Affordable Volunteer Programs in Colombia from $270

By IVHQ Reviewer Verified   Reviews (14)   90% Rating

Volunteers are needed in Colombia to join a range of highly affordable projects for durations ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks. Based in the capital city of Bogota, volunteers are welcomed to assist on a range of community-driven projects. Volunteers are accommodated in volunteer houses alongside other international volunteers. While Spanish is not required in order to participate on the program, volunteers can enjoy taking discounted Spanish lessons during their time on the program.

Current IVHQ Volunteer Programs in Colombia:

  • Teaching
  • Childcare
  • Caring for the Elderly
  • Feeding the Homeless
  • Construction and Renovation

Highlights

  • Programs available year-round, starting on the 1st and 15th of each month
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $270 for 1 week
  • Community-driven projects focused on supporting local needs and delivering sustainable positive impacts
  • Superior support services both pre-departure and while volunteering
  • Free online volunteer training for all IVHQ volunteers
  • Affordable Spanish language lessons available
  • Between 5 and 20 IVHQ volunteers start in Colombia each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Colombia with fellow volunteers - explore the Caribbean, Andes and more!
View Program Information
Location: 
  • ColombiaBogota
Program Length: 
1-2 weeks
2-4 weeks
1-3 months
3-6 months
Cost: 
See site for details.
Cost Description: 

Colombia Program Fee includes - airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

Volunteer Types: 
Age Group: 
50+
Language: 
English
Spanish
Housing: 
Apartment
Home-stay
Application: 
Online Application
Age Requirement

Questions & Answers

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Program Reviews (14)

90%
Positive
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  • Impact
    89%
  • Support
    90%
  • Fun
    91%
  • Value
    89%
  • Safety
    93%
  • Jacob
    Age: 18 or younger
    Male
    Norfolk, England
    University of Exeter
    8/10
    Teaching English in Colombia
    04/14/2016

    I volunteered teaching English in Bogota for 3 weeks, however I by the end of my 3 week programme I had in fact volunteered on a number of different projects, which was really interesting! The opportunity to volunteer on these various projects was something I enjoyed about the programme in Bogota. I remember one day I had signed up to volunteer on the 'feeding the homeless' programme, and left the house in the morning with fellow volunteers on the programme. Once we arrived at the building in which we were to prepare food and meals for the homeless, we saw some nuns from the area and they were going to Soacha (an area just outside Bogota), to distribute supplies and food. They needed some help as there was a lot of food and the supplies were quite heavy, so myself and one other volunteer decided to go along with them and help distribute the supplies. The drive to Soacha was around one hour, however the humour of the nuns made the journey enjoyable! When we arrived there were lots of people lined up and we had to try and control the crowd and give them supplies. After we had distributed all the supplies we returned to Bogota and back to the volunteer house. It was amazing to see the conditions of the area, and to give help to the people there was great.

    How could this program be improved?

    The programmes were very enjoyable and it was really good to be able to choose and experience all, however at times there were quite a lot of volunteers on one programme and other programmes had few volunteers on that day, so maybe slightly more organised choices.

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  • Tae'shaona
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Boston, MA
    Boston University
    10/10
    Life-changing sounds like a cliche
    01/22/2016

    How do I describe my experience without sounding like every traveler who's ever gone somewhere new? How do I explain how affected I was by my trip? I don't think any words could truly do it justice because it wasn't the sites and it wasn't the people. It was the emotions. The feelings that I don't think I ever could have felt in any other place.

    I spent 5 weeks in Bogota, Colombia. Primarily, my time was spent in a daycare in Soacha. I fell in love with those kids. So much so that I couldn't keep from crying on my last day. They gave me hugs and kisses and I wish that I could have stayed. This program was more than just an opportunity to do good. I don't have many applicable skills. I can't eradicate poverty. I am not a health care professional. I don't have any fancy degrees. All I have is my dedication to making people feel better. I went to Bogota thinking I could change lives. That isn't realistic. I didn't do that. I know. I doubt those kids really think about me anymore but I know that I made a difference in their days. I know that we laughed a lot and they taught me funny words in Spanish that didn't mean what they thought they did and I know that they were happy and smiling when we all went home. And that matters to me. That made a difference to me.

