Community volunteering

Buenos Aires

Help spark meaningful social change in Buenos Aires, working with a huge range of inspiring community development projects from child services to human rights and poverty relief. You’ll play a direct role in improving living conditions across the poorer areas of the city, becoming a part of the change yourself and learning from the people of Buenos Aires at the same time. It’s an eye-opening, challenging and rewarding opportunity in one of the world’s most spellbinding cities.

During your volunteering stint, you’ll be paving a way to a better future by working closely with the community, whether you teach english, lend a hand with permaculture projects, run artistic workshops or kickstart all kinds of fun at a children’s shelter. As a volunteer, you’ll get involved in a project that matches your own personal skills and passions, ensuring that both you and the local community get the most out of your stay.  You’re guaranteed to learn just as much as you teach.

Why join this project

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Get to grips with real life in the beating heart of Buenos Aires.

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Help build a path to a brighter future and learn from the locals at the same time.

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Brush up on your Spanish and spend your free time getting lost in the buzz of Buenos Aires.

Want to help build bridges between communities in beautiful Buenos Aires?

This project is all about meaningful exchanges and community-building in Buenos Aires. As a volunteer, you’ll be helping to spark social change by taking part in all kinds of educational programs. Working here, you’ll learn just as much as you teach. You’ll get an inside glimpse into a culture rich in positive energy and hope, make real local friends and lend a hand to improve living conditions in the city. There are volunteering opportunities across a wide range of social areas from poverty relief to organic gardening, child services and human rights, so you’re bound to find something up your street. It’s demanding, but the rewards are worth the effort a thousand times over. You’ll need an open mind, a big helping of optimism and a genuine passion for social change. You’ll be matched to a certain sector depending on your own interests, so you’ll be picking up new, relevant skills every minute of every day. It’s a meaningful, but most importantly, human experience.

Learning Spanish will help you to feel a part of the culture and community around you. The more Spanish you can speak, the more volunteering options will be open to you. This project includes intensive Spanish courses alongside your working hours, so you’ll study while you volunteer.

Project duration:

Min 4 weeks – Max 4 months. This is a project that demands real commitment to the community. The longer you stay, the more you’ll reap the rewards and make a real mark on the community. Over the first two weeks, you’ll settle into life in Buenos Aires, boost your Spanish and start getting into your project placement, but you’ll need at least a full month for a meaningful cultural exchange

Location of project:

The projects are scattered all across Buenos Aires and its outskirts. All of them are easily reached by public transport and you’ll be given all of the information that you need to get to and from work. It will take you around 1 hour from your homestay to your project by public transportation

Arrival airport:

Ezeiza Ministro Pistarini International Airport, Buenos Aires (EZE)

Activities:

  • Community development: Working actively to help boost the leadership skills of community members and groups, help the community build and follow its own interests, implement communications strategies to strengthen the profile of grassroots organizations and raise essential funds by putting together funding proposals.
  • Social inclusion and poverty relief: Lending a hand in poor communities to build their capacity for self-development, promoting independence in struggling communities, working in soup kitchens or temporary/emergency settlements, working at the project HQ to plan new poverty-relief programs, assisting the local people with work inclusion activities.
  • Environmental programs: Raising awareness about local and broader environmental issues, working in an organic garden, running recycling workshops, helping to spread the world about the project mission, designing flyers, translating websites.
  • Child services development: Working with kids from poorer communities within Buenos Aires to develop art in their neighborhoods, working and playing with the kids at the children’s shelter, leading workshops in theatre, music, painting, photography, helping spread information about healthy child development.
  • Human rights: Advocating human rights across all kinds of communities within the city and providing social services in struggling areas.
  • Art and development: Teaching, assisting with organized activities for the kids, gathering economic and material resources, taking part in fundraising efforts, painting murals, designing new projects.
  • Education projects: Become part of a team designated to designing educational projects, work as a tutor at study-helps and job-training workshops, lend a hand to raise funds, teach English or arts.
  • Bio-centric development: Helping with workshops run by the human development leader, assisting with permaculture construction tasks, taking part in communitarian projects with bio-centric techniques.
  • Micro-enterprises: Carry out social empowerment activities, help with sales training, build partnerships with other organizations, train leaders within the community, work with employees to develop and improve the standard of their projects, assist small local enterprises to boost their commercial skills.

Working hours:

This all depends on your specific work placement and level of Spanish, but in general you’ll work between 2 and 5 days  per week, each day between 2 and 6 hours. Suffice to say that no two days will ever be same. Each one will bring new challenges and rewards. Alongside your placement, you’ll take 30 hours of intensive Spanish lessons during your stay (2 to 3 hours per day) divided over 3 weeks, so you’ll be set to improve rapidly during your volunteering stilt. Depending on your level of Spanish you may spend your first week doing more hour of Spanish then in the continuing weeks.

