I joined Mente Argentina for a two month volunteer program combined with Spanish lessons, and I can confidently say it was truly an amazing opportunity.
For starters, Mili and Sam, both of whom got me set up when I first got to Buenos Aires, were kind, welcoming, responsive, and made sure that I had everything I needed throughout the duration of the program. They both put in so much work every day to make these programs fun, interesting, and eye-opening for everyone involved. Mente additionally puts on weekly activities for all of its participants, where individuals can get to know one another and create community. I would strongly recommend that everyone go to as many of these as possible, as it is a great way to meet new people and explore areas of the city that you aren’t as knowledgeable about. Through these events, I was able to visit a theatre, museums, restaurants, the Japanese Garden, and many more.
The volunteer work that I did focused around a home for children, and I was able to play with and develop connections with kids ages 0-12. Every day, I would travel to this home for a few hours, bring games and art for the kids, and sometimes help them with a meal as well. It was both a great way to practice Spanish, as well as an amazing opportunity to learn more about what life is like for a young student in the city. I felt like my time here was very well-spent, and I came out of this position with a much better understanding of the schooling and healthcare systems in Argentina as well.
For my housing, I was able to stay in a residence for students attending university in Buenos Aires. I had three roommates for the majority of my stay, two of which were from Ecuador and one who was from Northern Argentina. I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to get to know them, and they made me feel welcomed from the moment I arrived.
All in all, I would strongly recommend Mente Argentina for anyone looking for an immersive, independent experience in an urban city. The volunteer program and Spanish lessons work with your schedule, so you develop a sustainable routine while still having plenty of time to explore the city on your own. There are many fun day trips as well from the city center, such as taking the ferry to Colonia in Uruguay or going up to the delta Tigre in a nearby province. I am so appreciative for everyone that I met during my time with Mente and I hope to return to Buenos Aires someday soon! Below are a few photos from my stay-