    I think if you want to volunteer with IVHQ, it shouldn't be from the perspective of wanting to save people. Because chances are, they're going to end up saving you instead. You're going to go someplace amazing and you may have a lasting effect on the people you meet and you may not. They may not remember you but you'll remember them. Those experiences will become an indistinguishable aspect of your identity and you will grow more than you thought you had the room to. You will love more than you ever thought you could. You will come back a little different. And that's alright. Look forward to it. Think about where you're going to go next and what you're going to do and the all ways you'll change.

    Photos:
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    Response from IVHQ
    02/19/2016

    Hi Tae'shaona, It's nice to hear from you. We are glad to hear you had such a positive experience in Bogota. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

  • Neha
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Sydney
    University of New South Wales
    10/10
    Life changing experience
    12/20/2015

    I was only in Bogota for a short 2 weeks, but to go was the best decision I ever made! The house felt like my home, and I made life long friends here. There was a nice balance between volunteering and being able to have free time to go do things on your own. What I loved the most was being able to volunteer at all the projects offered. I had signed up for childcare initially, but the flexibility in Bogota meant that I was able to volunteer with the homeless, at the abuelitas, at the orphanage as well as teaching English at the summer school. Teaching English was actually my favourite project, and I never would have known how much I actually enjoy teaching if it weren't for the flexibility of the volunteer work in Bogota.
    Colombia is an amazing place and the country and people I have met will always have a special place in my heart!
    I would go back and volunteer in a heart beat!

    Photos:
    Playing with the niños at the orphanage
    Botero Museum, Bogotá
    Some of my favourite children at the Summer School - Teaching English
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    Response from IVHQ
    02/21/2016

    Hi Neha, Thanks for sharing your feedback. It's great to hear that you felt at home in the volunteer accommodation in Colombia and that your volunteer experience was such positive one. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

  • Emelie
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    St. Louis, Missouri
    Principia College
    10/10
    Great Volunteer Experience in Bogota Colombia through IVHQ
    08/13/2015

    IVHQ provides a safe and exciting environment to not only give to people in need, but also to travel and explore overseas. IVHQ allows flexibility in choosing where to volunteer in order to personalize the experience and provides opportunities to immerse yourself in the culture and fun of your home city. A great way to explore a new place while also giving back.

    How could this program be improved?

    The food was delicious but sometimes ran out quickly. However, the house leaders are very good about accommodating peoples' needs.

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    Response from IVHQ
    10/12/2015

    Hi Emelie, Thanks for the recommendation. Thanks for being an IVHQer and we look forward to having you on another IVHQ program again in the future.

  • Isabel
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Switzerland
    Other
    10/10
    Wonderful Experience
    01/08/2015

    It was such a wonderful but also intense experience for me. I learnt a lot about colombia and its people. The organisation does e really great job and everything was well organized. The porjects are very different and everywhere is help needed. It felt so good to do something useful.

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    Response from IVHQ
    01/08/2015

    Hi Isabel, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on your experience volunteering in Colombia with IVHQ. We hope to have you volunteer with us again soon.

  • Tim
    Age: 25-30
    Male
    West Chester,Pa
    Widener University
    9/10
    Emerging Voices!!!
    03/09/2013

    My experience with Emerging Voices in Bogota, Colombia was life altering. This was my first service trip and I was quite nervous. I arrived at night and an Emerging Voices staff member was waiting for me as I made it through customs. As we headed toward the apartment, Susi the Emerging Voices staff member, let me know some general do's and don'ts of Colombia. The apartment was very spacious and comfortable. The next day I went to my first project at Hogar, a orphanage. While at Hogar, I was so happy to see the kids and they were happy to see me. As they ran up to me and the other volunteers with open arms. My time at Hogar was mostly spent outside playing with the kids! Running around with the kids I quickly felt the effects of the thin air as I was quickly out of breathe.