Getting to the project:

All of the projects are near to public transport links, so you’ll make your own way to your placement every day. During your first week, you’ll be escorted to your placement until you feel comfortable with the journey yourself.

Requirements:

  • Minimum age 18.
  • Screening meeting via Skype with the volunteer organization
  • Travel/Medical insurance
  • Police clearance certificate/Criminal background check. Volunteers will also need to sign a child protection policy document upon arrival.
  • Basic Spanish recommended.

What’s included

  • Donation fee for the project
  • Airport pickup: Included on arrival date.
  • Accommodation:  Private room in a city homestay with a local family.
  • Food:  The homestay all have fully-equipped kitchens for whipping up your own breakfast (ingredients included in your fee)
  • Intensive 30H Spanish course
  • Monthly group volunteer activity
  • Training: Weekly meetings to boost your experience and impact, evaluation meetings and certificate.
  • Support: Pre-departure helpdesk, local in-country team, welcome pack, weekly information about tourist activities and 24 hour emergency support

What’s not included

  • Flights
  • Medical insurance
  • Transfers to and from the projects in Buenos Aires (approximately 3 USD roundtrip)

With this project, you’ll need to go with the flow and expect the unexpected! Every day and every week will be different, depending on your level of spoken Spanish and your project assignment, The day after you arrive, you will attend welcome meeting where you’ll be assigned to a placement (or placements!) after talking everything over with your project coordinator and team. Afterwards, you will know how many hours you will be working per week, which can be anywhere from 2 to 5 working days per week and between 2 and 6 hours per day. If your Spanish is fairly basic, your first week will be more focused on language classes to help you get up to speed. During your first week, you’ll settle in your house and get to know the city and be shown how to use the public transport. You will also start your Spanish and be introduced to the local team. Usually it isn’t till the second week when you start with your volunteering work.

Here is an example of what your first week might look like in Buenos Aires…

Day 1 (Sunday): Arrive into Buenos Aires airport (Ezeiza International Airport)

When you arrive in Buenos Aires, you’ll be picked up by a private transfer and taken to your homestay, where you can settle in and get to know your host family. The rest of the day is free for you to relax, explore the neighbourhood and rest up after your journey.

Day 2 (Monday): Welcome meeting

Today, you’ll meet the project coordinator to decide your placement and the schedule of your language classes. You’ll be given all kinds of handy information about the city, including local events during your stay. You’ll learn how to travel in the city, giving you the confidence to get to work and back independently. It’s the perfect chance to ask any burning questions, so don’t hold back!

Day 3 (Tuesday): The first Spanish class

Today you will start your Spanish lessons, which will last between 2 or 3 hours. Classes are usually held in small groups, but they are not necessarily held every day. Your personal timetable will work around your volunteering schedule.

Day 4 (Wednesday): More Spanish and a workshop

Today, you’ll take your second Spanish class and attend the weekly workshop, which is a great opportunity to meet your fellow volunteers.

Day 5 (Thursday): Introduction to the project

This morning, you will be introduced to one of the project placements. Your coordinator will join you on your way to the project, show you the best way to get there everyday and introduce you to all of your activities.

Day 6 (Friday): A little bit more Spanish

Before the weekend, you will practice a little bit more of Spanish with your teacher. This will set you off on the right foot for the weeks to come.

Day 7 & 8 (Saturday & Sunday): The weekend has arrived!

After taxing your brain with all kinds of new information, you can spend the weekend unwinding in one of the world’s greatest cities. Meet up with your volunteers over a glass of local wine, tuck into an unbelievably tasty steak and get stuck into the city. There’s never a dull moment in colourful Buenos Aires.

Following weeks…

The following weeks will be a mixture of volunteering work, workshops and Spanish lessons, challenging and rewarding your every step of the way. All of your efforts will help build brighter futures for struggling families in Buenos Aires and, before long, you’ll be speaking like a local!

Your last day (Saturday)…

On your final day, you’ll say farewell to everyone at your project and your homestay family. Before you leave your placement, you’ll have an evaluation meeting to talk through your experiences and claim your Volunteer Work Program Certificate. Then, it’s time to hit the road again, so you’ll grab your backpack and set off on your next adventure.

foto11Accommodation is included in home stays. Living with an Argentine family is a great way to be in a total immersion with the language and especially with the culture.

Homestays are specially selected for the volunteers and located in safe neighborhoods (Palermo, Colegiales, Belgrano and Villa Urquiza etc), close to transportation, supermarkets, restaurants, bars and cyber cafés. There are families, couples or single people in the houses. Volunteers will have their private room and at disposal all the elements to prepare their own breakfast.

Alternative options are hostals or even having your own place, just ask us!

The project is available all year round. The confirmation will depend on the approval of the application form and subject to availability. Reservations can be taken up to 8 months in advance. The positions are subject to capacity of the organization, amount of required volunteers and the time of the year.

