South America is a land of varied cultures and once-in-a-lifetime sights and sounds. More specifically, the continent is home to many of the world’s finest volunteer and study abroad programs located anywhere on the globe. The continent’s favorable exchange rate, temperate climate and host of health and educated-related volunteer opportunities make it the perfect destination for recent high school graduates, Gap Year students, and professionals taking a career break; who may be looking to enrich their own lives and the lives of others.
Anyone over the age of 18 can volunteer their time in South America to great effect. Why should you consider a volunteer work program in South America? Here are 5 great reasons giving the gift of your time and experience may be one of the most fulfilling things you ever do:
1. Learn a language: While volunteering in South America you will be working with local people while becoming immersed in the local language. One of the fastest ways to learn a new language is by immersion, or the daily hearing and practicing of the new language. Learning a second language is a valuable life skill as well. With the growing number of Spanish immigrants in the United States, learning Spanish is a valuable commodity on the American job market. A number of other languages are spoken in South America, so you are not limited to only learning Spanish. Check with your volunteer coordinator as to what languages are predominately spoken in the area you will be volunteering.
2. Enjoy a new culture: South America has a vibrant, colorful, culture that you will enjoy while volunteering. Getting to know the local people will open your eyes to a new world of thought, food, and cultural entertainment. People that live in an area always know the best kept secrets, such as good restaurants and beautiful sightseeing locations, which you can investigate during your spare time. With its own languages, festivals, music, sports, art, theatre, and holidays, South America has a variety of avenues of interest for you to explore and learn about.
3. Invest in your health: Volunteering is good for the soul. Many people who have volunteered have come out of the experience with a new found look on life. Giving has always made people feel better, and what better way to give than your time? There are many areas in South American, such as Argentina, that are in need of volunteers to help build communities and provide training in life skills. As is the case in most of South America, Argentina volunteer programs are particularly geared to the area of health care and assisting children.
4. Help improve our Global Community: With the advancement of the internet and increased international TV stations, the world is becoming smaller and smaller. We are no longer alone in our corner of the world, but have become part of a Global Community. Volunteering in a foreign country promotes goodwill and understanding, improving our community as a whole. The more we understand and learn about other parts of the world, the more we grow as a world community.
5. Improve your job skills: Some companies find volunteering a valuable asset to have listed on your resume, it shows them that you are a caring and dedicated individual. Other companies even have programs that allow you time off to volunteer. While volunteering in South America you will make new friends and contacts thru the program coordinators, other volunteers, and the local people. Meeting new people opens your eyes to new ideas and concepts that will provide you with a different way of looking at your work environment.
Making a difference in the world can be as simple as one person volunteering his or hers time to benefit the life of another. South America is a great place to see first-hand the incredible benefit of this simple concept in action. Volunteer in South America and make a difference you can be proud up. Summer volunteer work program positions can fill up ahead of time – so if coming between June and August, try to decide on your summer program and sign up as early as possible. What are you waiting for, make a difference today!
Casey Markee is a consultant with volunteer in South America program provider GIC Argentina a leading facilitator of volunteering in South America programs for high school students, Gap year students and private citizens. Contact them today for information on their volunteer work abroad programs in South America.
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