    Unfortunately, I was only in Bogota for 8 days so I did not get to see a lot of tourist attractions. Although the backdrop of the Andes Mountains was the only sight I needed. It was so surreal to me. As the week progressed I had the opportunity to accompany Monica, EV's Director, to Soacha. On this particular day, I was able to sit in on parent orientation for the upcoming school year. It was at Soacha where I felt I could be the best help. The students are so smart and anxious to learn. I left Soacha with the desire to do more and I plan to return very soon.

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  • Darrell
    Age: 51 or older
    Male
    Burnsville, NC
    10/10
    Wonderful Experience
    03/01/2013

    The staff and accomodations were excellent. This experience was life changing. I felt supported and was regularly updated and assisted. The staff were always available in person or by phone. A staff person travelled with us each day to the different programs. All of the programs expectations were clearly met.

    How could this program be improved?

    I can't think of anything I would change.

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  • Voyager
    Age: 19-24
    Male
    Austin, Texas
    9/10
    You get out what you put in
    02/11/2013

    -Prior to traveling, pro travelers as myself ask questions and raise concerns regarding the safety of our destination. Though that is not my priority, it was to several volunteers that I shared my experience with. I can candidly state that I NEVER felt unsafe in Bogota. The location of the apartment is in a residential area with great access to the public transportation.
    - I think for every volunteer considering this trip, you should remember that public transportation costs gradually accumulate. When budgeting, do no forget to include taxi, bus, and transmillnium cost.
    -Next, the food at the apartment. Great food! Meals were provided 3 times a day. Do know that weekends and holidays (even if the holiday falls on a weekday, which is basically every other Monday in Colombia) YOU are responsible for your food. As far as snacks, there are some available at the apartment, but when considering that there could be 16 volunteers at once, who knows regarding the abundance of the snacks. The cook is very good with catering to any allergies one may have or dietary restrictions.
    - The work cites/projects are varied. You can work anywhere from childcare to working on English with wounded soldiers. I titled this review "you get what you put in" because of the volunteer experience. If you desire to establish relationships and network while in Colombia, the opportunity is there. But if you decide that you are a little shy, or quiet and just want to keep to yourself, you may not enjoy as much as you could. Basically, do not let yourself get in a bubble. If you are afraid to step out of your comfort zone, this will be a great challenge and experience for you.
    - The social scene is amazing! Dancing, drinking, networking, meeting other foreigners! All really great experiences. Along with other volunteers, you would have almost created a little family. I still remain in communication with other volunteers. Go if you are able to. You will not regret it.

    How could this program be improved?

    - Don't be as transparent with the economical struggles of the program to the volunteers. Then the volunteers will almost feel guilt tripped.

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  • HomelessinBogota
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Stockholm, Sweden
    9/10
    Working with homeless in Bogota
    12/05/2012

    Before coming to Colombia I had no idea what to expect from neither the country nor the volonteer programs. From the very start the staff at Emerging voices made me feel welcome and comfortable.

    I decided to split my time between two programs; feeding the homeless and teaching in Soacha. I absolutely LOVED working with the homeless and only wish I could spend more time with the wonderful staff and thankful homeless people that I got to work and hang out with there. Theaching in Soacha was also great fun and the kids wonderful! However, due to the christmas holiday the teaching was not really as I had expected. Instead of ordinary classes there was a group of kids coming for "workshops" three days a week. Although I enjoyed playing with them it would have been good to know in advance (perhaps on IVHQ's web page) when there are holidays at the schools and so on. For me personally this wasn't a big issue - since I mainly worked with the homeless - but if teaching would have been my first choice this would probably have made me a bit disappointed.

    Since the accommodation of Emerging Voices is located in one of Bogota's richest and safest areas I never felt unsafe or scared of leaving the house by myself. However, being in a safer area naturally contributes to higher costs and although the Colombian prices are lower than in my home country I soon discovered that it was hard not to spend more money than planned.

    In general I really enjoyed staying in Bogota and I am so glad I came here! At first the crowded apartment (we were 16 volonteers when I came), the curfew and the preset dining hours made me feel like a teenager at a summer camp. However, the lady that runs the organisation, Monica, and her staff were really understanding, professional and caring and felt more like friends than supervisors.

    I would definitely recommend others to come and join EV in Bogota, most of all working with the homeless.

    How 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).

