Are there opportunities to interact with other volunteers?

Posted by Lydia Van voorhis 1 year 10 months ago

I have an intermediate level of spanish. While I am conversational I think it would make me feel better to know there are other volunteers close by if I need a break.

Answers

There is a week long orientation in the beginning of the program. If volunteers participate in summer or winter camps as counselors, they work with other volunteers (both native English speakers and Chilean English teachers). It is possible and inexpensive to travel on weekends to see other volunteers, however Chile is a HUGE country. The nearest volunteers for myself were over 1 hour away. The program emphasizes integration into your Chilean community, spending time with coworkers from your school, your head teacher, and your host family. Remember that as a volunteer you are working in Chile to SERVE OTHERS - in this case in particular, teenagers from vulnerable backgrounds - and if that is not your priority, this program might not be a good fit for you.

I was in Santiago which is the most populated city in Chile, so there were more volunteers within a close range (within a subway ride) to where I was placed. If you are in smaller or more secluded areas of Chile, there may not be volunteers close by. However, you can always make plans to meet people on weekends or school holidays to travel together.Also, keep in mind that the program encourages you to spend as much time with your family and community as possible, but ultimately that is up to you. I hope that's helpful!

In the training yep. After that I ended up being near a few volunteers and we got together regularly. It really depends on the region you are placed in.

There are opportunities to interact with other volunteers. Before departing for host cities, all of the volunteers attend a week-long orientation in Santiago, Chile. It's a great way to network and bond with other volunteers. In our host cities, opportunities to interact with other volunteer vary. Some volunteers are placed in the same location, while others are the only ones in their host city.

When you arrive in Chile, you go through a week-long training with all the other volunteers from your "session", and you all stay in the same hostel, so you get to know each other pretty well. You are usually at least somewhat nearby other volunteers, so that does provide a break sometimes. You'll also have your English teacher "mentor" and potentially someone from your host family to talk to in English. It is very tiring to have to speak Spanish all the time, but it is actually extremely helpful for your Spanish...so try to see it as a growth opportunity!

Anyway, yes, there are opportunities to interact with other volunteers as a general rule. You have orientation during the first week with all the volunteers across the country. Whether or not there are other volunteers in your town depends on where you are placed and how many placements are in the area (and whether it is a large city or a small town). There are other volunteers in the region, however, and when I was there we arranged to meet up a few different times throughout my time there. Somebody in the country is almost always up to travel together, so there are options.

It really depends on where you get placed. Some people had other volunteers in the same town, so they could communicate with them. I personally didn't have anyone around me, so I had to deal with life on my own. That being said, when you are having your interview and in the comments section of the application, you can stress that you would like to be placed near another volunteer. And keep your fingers crossed that they respect that request!