Photo of Steph Dyson

Steph Dyson

Go Overseas Writer

Steph is a British travel journalist and former high school English teacher now based in Santiago, Chile. She left the classroom in 2014 and has since been traveling, volunteering and writing about off-the-beaten-trail adventures and experiences in South America.

Undergraduate University
University of York
Reviews
Photo of Steph Dyson
Steph
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent a month volunteering with Up Close Bolivia teaching English classes at the school in Mallasa, as well as helping out with some of their social media and communications and I had a FANTASTIC time.

Not only are the founders Emma and Rolando probably some of the kindest people you will ever meet - they will invite you into their family home for dinner and take a real interest in your experiences on the project - but the projects themselves are meaningful and are having a real impact in the local community. The fact that Emma and Rolando live in the community (the volunteers do too!) means that everyone is committed to the work of UCB and the results of this are noticeable. You feel welcomed by everyone in the local community who appreciate that you are giving your time to help in whatever way you can - believe me, in other volunteering projects I've worked, this isn't always the case!

Working in the local school was wonderful too as the children are so keen and attend the classes outside of normal lessons because they are desperate to learn which makes for really motivated and hardworking students and fun and interesting lessons as a result.

The accommodation and general support that you receive through UCB is brilliant too. Your fee covers super comfortable shared housing and means that you get the support of Anita, the Volunteer Coordinator. She is absolutely wonderful and fully committed to making sure you have the best experience and can be of use to the projects and community. She is exceptionally friendly, speaks impeccable English and will go out of her way to make all volunteers feel welcome.

This is a fantastic organisation who offer a great range of projects that are having a real impact here. You will honestly have a wonderful stay if you choose to volunteer with UCB!

What would you improve about this program?
Splitting the English classes into beginners and advanced groups. I understand this is not currently possible due to numbers of volunteers but it would be really beneficial in the future if there were more volunteers to teach the classes.