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  • Mona
    Age: 31-50
    Female
    Warsaw
    Other
    10/10
    Colombia - go there! You will love it!
    05/09/2012

    I would definitely go again!

    The staff, the apartment (in one of the safest and nicest neighborhoods of Bogota!) and food was excellent.

    My favorite project was working with blind kids. They are adorable! I miss them so badly!

    Bogota never sleeps, like New York ;). You will like it!

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  • MmmmHmmm
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Queensland, Australia
    Queensland University of Technology
    3/10
    I did not enjoy my experience in with Emerging Voices
    05/08/2012

    If you are looking for freedom, this is not the program for you. At 19 years old I have honestly never felt so over-parented in my life. The woman who runs the place, named Monica, lives in the apartment with the volunteers and holds the only key to the front door. Prospective volunteers should be aware of the cultural differences in colombia which seemingly dictated her ridiculously over-protective actions. We were told that in Colombia you are a child until you get married and have children, which was evident in the way we were treated like children.

    Volunteers are not allowed to drink inside the apartment, and there is a curfew 7 nights a week. We were also not allowed to hang out in a room together with someone of the opposite sex, be it watching a film or anything, it was reason to be kicked out. Volunteers are rarely allowed to go out alone and must inform Monica where you are going, how long you will be gone for etc every time you leave the house.

    A few days after I arrived I had the immovable feeling that Monica hated me. I found her incredibly intimidating and unreasonable and when we had continuing problems with communication at our placement she always assumed it was the volunteers who were at fault. She would organise expensive trips and outings that many of us could not afford and then get angry when we said we couldn't go. There was often not enough food for breakfast and dinner and she constantly made us aware that she was having financial problems in an effort to guilt trip us or something. She treated the volunteers very personally, if she liked you, she would be your best friend but if she didn't, she would make it known.

    This experience would be great for someone who does not have a rebellious spirit like mine. Admittedly i have never been great with authority figures, and some of the other volunteers would say that they had a great experience. It is my view that if you work hard all week you should be able to party hard on the weekends. I hated being treated like i was 14, but a positive minded person who is well disciplined would still gain a good experience out of this.

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    Response from IVHQ
    12/07/2012

    We 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.

  • Margaret
    Age: 31-50
    Female
    Sydney, Australia
    University of Canberra
    9/10
    You will love Colombia...
    05/08/2012

    I partipated in the 6 week program and then extended as I was enjoying it so much. I initially signed up for teaching children but at orientation the founder Monica shows me some other projects and I ended up choosing to work with injured military veterans.

    The soldiers and officers in my class were learning English to become English instructors with the hope of attending a more advanced course in the USA.

    My daily routine consisted of breakfast at 7.30am with all the other volunteers, preparation for my class and then class between 10am and 1pm. I would then often stay at the military to provide additional tuition to the students or other soldiers learning English.

    I also had the opportunity to work at some of the other project - cooking lunch for the abandoned Grandmas and helping with a self defence class for the teenage girls at the orphanage.I also organised for my military class to go on a field trip to the orphanage where they taught an English class. It was a proud moment for me and both the soldiers and kids loved it.

    In terms of safety and fun, I found Bogota to be safe, especially in the area where our apartment is. There are lots of opportunities to visit the local attractions and plenty to do! The nightlife is so much fun - everybody dances and has a great time!

    I took Spanish lessons twice a week which were very affordable at 30,000 for 1 hour 30 mins (about $15).

    Finally, Colombians are so friendly, fun and welcoming - there is so much need in Colombia but you will also have a great time too. I think that is the perfect mix!

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About the provider

IVHQ (International Volunteer HQ) provides safe, unique, meaningful and extremely affordable volunteer programs in 32 countries around the world, with a constantly expanding base. Programs are available in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the Pacific, where IVHQ works alongside local NGOs to provide meaningful volunteer opportunities. Currently, IVHQ has programs in Mexico, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Colombia, Argentina, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Zambia, South Africa, Morocco, Victoria Falls, Madagascar, Bali, China, Nepal, India, Cambodia, Vietnam, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Laos, the Philippines, Fiji, Romania, Italy, Spain and Portugal!

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