Latin America offers a lot of opportunities for volunteer work and especially in teaching English. This South American region offers beautiful landscape and travel opportunities to places that are more heard of than seen. Volunteering in Latin America has increased in the recent past due to a failing economy, poverty, and lack of education and political and civil wars and strife. But the fact is that Latin American nations have a wealth of natural resources, but are still considered as developing countries by those in North America and Europe.
So if you are interested in overseas volunteer work then Latin America is a place to be. Some of the relatively developed countries in Latin America like Argentina and Costa Rica have significant number of people below the poverty line. Apart from this most of Latin American countries are not well versed with English, which is slowly becoming a global language. Volunteering in Latin America can vary from country to country and it can include from community development, health education, environmental work and even sports. As an individual, you can always choose the kind of overseas volunteer work you want to participate in and the duration that you want to work for.
Volunteering in Latin America includes the following types of work:
Conservation volunteerism: This is of prime importance especially because a large part of the Amazon rain forest has disappeared and with it has disappeared many habitats. You can choose volunteering work from different types of conservation projects that include preservation of endangered species of turtles in Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago; Wildlife rehabilitation centers in Brazil, Argentina and Ecuador and save forests and environmental projects in Brazil (mostly Amazon), Chile, Costa Rica, Panama, Guatemala etc. You don’t need to have any kind of degree in animal behavior, all you need is love for nature, animals and a will to make a difference and save the planet and its depleting natural resources.
Health Volunteerism: Volunteering in Latin America revolves a lot around health and related services because most of the countries there don’t have the necessary infrastructure or skilled people that include, doctors, nurses and other medical practitioners. Lack of education also means that health problems are at a rise in the backward areas and smaller towns. You can get a lot of exposure through volunteer work in hospitals in Ecuador and Honduras.
Sports Volunteerism: Sports may seem to be the unlikely area for volunteer work. South America has a lot of sporting talent especially in soccer but there is no infrastructure, coaches or training schools that can hone the skills of the youngsters or teenagers who want to enter the professional sports arena. Soccer is like a religion in some countries like Brazil and Argentina, who have also made their mark on the World stage. El futbol is considered to be a way of life, so if you have ever coached any teams or played in any league games in Europe or other parts of the world then you can volunteer as a football/soccer coach.
Volunteer Community Development: Although South America presents a pretty picture that advertises the smiles, the sun, the sand, the giant palm trees, the beautiful and exotic wildlife, there is much work to be done in terms of community development. Latin America suffers from a disparity of wealth and there are many people who dream of a better life, more money so that they can provide the basic necessities to their children or parents. Volunteering in Latin America in Community development will involve many aspects like teaching English, developing projects that will benefit the society as a whole, helping old aged people and orphans, providing education to street kids and many more. It is all hard work but the end result is gratifying because you will be one of the few people to have made a difference.