Projects Abroad Volunteer Programs in Argentina

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About

Projects Abroad has been sending volunteers overseas since 1992. Our volunteer placements in Argentina involve Teaching, Care, Medicine, Dentistry, Occupational Therapy, Journalism, Human Rights, Sports, Farming, Veterinary Medicine, and Spanish language. As a volunteer in Argentina you will have a direct impact local communities through service projects arranged and coordinated by expect in-country staff.

We hope you will consider joining one of our volunteer programs in Argentina today! You won't regret it.

Questions & Answers

Hi Carmen! Kyle is right, you can absolutely join us at your age! We have had many volunteers in your age group joining us in the past. Our Standard programs don't have an upper age limit so you are welcome to join. However, if you wish to volunteer in a group around people your own age, we do offer what we call "Grown Up Specials", which are exclusive for volunteers above the age of 50. I hope...
I took a look at their site, and most volunteers are 18-25 years old. Many of their projects also do not require any local language experience. Here's the link for more details: http://www.projects-abroad.org/how-it-works/faqs/

Reviews

92%
based on 22 reviews
  • Impact 8.8
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 8.4
  • Value 9.1
  • Safety 9.4
Showing 1 - 15 of 22
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Anneke
10/10

Human Rights Internship in Cordoba, Argentina

I had a great experience in Cordoba, Argentina, and I would recommend it again! I stayed in Cordoba for ten weeks as a human rights intern.

The human rights internship is good for any age or professional level, as it is flexible. We participated regularly in three to four main activities, but we often went to other events and were asked to create our own research projects. My favorite regular thing we did was act as peer mentors for young women in a correctional facility, and my favorite event was marching on International Women's Day in favor of safe, legal abortions and to bring awareness to femicide.

Cordoba is a good city to live in for volunteers with tighter budgets like myself. The city is centered in the Sierra mountains, so there are LOTS of places with day-trip potential nearby, and the buses were inexpensive and reliable. My favorite trips involved hiking--Capilla del Monte and Las Cascadas. In Cordoba, there are art fairs, street performances, and events all the time, as well as some really good art museums.

I would definitely recommend that volunteers brush up on their Spanish! I went with very little, and I was not able to afford PA's Spanish lessons, so I relied mostly on immersion to learn. I learned quite a bit, anyone like me with little Spanish would be able to do it and have a great experience--however having a better grip on the language will give you a more dynamic experience overall. Having spent two and a half months in Argentina I am motivated to learn more Spanish, so that my next experience will be even better. I am planning on taking Spanish when I start school next fall.

I genuinely recommend this project for anyone looking into human rights work as a career, like me. It gives a good, in-depth look at work in the non-profit sector. Additionally, Argentina's past struggles with human rights in the 1970s and 80s gave me context for everything we were working on--it is a good country to learn in and from if you need an introduction to human rights advocacy.

How can this program be improved?
There are parts of the main activities in my project that could have been streamlined to be more effective, however I understand that this partially due to our very new volunteer coordinator (who was really good, even though she was just hired) getting used to the position--in fact, as I was getting ready to leave the coordinator and other volunteers were planning how they could improve the project.
Response from Projects Abroad

Dear Anneke. It sounds like you had a great time in Argentina! There is so much to learn and observe first hand about human rights in this internship so we are glad to hear you were so involved and inspired to even write your own essays. We are sure that this will be an experience that is set to mark your professional path.
Indeed, we are always working hard to innovate and improve our programs and their design so we always welcome volunteers' feedback. Thanks for yours!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Kyle
8/10

More appropriately titled Volun-tourism

The marketing for this program is slightly misleading. The descriptions portray an in-depth and first-hand experience working with doctors. Unfortunately this is not the case, most of the work was observational. To be fair, unless you are a trained medical professional, I wouldn't want you making decisions about my health either. The program does put you in the hospital, and for a go-getter personality, you can interact with the doctors; asking questions, learning about the healthcare system, and the public health concerns of the community. I found that aspect incredibly rewarding.

Everything is in Spanish, you don't need to be confident, but it helps if you can put together sentences. After spending two months there my ability to listen to Spanish increased tremendously. The Projects Abroad Staff do speak English, but why deny yourself this great opportunity. The first time I realized I was having a conversation and not 'thinking' about the words was an amazing moment!

As of the time this post is written, the medical program is not a high level of time commitment (only half day). The current coordinator is working to augment the community service component and opportunities to make more busy work. I found the people of Cordoba to be very friendly and easy to make friends. Additionally, if you have the motivation, you can find additional ways to get involved with the community (for example, I was working with AIDS Health Foundation Argentina). There is always something to do, and the night life is insane (starts at 2AM goes till 6AM)!

