ABV Volunteer project focus on supporting the children of Chile, at a very large orphanage and in several schools in La Serena.
Chile's striking natural wonders, its rich cultural history, friendly people and stable government make it an ideal place to visit and volunteer!
Orphanage Program: In La Serena volunteers support a large orphanage/children's center. Currently the center offers nursery and kindergarten services to about 140 underage children, some of which are orphans and live at the center full time. This is a very active project with over 40 babies and toddlers, and the rest between 2-4 years old. One of the main characteristic of this project is the incorporation of the families and the community to the educational work. The parents of the children are so poor that they cannot afford to keep their children healthy or well fed. The projects serve as a day care, kindergarten and support center. Volunteers assist the local staff with the basic needs such as feeding, bathing and clothing, putting them down for naps and changing diapers.
Teaching Program: A stated goal of the Chilean Ministry of Education is that Chile must become a fully bilingual country. English is taught in all Chilean schools from the first to the twelfth grades. Volunteer to teach English in Chile and you will work closely with Chilean teachers. Volunteer teaching placements in Chile are based in La Serena's kindergarten, primary and secondary level. When you teach English in Chile you will focus your time on pronunciation, verbal exercises, correct grammar and spelling. You will work with the local teacher and create a syllabus. TEFL certificate is not required, however volunteers need to be proficient in Spanish. This program can also be combined with the Language and Cultural Immersion program.
Immersion Program: This is an opportunity to learn, enhance or strengthen your Spanish knowledge, all the while giving back to a community based projects. Lessons are provided by professional teachers on a one-on-one basis. Lesson plans are created with your input so they can be most effective. Language Immersion classes can be combined with the orphanage project, or the teaching English program.
2 Participant ReviewsWrite a Review
Chile is a wonderful country and La Serena is a very beautiful city. Downtown is very cute and some days there are artisans tents lined up in the plaza. I never felt unsafe in La Serena or Coquimbo but I always tried to be aware of my surroundings. Everyone I met were very friendly and helpful. People were often intrigued about where I was from and what I was doing in Chile. I met a tia at my orphanage and she made me feel like one of her family. She and her daughters showed me all of the beaches of Coquimbo (they are all very beautiful but COLD in winter!) The orphanage provided the kids with everything they needed. It was much better kept and supplied then I had expected. My favorite part of the orphanage was the smile on the little kids’ faces when I walked in the door every morning. I worked with the toddlers: four months to two years old. My host family was fantastic. My home was very comfortable, having warm water and wifi. My host mom and I spent many evenings jogging on the beach or Zumba-ing in the living room. Her food was delicious and the family was always welcoming. I had a “sister” and “brother” at the house who hung out with me and helped me figure things out here in Chile. One of my favorite moments with my host family was watching a U17 soccer world cup game with my host parents – it was Chile versus United States. My host father is very into soccer so he was yelling and shouting at the TV and whenever I watch sporting events I end up doing the same. The house was full of celebrations and frustrations during the course of the game. Chile won in the end but the game was a highlight of my trip and it gave me something to connect with my host dad on. I really had no problems at all with my host family. The only challenging part was the "Chilenismos/slang" and the difficult Spanish accent (they speak way to fast). I did improved a lot over the two months in Chile. I would definitely do my whole trip again and not change a thing. My project was rewarding, Vilma was supportive and understanding, and my host family were fantastic. La Serena and Coquimbo were wonderful places to base the program out of because they provided many different opportunities.
Everyone there was very patient and kind, and Vilma and Tania were super-helpful if you needed anything. Working at the nursing home was an incredible experience for me. I made a whole bunch of new friends there with whom I hope to keep in touch. If you decide to work at the nursing home (and I think you should!), try to learn as much Spanish as you can before you arrive. I found the support from Abroaderview to be excellent. Whenever I sent an email, I got a response within 24 hours (although usually it was much quicker), and the staff was always very helpful and kind with all my questions. I also used the chat system with Lori a few times, and she was also very patient with my many questions! I received a few emails after arriving in country, and they were a pleasant surprise. Mostly they were just checking in, wanting to know if I was enjoying myself, and if there was anything they could do for me. Sarah also sent an email after we had a big earthquake just to make sure we were ok here, which I found very thoughtful. This is actually my third trip with Abroaderview. (I went to Vietnam and Cambodia back in 2010 and 2011.) I have volunteered with four different organizations/companies, and I feel that Abroaderview is the best in terms of value and support, so that’s why I looked them up again for this trip.