IVHQ offers a range of highly affordable volunteer programs in Bogota, Colombia. Participants have the opportunity to join a variety of projects, including construction projects, working with disadvantaged children, volunteering to teach, working with the elderly, and much more. While Spanish is not required in order to participate in the program, some conversational skills are recommended. IVHQ can provide discounted lessons to interested volunteers
Current IVHQ Volunteer Programs in Colombia:
- Caring for the Elderly
- Feeding the Homeless
- Construction and Renovation
- Volunteers either stay in a volunteer house or with a host-family
- Volunteer programs are available anywhere from 1 to 24 weeks
- Programs in Colombia start on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month
- At any given time there are about 5-20 IVHQ volunteers in Colombia
- Spanish lessons can be provided for interested volunteers
- All volunteers receive a culture and language orientation upon arrival
Working with homeless in Bogota12/05/2012How could this program be improved?
As mentioned above I would advice Emerging Voices and IVHQ to be clear on when the ordinary programs are closed or modified due to holidays (for example during christmas holiday).
I did not enjoy my experience in with Emerging Voices05/08/2012Response from IVHQWe are sorry to hear you did not enjoy your experience in Colombia. The safety and comfort of all our volunteers is of utmost importance to our local staff, which is why curfews are implemented. We have passed your feedback on to our local staff and we hope you were still able to enjoy your volunteering project and your time spent with the other volunteers.
Morning: I usually got up at 7:00 am. A half hour later we started preparing breakfast for all volunteers. That was a very nice part of the day. We discussed plans for the day, joked about each other and enjoyed arepas, fresh fruit juices and other Colombian delicias. At 8:30 am the apartment was empty, everybody went to its volunteering projects.
Afternoon: It was a nice time - after work and before dinner. We talked with other volunteers about the kids, what happened during the classes and how we spent the day. I usually prepared activities for the next day - English lessons for the kids in the school in Soacha close to Bogota or games and ideas for handcrafts for blind kids from the institute in San Cristobal (an impoverished zone of Bogota). Sometimes we practiced origami to show it to the kids on the next day or singing or dancing. We had a lot of fun!
Evening: We used to say that Bogota is like New York - never sleeps ;o). During the evenings we enjoyed the city, went to salsa clubs or bars, or we stayed at the apartments. We played cards, dominos, or other games. That was also the time to talk to friends or family via Skype (there is a 7 hours time difference to Europe), time for reading, watching movies or listening to music, normal stuff...
Highlights: The highlight of my volunteer experience was meeting the blind kids and accompanying them to the swimming pool twice a week. At the beginning it was frightening to me, I didn't know how to act, how to help the kids with changing clothes and everything. They didn't know me so they were shy and distrustful, but with the time they got used to me and we had a lot of fun in the water. I loved to play with them, to laugh and to teach them swimming. They were incredible. Could you imagine swimming in the water without being able to see? I couldn't do it! Seeing the happiness of those kids I was the happiest person in the world.
The highlight of my overall experience was meeting other volunteers, from USA, Canada, Australia, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands... It was a dream team! We had a lot of fun with each other and I was so lucky to have the opportunity to meet them, to work with them and to enjoy the Colombian life with them.
Why did you decide to volunteer with IVHQ in Columbia?
Timothy: I chose IVHQ because they were affordable and I had read numerous reviews that were positive. In addition, through Facebook I was able to get in contact with previous Colombian volunteers who ensured my safety. The reason why I chose Colombia was due to its lack of publicity. While reading through reviews I came across a lot of reviews from Africa, but there was not a lot on Colombia or Latin America. So I decided to change that by venturing to Colombia with intentions of promoting Colombia. Furthermore, the weather is nice and the thought of the Andes Mountains as the backdrop was all I need to know.
What made this experience unique and special?
Timothy: Being that this was the first time I have ever traveled by myself to a different country was special in itself. The staff at Emerging Voices made my experience so special because I could tell that they truly cared about me and my reasons for wanting to volunteer in Colombia. In a way I feel like words can not describe the feeling I felt while in Colombia. With anything you do you get out what you put in. This was true for my stay in Bogota. It was up to the volunteer on how much they wanted to work. There was a white board in the apartment where one could sign up for different projects. Some projects were held in the morning and some were in the afternoon. The project at Soacha was the entire day, Soacha was the project I really felt like I was the most help. I also loved going to Hogar de Maricia, which is an orphanage. While at Hogar we mostly played with the kids and this was quite rewarding.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Timothy: While my trip to Colombia has definitely made me appreciate being American, I will always have Colombia embedded in my heart. If the opportunity presented itself I could see myself devoting my life to Colombia. The people are so amazing and extremely happy for what they have and don't put up a guilt trip. The love I felt was extremely infectious and I can not wait to return for a long term commitment.
Why did you decide to volunteer with IVHQ in Colombia?
Medardo: I decided to volunteer abroad with IVHQ because two of my friends traveled to Colombia through IVHQ the summer of 2012. I knew they planned on returning, so I simply asked if I could tag along. Additionally, I researched the project beforehand and communicated with the director of the program in order to ask any questions that I had
Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.
Medardo: My day-to-day activities remained consistent. From morning into mid-afternoon was when most of the volunteering took place. The volunteering work was very diverse. Emerging Voices has various relationships with non-profits, in the country. After volunteering, the group of volunteers would go around exploring the city (Bogota) and surrounding cities.
What made this experience unique and special?
Medardo: What made my volunteering experience unique and special were both, the people I volunteered with and the people of Colombia that I met. Firstly, the people I volunteered with were from all over the world. We all got along very well. Everyone was very outgoing and we all took back so much from the gracious people of Colombia and our experience. I would consider the group of volunteers I shared this experience with as my international family. In fact, many of us still remain in constant communication.
Secondly, the people of Colombia. Whether it was a simply good morning or a good bye, the Colombian people always demonstrated laughter, joy, and a big smile.I do not know if it was because we were foreigners, but we were always treated with great respect, and open arms. A tremendous appreciation for life and love of life was also an aspect of the Colombian people that helped make this experience so unique and special.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Medardo: Personally, this experience has helped me step out of my comfort zone even more and it has provided me with great, hands on volunteering that cannot be experienced unless one travels abroad. The impact it has had on my future is also tremendous. I have a better idea of what career and aspect of the non-profit world I would like to pursue after I complete college. It also provided an avenue of prospective volunteering opportunities based on the relationships I established
About the provider
IVHQ (International Volunteer HQ) provides safe, unique, meaningful and extremely affordable volunteer programs in 30 countries around the world, with a constantly expanding base. Programs are available in Asia, Africa, and Latin America, where IVHQ works alongside local NGOs to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities. Currently, IVHQ has programs in Bali, Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Morocco, China, Nepal, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Victoria Falls, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Laos, the Philippines, Transylvania, Italy and Fiji!
Whether you're taking a volunteer vacation, a gap year, or on a career break, IVHQ has a wide variety of programs ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks to fit anyone's schedule. Browse through the programs below and visit the IVHQ website for more information.