The program does offer housing, insurance, and guaranteed food from your host family. However, the traditional style foods or Argentina lack variety. After a few weeks, your flavor palate will crave something different, so be prepared because sometimes you may want to treat yourself to ice cream, beer, coffee, or a full-dinner.

Lastly the tourism part, it is very much doable, at your own expense. The country is HUGE and there is a lot to see. The most cost effective means of travel is bus, but expect half-a-day journey just to arrive. If you choose to fly the cost adds up, but it can be very quick. I choose to do a bus overnighter as the seats are semi-cama (half-beds) and lay flatter than an economy airplane seat. This saved on the cost of hotel for a night and mitigated travel times.

How can this program be improved?
More opportunities for the Medical Volunteers to learn medicine practices. More workshops or talks.
Response from Projects Abroad

Dear Kyle.

We are happy to hear that overall your experience was satisfactory and that you were able to learn from the doctors you were interacting with. We regret if there was any confusion as to what to expect in your program. We do take honesty very seriously in all of our marketing efforts and work very hard to depict our programs accurately. We make sure to inform all volunteers who sign up for medical projects that the work we offer is observational and a learning experience from qualified doctors. Hands-on work with patients can never be guaranteed as volunteers are not qualified doctors, just like you point out in your post. In short, volunteers are able to do anything that you would legally be allowed to do here in the US.

To add even more value to the medical projects in Argentina we have already implemented more hours at the hospitals and more outreaches in different communities.

Thank you for your feedback!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Emily
9/10

Volunteering In Argentina

I had a great experience in Argentina with Projects Abroad. They were very helpful and easy to reach out to if I ever needed anything. I met some other volunteers who I worked with throughout my stay so it was really cool to be able to get to know people from other parts of the world. I also had some free time everyday after my volunteering in which I explored some of the city a little bit everyday. I enjoyed being able to have that free time outside of volunteering.

Response from Projects Abroad

Dear Emily. Sounds like you had a great time in Argentina! Making friends from around the world is one of the perks of volunteering abroad. Hopefully you can stay in touch with them and visit them soon. Thanks for sharing!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Suma
9/10

2 Weeks in Argentina

Volunteering in Cordoba, Argentina through Projects Abroad was an amazing experience! I specifically chose to go to Argentina because I had prior interest in Spanish and South American culture. Growing up as a huge football fan, I idolized Messi and was immediately drawn to Argentina when I found that they had the placement I wanted. My project was a two week high school special for medicine and spanish. By being in a high school special, my parents were reassured that I would be safe at all times, and I was also relieved that I would be with others since I came to Argentina knowing very little Spanish. Projects Abroad staff was amazing, and all of my questions before and during my trip were answered promptly.
I was picked up at the hospital and taken to my host family. Even with my minimal spanish knowledge, I was comfortable and became friends with my fellow volunteers. The doctors I shadowed were kind, and I learned a lot during my time there. Also, we did many outside activities such as salsa dancing and shopping at the flea market that made me connect to local Argentinian culture. I found my trip to be meaningful and still one of the greatest things I’ve done.
Volunteering abroad teaches you the differences between American culture and other cultures. Even in hospitals, I can now appreciate the advances the United States has compared to developing countries, and I will take this knowledge with me as I continue into college and further studies. Everyone that entered with an open mind succeeded in Argentina. Overall, I would definitely recommend volunteering through Projects Abroad. While it was expensive, I felt that the experience was meaningful and worth the money. Time really flew by but I loved every day I spent there.

How can this program be improved?
I would've loved to stay in Argentina a little longer, but a 2 week program was good for a high schooler. In the future I will do a longer program.
Yes, I recommend
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Durant
7/10

Medical Program review

During my time at Projects abroad, I had the opportunity to both participate in the medical project, and partially the human rights project. This was not my first time going abroad, however if it had been, I would have found the support staff of projects abroad to be more than sufficient. One of the nicest things to have when traveling is someone to meet and guide you from the airport. Projects abroad staff was there from the beginning at the airport and helped to get me comfortable with the city of Cordoba. While I interacted with my mentor during the medical project every day, it was rare to actually coordinate something during my six weeks with the medical staff at projects abroad. This was probably due to being the only medical volunteer for around 4 weeks. My normal day consisted of waking up around 7 and being by the bus stop around 730. Arriving at the hospital around 830, I would then observe 2-3 operations, and ask questions whenever I liked. Afterwards I would go home where my family would have lunch ready for me. During the night, I would then be free to do as I like. Often that would be going on to participate in the human rights project, where we would interact with homeless populations. This was often one of my favorite times because it meant I was able to interact with the local population in a new way. The projects abroad staff with the human rights project were extremely active with the activities. This actually was one of my favorite parts of my time in Argentina. Other volunteers were interesting to interact with as they brought many other perspectives, cultures, and languages to the table. The time spent with them felt much like the time on my exchange. The culture of argentina was also interesting to interact with as an American, and I learned a lot about how to be more relaxed with my time. It was also an adaptation to become accustomed the food or Argentina, which is very different to that in the US. Overall, it was a great experience, and I learned a lot about my future career, and own culture during my time with Projects abroad.

How can this program be improved?
If there was more outreach into the community by the medical staff.
Yes, I recommend
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Anna
10/10

Human Rights & Law in Argentina

I loved the month that I got to spend in Cordoba, Argentina working on the High School Special Law & Human Rights. We focused on two main projects- working with an NGO that works with the homeless of Cordoba to express themselves creatively as well as a residential care center for boys. Both of these activities were very meaningful. Some of my favorite memories from the trip were getting to meet the people at both of these activities, for example, working with one homeless man to create a poem or playing soccer at the park with the boys. I felt like, even though we were only in high school, we were still able to make a real difference with the help of our coordinators. In addition to these projects, another main aspect of our project was learning about human rights, particularly in Argentina. We got to learn about the dictatorship period in Argentina, and we even got the opportunity to visit two detention centers and speak to a survivor from one of them, which was an amazing experience. We also took daily Spanish lessons, got to live with a host family to further improve our Spanish and did several activities such as cooking and dancing lessons as well as visited several interesting places such as Che Guevara's house and beautiful mountainside hikes to learn more about the local culture. All in all, it was a wonderful experience and I would highly recommend it!

Yes, I recommend
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Jillian
10/10

Alternative Spring Break 2016

My Project Abroad trip was unfortunately only a week long. I think it was the best experience I could have asked for. I feel very lucky to have been part of this program. We spent 4 days shadowing a doctor and watching surgeries in a local hospital which was an amazing experience. We also spent a day in an underprivileged community performing diabetes screenings to help raise awareness. Probably my favorite day involved dissection of a cadaver at a local anatomy museum. The projects abroad staff was there every step of the way to help with anything we needed. I think that if you are the edge of applying for this program, you should. It was one of the best weeks of my life and was worth every cent.

How can this program be improved?
I would've gone longer.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Marina
10/10

Great Projects Abroad experience!

I chose the medical volunteering project in Argentina, and haven't looked back since! It was a wonderful experience, and my only regret is not staying longer! Volunteering in the hospital isn't particularly hands on if you're not a medical student or don't have medical experience (obviously), but you do get hands-on experience in community education aspects. I also volunteered in the human rights area as well, which was extremely hands on and very rewarding. There is also a lot of flexibility, which I really enjoyed. During the week, we were able to explore Cordoba, and during the weekend, we were able to explore Argentina, and even some other countries like Chile and Uruguay! I had the most incredible experience, and would absolutely do it all again if I had the chance.

How can this program be improved?
Lower cost
Yes, I recommend
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Shelby
10/10

My Argentinan Medical Family

Even with the lack of resources, and increased obstacles, the doctors continued to be extremely passionate in providing the best care possible. They would often take time to lecture parents to change their lifestyles for the betterment of their child’s health (ex. quit smoking so they can afford soap). Those five weeks taught me how passionate I want to be as a future healthcare provider.
When my time in Argentina was quickly coming to an end, I became saddened by having to leave my Kinesiology family at the hospital. Till this day I miss the eleven students that became my close friends, who taught me about life in Argentina and life in the health care world. I gained a Mother in the hospital as well, Pato, the head of the Kinesiology department, who took care of me while I was sick and taught me the importance of passion. It is comforting to know I will always have family in Argentina.
I plan to return to Argentina to visit my Kinesiology family, and I already know that some of them have booked trips to visit me this coming January.

How can this program be improved?
Prior to project assignment, provide details on different placement options available to volunteers.
Yes, I recommend
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Emily
9/10

Incredible Trip!

I could not have asked for a better experience volunteering in Argentina with Projects Abroad. I have traveled internationally before doing volunteer work and this was by far the most organized company/organization I have ever been with. Everyone at the office is so helpful and will personally assist you with any issues or concerns you may have. For example, I had trouble finding an ATM that would allow me to withdraw money and one of the coordinators walked me from bank to bank to help me solve the problem.

The Law & Human Rights project is awesome! The coordinator, Vicky, is amazing! I spent 3 months working with this office and found my work diversified and challenging. I was able to work with young children and teens who were living in government institutions, along with the homeless, incarcerated youth, and victims of all sorts of human rights abuses. The office staff is great at getting you plugged in, but you also have to be willing to dive in head first! I worked long days, at least 8 hours but the staff is so understanding and easy to communicate with about work and personal issues.

My host mom was great! I must admit I had some concerns regarding a host family but it turned out better than I could have hoped. I was assigned a roommate and I am so grateful! I made friends with other volunteers and was able to see some of their homes as well, and I can say that all of the host homes I saw were very clean and the families were so friendly! The office is great about planning social events so that you can meet other volunteers - one week they do a social and the other they do a community day where volunteers get together and...volunteer! This is an awesome way to meet volunteers from other projects outside of Law & Human Rights.

How can this program be improved?
Having fluent Spanish speaking be a requirement for volunteers! Due to the nature of the work with the community and vulnerable people, it is critical that you be able to communicate with clients! Knowing as much Spanish as possible will absolutely alter your experience.
Yes, I recommend
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Jessi
9/10

My Time with Projects Abroad

As I am still in high school, I wasn’t able to spend months abroad, so I decided to stay closer to home, North America, and travel to Argentina, to volunteer at a child center for a week. While I do wish that I had been able to stay longer, my time abroad was absolutely amazing! From the moment that I arrived, the Projects Abroad staff members met me with full support, and although I was extremely nervous to be by myself in a foreign country, unable to speak Spanish, they quickly helped me adjust. I was immediately taken to my host moms’ house, where she greeted me very kindly, and then allowed me to sleep off my jet lag.
From the day I arrived to the day I left, my host mom was wonderful; she loved to have conversations, she told me all about Argentina and its history, and the food she prepared for me was ridiculously good. On my first day there, she took my to this place in Argentina called the Artisans Market, where she showed me all of the hand-crafted, homemade items some Argentinian people were selling. On my second day in Argentina, I was picked up by a staff member who gave me a tour of the city, showed me how to get to the office, my placement, and a general idea of how to navigate around the city. For me, this was so helpful, as I am absolutely horrible with directions, yet, with his help, I found myself able to navigate around the city with ease. He answered any questions I had, and made sure I found the Projects Abroad Facebook page, so that I would be able to easily connect with other volunteers.
Because I was only in Argentina for a week, I wasn’t able to volunteer as much as I would have liked; however, I still had an amazing experience. I was placed at a child center in the outskirts of Cordoba, Argentina, where I helped care for toddlers. Because I was there around Easter, we were able to make chocolate Easter eggs for the kids, and decorate the center, which was such a fun activity! I will say that being around kids who speak only Spanish was a little intimidating at first; however, I found that communicating with 3 year olds isn’t necessarily the most difficult challenge, so I resorted to playing games, puzzles, and watching cartoons with the kids. One of the little girls did keep pointing at a bracelet I was wearing, while asking me what it was, but I found that if I just kept smiling at her, or pulled out a different puzzle, she would quickly lose interest in my bracelet. (I couldn’t answer because I have absolutely no idea how to say bracelet in Spanish).
Overall, volunteering in Argentina was an amazing experience; the country is beautiful, the people are so kind, and the Projects Abroad staff in Argentina was so helpful, and they were constantly making sure I had everything I needed. I’m so happy I was given the opportunity for such a wonderful experience, and I am already planning a second trip through Projects Abroad for next year!

How can this program be improved?
Making the program more inexpensive.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Lucy
10/10

Choosing ProjectsAbroad is the best decision I've ever made.

My project in Argentina was a High School Special that allowed me to study, volunteer, and travel in Cordoba, Argentina. There, I stayed with a host family and 3 other ProjectsAbroad program members. Every day, we would volunteer in a local, underprivileged kindergarten and then take Spanish lessons in the afternoon. On the weekends, we would have fun events planned with the rest of the program. It was so cool to meet so many people from around the world! That was definitely my favorite part. Learning about the different cultures and languages was so fascinating for me. After this trip, I felt like I had made life-long friends. I can't wait to visit them in the future, but I am extremely thankful that ProjectsAbroad gave me this opportunity in the first place.
As for the staff, the ProjectsAbroad staff was wonderful. If I ever had a question, I always felt comfortable enough to ask. The program was incredibly organized and structured. However, I did have a problem with the supervision. Because I was in a High School Special, the supervision was very strict. Sometimes I would want to travel the city my myself to do casual things like go to the grocery store. With the structure of this program, however, a coordinator was to travel with the volunteers at all times. Although this is the safer way to go, I did not always like this rule. Overall, the trip was perfect. I have only good things to say of ProjectsAbroad.

How can this program be improved?
If I could change one thing, I think I would have liked more time to do things on my own. The project has a very tight schedule, and I felt exhausted every day. I liked that there was always something to do, as it prevented myself from staying in too often, but I wish that some of the activities would have been optional. For example, as a social we went ziplining in the mountains. I am a person who is afraid of heights, so this event wasn't very fun for me. I was not forced to participate, but I would have rather gone shopping or something... on the ground.
Yes, I recommend
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Jessica
9/10

My time in Argentina

I truly loved my time in Argentina and would love to be able to go back! I work in a daycare facility with 0-4 year olds planning activities and helping with day to day tasks. The kids were incredible and I loved forming relationships with them in the three weeks I was at the facility. We did acitivites such as paint Easter eggs, make masks to learn the parts of the face, and decorate the letters of the alphabet which we then hung up around the building. Telling them all good-bye was extremely hard but knowing that I was able to help them was incredible. I raised additional money for my trip and was able to donate money to the facility as well as buy supplies such as books, workbooks, art supplies, and toys for the chidlren. Bringing them to them on my last day was the most rewarding experience I have ever had. One of the gifts was a sticker book and I left with stickers all over my shirts, hands, and even my face. :) I would reccomend this type of placement to anyone. These kids need great volunteers who will really jump in and help.

How can this program be improved?
The only change I would make is having the ability as a volunteer to experience a number of different programs. I was off work every day by 2 pm and would have loved to go experience 2 or 3 of the other placements to see what other volunteers jobs were like.
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
SCarey93
10/10

Mind-Blowing & Eye-Opening

Projects Abroad – Una Estancia En Argentina

With eagerness and trepidation, I peeled away the back of the envelope and became awash with disappointment and sadness. After having achieved excellent grades in my final school year and having had an interview at Medical School, I had not received a place to study Medicine in 2012. I was completely infuriated with the system, and did not have a clue what I would do with the whole year that I now had ahead.
Thankfully, after a prolonged browse on the internet, I came across Projects Abroad – an international volunteering organisation which takes volunteers aged 16-75 to developing countries all over the world. Immediately, I was intrigued. I saw that there would be an Information Evening in London later on in the month and decided that it would be for the best if I were to go along with my parents to find out more. This would later turn out to be one of the wisest decisions I had made in my eighteen years of living and breathing. After hearing an ex-volunteer speak of her experiences in Tanzania, I was so enticed that the disappointment of not going straight to university to study Medicine had fallen a long way into the past.
Returning home that evening, I leafed through Projects Abroad’s website and was finding it particularly difficult to whittle down my options as to where to go. Having studied Spanish at A-Level and having achieved an A, I thought it would be wise to put it to good use in the wider world and settled on South America. Having heard so much about the past-relationship between the UK and Argentina, I became fixated with the country and decided that it was the destination for me.
Credits cards out and application form completed, my adventure was nigh-on beginning.
In the build-up to leaving, Projects Abroad were in contact with me almost every week after having created a page for me on their website. This page listed everything from: a suggested itinerary to details about my host family and work placement. I also received calls from the Argentinean Team who wanted to make sure that I was not too nervous about coming and if I had any questions that I wanted to ask. It became immediately clear that Projects Abroad have been doing this for 21 years now and that they really are at the top of their game with awesome organisational skill!
Before I knew it, September 2012 had arrived and I was stood at check-in at Heathrow with my parents behind me (with a bottle of champagne in their hands about to celebrate my immanent departure I’m sure)! I flew from London to Madrid and caught my connection to Buenos Aires, before taking a bus into the city centre and catching a pan-Argentine coach to Córdoba.
I arrived in Córdoba absolutely devoid of even a morsel of energy, but brimming with excitement that I was in an entirely new environment a very long way away from home. I was met by my co-ordinator at the bus station, from where we travelled together by taxi to my host family’s house which was in the almost-centre of town. Stepping out of the taxi with all my luggage and standing at the gates to the house, I could feel my heart pounding through my skin and bone with anticipation as to finally meeting my new family!
My host mother, Elena, opened the front door and came to the gate, greeting me with the largest of large smiles and kissing me on both cheeks, wrapping her arms around me, welcoming me to her home and Argentina. I was not quite sure what had shocked me more: the all-embracing Argentine-stranger welcome or that my tiny host mother had managed to reach around my tall shoulders to hug me!
I can honestly say that I have never experienced such as high standard of hospitality quite like Argentine hospitality. My room was very spacious and the bed was unbelievable soft and comfortable – better than my bed back in the UK in fact! The food was unreal, and when Projects Abroad initially told me that Elena was a good cook, I did not realise that meant that she would be quite so good. I absolutely adore Argentinean food and local specialities, although I must confess, the inner-lining of a cow’s stomach was not quite so appealing! However, my host mother said to me from the beginning that if there was anything that I did not like the taste of, that I could always tell her and she would not make it for me again.
To give you an idea of what my relationship came to be with my host family, I have Skyped them every single week since returning from Argentina in February with updates as to what I am currently doing and what they are up to. My host parents, Pablo and Elena, and my host sisters, Daniela and Glenda are no longer my ‘host’ family, they are family. I have two mothers, two fathers, and three brothers and sisters who I love and care for more than anyone else in the world. And despite the distance between us, I know that I am just as welcome in their home as I am in my own.
The Argentinean Team who called me during the lead-up to my departure certainly did not fail to make an impression on me when I arrived. They are the coolest of cool! Made up of Argentineans and some internationals, they have all the knowledge that you could ever need. They organised weekly or bi-monthly socials for all of the volunteers to get together and share their experiences so far, and have a westernised chat! We international volunteers would regularly travel around the province with members of the team who were more than keen at showing off all the local area had to offer: waterfalls, breathtaking views and fabulous summertime weather!
As for my work placements, well, where do I begin?! Never in my wildest dreams did I expect to experience such a wide array of specialities and departments.
My medical journey began at the largest Paediatric Hospital in Córdoba - El Hospital de Niño Jesús. From the moment I arrived, the surgeons, anaesthetics and nurses welcomed me with that utter-Argentine embrace (hugs, kisses and more) and I was thrown head-first into surgery. Within just a few weeks and with my new name ‘English’ (as apparently Sam is a little difficult to remember), I was offered the opportunity to scrub-in and assist in operations. When Carolina, one of the most remarkable women I have ever had the pleasure of meeting, asked me whether I would like to assist her, I honestly could not have described at that moment how I was feeling. I did not know whether I was worried about the hours that lay ahead, especially as I had no medical experience whatsoever, or whether I was excited about getting the opportunity to partake in something that students in the UK do not have until F1 or F2 training.
Making my first incision around the burn on the child’s scalp, I felt more concerned with doing a good job than I did thinking about the child, which upon reflection seems not only strange, but pretty-damn selfish. However, I think for the first time I discovered that ‘zone’ and ‘mode’ which medics go into when they are faced with a situation which holds such gravity that it is difficult to know in advance quite how you will cope.
Throughout the operation, Carolina instructed me as to what do and reassured me that I was doing excellently. I did however tell myself that I would instantly announce to her that I was not comfortable with continuing if the situation were to arise.
Returning home after that day, I was so overcome with emotion and sheer disbelief as to what I had just done, that I think I was high on life! My Argentine mother could not believe what I had done and told me that she had not previously had another volunteer do quite so much.
That operation was the first of many events to come that would inspire me for the rest of time. I quickly became accustomed to taking part in open-heart surgery, neurosurgery, amputation, resuscitation, intubation, anaesthetics and the all-round jaw-dropping-ness of Medicine. I knew within days of arriving in Argentina that Medicine would be the vocation that I would endeavour to study for the rest of my days on Earth.
Projects Abroad had provided me with not only an awesome work placement, but also with the most inspiring family to live with. Despite the fact that I was enjoying Paediatric Surgery, I had started to become hungry for more. I took it upon myself to speak to the medics whom I had become very close friends with, and asked them if they knew anyone who worked in A&E or trauma. One of the surgeons told me that he would text his friend that evening and ask whether it would be possible for me to come and work with him for a while.
The next morning, Calvo did not disappoint – his contact said that I would be able to start working with them the following day.
A&E was a whole new ball game. I had never experienced such organised drama and chaos in my life, and I fell in love with it there and then. Watching a team of so many doctors, nurses, anaesthetists and specialists absorb the symptoms and condition of the patient in front of them blew my mind and has fuelled my medical appetite to an extent to which I never knew possible.
One afternoon, Santí and I were sat outside of the main entrance to the hospital trying to cool down as it was a stifling 49°C in Córdoba on that particular summer’s day. As he took a large drag on his cigarette, a taxi flew up the ramp with its horn blaring and its driving screaming his lungs out – he had a reason to. The windscreen was concaved; the glass having imploded upon impact and the bonnet looking as if it had been beaten with metal poles for the last decade. But that was not what stunned me the most. What stunned me the most was the state of the man, or woman, lying on the back seat of the taxi haemorrhaging left, right and centre.
Santí and I roared for our colleagues to come quickly, and quickly did they come. The blood-soaked being was placed on a board and we ran into trauma with him in a frenzy of adrenaline and confusion. Covered in blood, Santí checked for a pulse but found no output. Nurses striped the unknown person of their clothes and began compressing the wounds with dressings in a bid to stop the bleeding. Medics began furious resuscitation on the gentleman and intubated him in a matter of seconds in a desperate attempt to claw back his life. Monitors were attached to his chest and the output machines switched on to give a graphic display of the flat-lined heart rate.
The pummelling continued, doctors and nurses taking alternate roles in efforts to try and salvage yet another life. *B-beep**B-beep**B-beep* went the monitors. “Gracias a Dios” uttered almost everyone under their breath. With his condition having become a little more salvageable, liquid medicines was injected into his veins, lines inserted and the repairing process commencing. After little more than twenty minutes, he was whisked away to the Intensive Care Unit for another team of medical staff to begin work on him.
Covered in blood, sweat and devoid of emotion, we all stepped back and reflected upon those fateful moments before a nurse said, “mate?” Never had I heard such a great suggestion – mate it would be.
Moments like the one I have described above are what influence an individual to go on and follow their dreams, and it was at that moment (among others) that have inspired me not give up in the fight of becoming a doctor, and fortunately enough, those efforts and beliefs have paid off, and I will now be going to study Medicine in September 2014.
However, Projects Abroad is not just about the host families who instil faith and kindness in you, nor is it just about the work placement, it was also about meeting the most incredible group of international volunteers.
In my five months in Argentina, I met the most epic bunch of people I could have ever imagined meeting. Through fate, fortune or design, who really knows, we had come from all over the world at the same time, and had met in Córdoba. They are truly friends for life. All loving the idea of travelling, experiencing new placements and trying new things brought us together in a bond that is different and unique to others.
Most evenings, we would all meet-up in the centre of Córdoba outside Patio Olmos (a very exclusive and expensive shopping centre) before heading off for dinner or a few post-work beverages. Córdoba is literally bursting at the seems with things to do and places to go, and you immediately find your favourites.
The Argentine lifestyle suited us all down to the ground – long days and long nights with little room for sleep, but adrenaline and the furore of happiness are both there to keep you going.
Furthermore, at the weekends we would organise to travel further afield and explore new places and other parts of the country. One weekend, five of my closest friends and I (from Norway, Denmark, Germany, France and Scotland) decided that we would travel to Las Cataratas (Iguazú Falls) on the border of Argentina and Brazil. Alyssa (from Germany) had a host mother who was a travel agent and organised the trip for us.
This trip to Las Cataratas turned out to be the highlight of my time in Argentina. We travelled 28 hours by coach to the border on a tour with was usually exclusive to Argentineans, but they were more than happy to include us in their lives, telling us about who they were and asked us hundreds upon hundreds of questions. They were very inquisitive about what Europe was like, and we were very quick to tell them that we preferred South America more!
Whilst in the North of the country, we took full advantage and checked out Paraguay and Brazil as well and had the most brilliant time! (At the end of my project, I stayed in South America, taking the time to explore all of the Argentinean provinces, visiting the World’s Southernmost City), and exploring Chile, Peru and Uruguay as well). These five friends of mine are the coolest bunch of individuals I will ever have the pleasure of meeting, and I feel completely privileged to be friends with them!
My Facebook and phonebook are both literally bursting at the seems with internationality, and I am in contact with all of them, and I will endeavour to be with them for the rest of my life.
This is what Projects Abroad is about – living life to the full and experiencing those places which you never thought tangible, and immersing yourself in a new culture and society; and whilst there meeting the most inspiring people – not only from your destination country, but also internationals like yourself. Projects Abroad light that fire of passion and enthusiasm like no other, and I would urge absolutely everyone to pick these guys if you want to realise your project abroad!
N.B: My one and only quick tip regarding travelling to South America at any point would be to make sure that you have at least a basic grasp of Spanish. For me, I feel that the reason why I was privileged enough to have gained all of the above experiences was not only due to my passion and enthusiasm which I demonstrated, but also because of my fluency in Spanish. For something like a medical project where you have the opportunity to speak to patients and fellow colleagues at every given second of the day, being able to speak the language effectively is extremely useful!

Yes, I recommend
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Nathalie
9/10

Care in Argentina

Before going to Argentina I was confident that the 6 week trip would be a great experience and I was hoping to learn lots about the country, improve my Spanish and meet some new people. All of this turned out to be a good assumption as I can safely say that my time in Argentina exceeded my expectations and I would, without a doubt, recommend the experience to anyone thinking about going.
I chose Argentina mainly because I am trying to improve my Spanish and having spent lots of time in Spain, I wanted to see South America and Argentina was the country which most appealed to me.

Having travelled for over 24 hours by the time I arrived in Cordoba, I was very grateful to come through the arrivals hall and find a Projects Abroad representative waiting for me to take me to my final destination. It turned out that he was the brother of my host ‘mum’ so we immediately went to my host family for introductions and the usual merienda (afternoon tea). I felt at home straight away, especially because there were two other female volunteers living at the house with me as well as 3 dogs which created a very welcoming and familiar atmosphere with lots of activity. I was able to shower and unpack before my roommate asked me if I wanted to go into the city centre (my house was about a half hour bus ride away) and meet some of the other volunteers which was great despite the slight jetlag!

A couple of days later I had my introduction with another Project’s Abroad supervisor who took a small group of us around the city and showed us our placements and how to get the bus to work and home. We were also treated to a lunch and were able to buy cheap sim cards, bus cards and change money to use in Argentina. At this point I was very much looking forward to starting work and meeting the children at my placement.

The following day I started work at my placement which was a residential home for children up to the age of 10 years old and during my time there housed around 16 children. I would say that at times it was challenging to volunteer with young children who had either been abandoned by their parents or taken from them due to mistreatment. They constantly wanted attention which manifested itself in different ways according to the child, although often in a violent manner. It took some time to gain their trust as they see so many volunteers come and go.
I tried to do as many activities with them as possible because they don’t get much of a break from living in the residence aside from half a day at school each day. Some of these activities included doing arts and crafts, making bracelets, playing football and doing informative things such as puzzles and play dough.
My fondest memories at the residence are usually times when I really helped the children to learn something, for example when I taught a 6 year old boy how to recognise numbers and would often help with the older children’s homework. By the end of my time with the children, I felt really close to them and couldn’t stop myself from crying when it was time to say goodbye at the end of my 6 weeks. The staff were all very friendly and nice as well and you could see how much they cared about the children. I hope I have made a small difference to their lives although I wish I could have stayed longer and helped more!

In order to get the most from the trip I wanted to spend as much of my time off from work with other volunteers and with my host family. Luckily the Projects Abroad office in Argentina often organised socials events which could be a day trip to a nearby town, a dinner or a film night to name a few. Whilst I was there we played football one evening which was great fun followed by a dinner of the traditional ‘lomito’ (basically a very large pork sandwich!), another time we all went out for pizza and to try ‘locro’ which is another traditional dish from Argentina. I wanted to try as many of the traditional dishes as possible and embrace Argentinean culture.

I have nothing but praise for my host family. They were a young married couple and were very friendly and funny. I think living with them rounded the experience off perfectly and I have great memories of playing card games in the evenings, delicious food, going to the theatre and playing with the dogs. We would always have dinner together if my roommate and I weren’t out for the evening and we all made the most of this time to practice Spanish and learn about each other’s cultures.

On my first weekend in Cordoba I was invited to go to Mendoza (another city in Argentina) with a group of volunteers. We went horseback riding, river rafting and went on a wine tasting tour. It was a great experience and I took the opportunity a couple of weeks later to visit Buenos Aires with the same group. It was extremely easy to make new friends and we spent a lot of time together in Cordoba - visiting museums, going to clubs and bars and playing sport. I am still in touch with many of them now and the good thing is that now I have friends from all over the world who I can hopefully visit one day!
It was hard to leave my host family and the children at my placement when it was time for me to go but I kept a diary the whole time I was there and have many pictures to remember my experience by. Maybe one day I’ll return to Cordoba and see everyone again and immerse myself once again in the amazing culture that Argentina has to offer!

Yes, I recommend

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About Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad is a global organization formed around the need for gap year programs abroad designed for students taking a break from studying. Since its inception, Projects Abroad has expanded to offer high school volunteer programs, and a vast...