most popular place.
Of course, with all these opportunities to do volunteer work in Chile, it is not easy to make a decision. Maybe it will help you in your decision-making process, if you give yourself a few thoughts in advance and answer some important questions yourself before deciding:
What are you interested in? Do you have special skills? What are your strengths and weaknesses? Do you prefer to work with people or animals? Do you prefer to spend your time in the countryside or in the city? Can you imagine living several hours from the next city? Do you prefer the mountains or the sea? The answers to these questions will help you to find a suitable project for you. If you continue to be undecided, or need our personal advice in making the decision, feel free to contact us. Our experienced staff will be happy to help you.
You will also find detailed information on all our projects on our homepage. In the respective program description you will find the tasks and activities listed, as well as all necessary information about each volunteer project, the accommodation and our on-site support. So you can compare your expectations with the description and see if the project is for you.
Where in Chile are the Volunteer Organizations located?
As varied as the country itself, so diversified are our volunteer projects in Chile. The volunteer project sites in Chile are spread all over the country. The majority of the projects are located in the center of the country around Santiago, Valparaiso and Viña del Mar. Another focus is the South, especially for nature conservation projects. The social projects and the work with street dogs and cats are located in cities or larger towns. In central Chile there is a Mediterranean climate, which means the summer is dry and hot, the winter mild and with rainfall. From Santiago de Chile, which is located in the center of Chile, you have many opportunities to travel to all parts of the country.
Our conservation projects are located in pristine and remote regions of southern Chile. For some projects you are sometimes a few hours’ drive from the nearest major city. The climate in southern Chile is similar to the Central European climate, it can rain all year round, in summer it is pleasantly warm, but in winter (May-August) it can be quite cold.
In the north of the country, in the Atacama Desert, there are pleasant temperatures throughout the year (note: the desert climate is relatively cold at night!) And there is no rainfall as the Atacama Desert is the driest place in the world.
Our Volunteer Projects in Chile at a glance:
- Volunteer Work with Children
- Volunteer Work in Elderly Care
- Volunteer work with Handicapped People
- Volunteer Work with the Homeless
- Volunteer work in an Equine Therapy Center
- Volunteer Work in Sustainable Tourism in Patagonia
- Volunteer in Environmental Education with Children
- Volunteer Work with Smallholders in Patagonia
This link will take you to the volunteer opportunities that we offer in Chile
Volunteer Projects in Chile
Do I need Spanish skills to Volunteer in Chile?
When traveling or staying abroad, it is important that you familiarize yourself with the local language, as this will give you better access to local people. But also to be able to communicate in different situations, it is important that you master some Spanish during your trip to Chile or that you take the time to take a Spanish course in order to gain basic knowledge.
Even if you can communicate with other volunteers or, if you are lucky, with Chileans in English, it is not yet commonplace in Chile for people to speak good English. In particular, children and elderly people whom you will help in some projects do not speak English at all.
However, you should not see the Spanish language as a hurdle but rather as an opportunity! According to Chinese, Spanish is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and becomes more important year by year due to the greater importance of Latin America. So, acquiring knowledge of Spanish can be a great advantage for you.
If you want to take as many experiences as possible from your stay abroad in Chile and also for your future, we recommend you attend a language course in Chile. Spanish courses are offered for different levels. If you already have previous knowledge, it is likely that you will need two weeks of language course to introduce yourself to the language. If you do not have any knowledge, plan about 4 weeks to learn basic skills to communicate in everyday situations.
We offer Spanish courses in these great cities of Chile: