Volunteer in Colombia

Browse Programs

From the rule of powerful indigenous communities and European conquest to Colombia’s independence and colorful culture, Colombia has a rich history with a mix of cultures and influences.

Combine that with an easy to learn version of Spanish, and a variety of development initiatives taking place in Bogota, Cartagena, and beyond, and Colombia becomes a wonderful place to volunteer abroad. Whether you're interested in volunteering in Colombia as a teacher, research specialist, or skilled medical professional, start planning your trip with this guide today!

Healthcare

Skilled medical volunteers can be of great help in Colombia. Colombia’s health care system has gotten a lot of media and political attention in recent years. In 2012, Colombia will have universal health care. Don’t let that fool you though – many disadvantaged citizens are still in great need of help and won’t necessarily see benefits from the new health care system anytime soon. One of the country’s biggest health issues are deadly diseases like malaria, HIV, and yellow fever. Malnutrition also affects many children in various ways. Whatever your interest in health may be, there are plenty of ways to educate and give greater access of health care to the population as a volunteer.

Conservation

Despite its prime location geographically, Colombia has big environmental issues that volunteers can lend a hand with. From the Andes to the Amazon rainforest to the Pacific and Caribbean coasts, there is tons of worthwhile and fun outdoor environmental conservation work to be done. Deforestation is one of the largest environmental problems in Colombia. Although legal has been taken recently to protect Colombia’s environmental resources, need your help. Other areas of conservation in Colombia include fighting pollution, wildlife preservation, ecotourism, and agricultural work.

Education

While there are many universities and schools available in Colombia, not all citizens have equal access. It’s especially common in rural areas to find that teachers are often under qualified, resources are lacking, and secondary school isn’t always offered. Attendance to primary and secondary school is mandated by law.

Many NGOs work to send more Colombian children to school and close the education gap. Volunteers can make a difference by sharing their knowledge and teaching students a variety of subjects, including English.

Recently, an initiative by the Colombian government to bring more native English speaking teachers to classrooms has resulted in the TEC program. Through the program, you can volunteer teach in Colombia in exchange for a small stipend (roughly $400 / month).

>Family Life

Living with a local family is a popular option for volunteers. Similar to many other Latin American cultures, Colombia’s family life is very important. Children usually live at home until marriage and even then don’t move too far away. Staying with a homestay family, therefore, is a great way to fully understand Colombian life.

NGOs/Nonprofit/Volunteer History

Most NGOs in Colombia focus on environmental issues as well as law and policy. Unfortunately, NGOs don’t have a successful history in Colombia. This doesn’t mean that there will be no NGOs to work with, but that they especially rely on the help of volunteers. See WANGO for a complete list of NGOs in Colombia.

Best Places to Volunteer

No matter where you choose to volunteer in Colombia, you are sure to have an amazing time. Cartagena is a popular tourist destination that also has need for community development. The capital city, Bogota, is full of nightlife and culture but also has a great need for volunteers. Medellin, an important coffee and agricultural destination, is great for those who appreciate the beautiful outdoors.

Safety used to be a major concern for foreigners in Colombia due to terrorist activities and civil conflict. Luckily, most areas are much less dangerous than they used to be; some jungle regions are even under military guard on a regular basis. Generally, highly populated urban areas are considered safest. It’s well worth your time to research the areas and neighborhoods you will be traveling to and be aware of all possible safety concerns.

Travelers should be sure to check MD Travel Health for vaccination recommendations well before a trip. Recommended shots include typhoid, hepatitis A and B, as well as malaria and yellow fever for those going to rural or jungle areas. Water is safe in urban areas but outside of the major cities only bottled water should be consumed.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 15 of 50
Colombia
International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
Volunteers are needed in Colombia to join a range of highly affordable projects for durations ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks...
Colombia
International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
Many countries are desperate to have qualified teachers to help educate their youth. IVHQ provides several opportunities for...
Colombia
International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
Volunteer abroad in Cartagena with IVHQ! Every year, hundreds of volunteers join IVHQ's highly affordable volunteer projects...
Colombia
International Service Learning
Assist in providing community and medical services to those in need while gaining global health experience and immersing...
Colombia
Amigos de las Americas
The AMIGOS Colombia program is specifically designed for college students. Participants will be enrolled in the Universidad...
Cambodia
Globalteer
Do you want to volunteer to help children and communities with a UK Charity? Make a real difference to the lives of those...
Colombia
A Broader View Volunteers Corp
Child Care Center This is a public facility that provides daily child care services, pre-school and kindergarten classes to...
Colombia
A Broader View Volunteers Corp
A Broader View offers a variety of social welfare programs for volunteers to contribute in Cartagena, Colombia. These include...
China
Tru Experience Travel
Have you ever wanted to use your skills in less developed parts of the world? Tru Experience Travel have many amazing...
Thailand
MovingWorlds
If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, Experteering your design skills across the world might be exactly what...
Colombia
Fundacion Mariposas Amarillas
Mariposas Amarillas is a small Colombian grassroots organization committed to supporting disadvantaged children and families...
Colombia
Emerging Voices Colombia
Immerse yourself in Colombian culture as a volunteer with Emerging Voices! Volunteer with various projects to improve the...
Colombia
Atlas Service Corps
Volunteer Overseas as an Atlas Corps Fellow! Atlas Corps is seeking the best mid-career nonprofit leaders in the U.S. to...
Colombia
Cultural Homestay International
Join Cultural Homestay International as a World Explorer in Colombia! This unique program offers you the opportunity to...
Uruguay
America Solidaria
America Solidaria seeks Fellows who are interested in implementing effective projects that help alleviate inequality and...