During Christmas, New Year as well as the first week of January usually the projects close and there wont be volunteer work or Spanish course. We will accept volunteers during this period, but you will have plenty of spare time

I was at BA Volunteers in the last quarter of 2014. I simply had a great time and a lof of eye-opening moments being at the projects. The people working for BA volunteers were supporting me with any questions that I had before, during and even after the program was finished. I recommend everyone who is going to consider BA volunteers. Simply professional work. A big thank you from Germany.

Tino, Germany

It was a very good experience for me. It was so sad saying goodby and just go home. I have learned so much about my self and I feel like I have gotten a lot more then I have given. (…)The host family is the best family you can live with They opens their home for you and helps with everything. I’m so glad that I got to live in this home. (..) The work experience was the best part. To know the people I got to met while I was working was the best part. I learned  a lot about the culture and about myself. I got a new view on life. It fulfilled my  expectations, and more!

Oda, Norway.

The staff is amazing. Lucia was so helpful and involved and concerned and so flexible. I thoroughly felt accepted and supported the entire time. I feel good about the work I did. I enjoyed building the relationships that I did and working with those who really needed support and love. I am extremely satisfied with the results even though my time was short.(…) I loved being able to experience a new side of Buenos Aires, a side that wasn’t as touristy but was real and true. I loved the people I met and I loved to experience helping in this amazing city. I learned a lot about myself as well as others. I learned gratitude, I was humbled, and I learned to trust myself and my inner voice above all else. I will recommend this project to anyone looking to volunteer in Buenos Aires. It was an incredible experience. More than just an opportunity to volunteer, it is an opportunity to learn and work and experience things that will serve you for the rest of your life. The volunteer aspect is only the surface, but what you learn and realize is much deeper.

Bry ,U.S.A

The welcome/arrival meeting at the airport worked out perfectly and I am really happy with all the help and guidance I have had during my stay here in Bs.As., both from the staff and from my host family. (…) I feel that the information I got in my first meeting was excellent, and that the organizations that were chosen for me were perfect. I have enjoyed every day in both organizations and could not have asked for more.(…)I have had so many good days working in those organization. The children and the girls who work here have been AMAZING. Though I wish I had learned more Spanish before going to Bs. As. so I could talk more with the children. But even with my limited knowledge of Spanish we have been able to play, learn, communicate and show affection through body language. Sometimes a smile, a hug or a kiss on the cheek can say more than a thousand words. Cliché? I know.. but it is true :)

Connie, Norway

I feel very happy. I have made great friends, received many hugs, improved my spanish and delivering professional pieces I am very proud of. The organizations suited my skills perfectly and the support received was amazing! Keep doing what you are doing!

Victoria, Australia

Great all round experience, good mix of challenge and fun! Great for practicing Spanish, meeting real people, opening the mind and getting to know a differemt side of the city. Do it, you will never regret!

Anna, UK

Buenos Aires can be visited at any time of year and there is plenty to do rain or shine. In the height of summer (Jan-Feb) it can get very hot ant and humid and this is when many of the locals head out of town to the coast.  The winter months can get nippy, but skies are often blue with temperatures of aprox 5 to 15 degrees C.

Do I need to know Spanish before I volunteer?

We strongly recommends that you have a good level of Spanish before arrival. Volunteer that do not have sufficient Spanish, will take a intense two-week language class upon arrival, and additional classes are available (at extra cost) and may be recommended.

What can I do while still in my home country?

Before you leave, the best preparation is to study some Spanish so that you have a good level before arrival. Additionally, many of our partner organizations are in need of all sorts of donations, ask us what is needed (this really depends on the actual needs of that time).

How far will the project be from my homestay?

The projects are located in and around Buenos Aires and it can take from 20 minutes to max 1 1/2 hour to get there. You will take the metro and the bus. The transportation is safe in Buenos Aires and used by all locals.

This project is on the lookout for…

Passionate volunteers prepared to face challenging situations with an open mind and a positive outlook. You’ll be matched to a project based on your own personal skills, ensuring that you’ll add real value to the community.

I feel very happy. I have made great friends, received many hugs, improved my spanish and delivering professional pieces I am very proud of. The organizations suited my skills perfectly and the support received was amazing! Keep doing what you are doing!

Victoria, Australia

About

Buenos Aires

Buenos Aires is somewhere seriously hard to beat and often tops the list of favourite Latin American cities. With its thriving arts and music scene, feisty Latin character and fascinating history, it’s a heady cocktail of the old and the new. Many visitors end up hooked and stay far longer than planned. The rich past of the city lingers in the colonial architecture, streets lined with French-style apartments, opulent palaces, grand plazas and leafy parks. There’s a huge range of museums and sights, as well as a fantastic literary and café culture. In a nutshell, Buenos Aires has a little bit of everything! And a whole lot more.

Exciting and cosmopolitan, it is arguably one of the most 24-hour cities on the planet. However, the nightlife is not just  for the young, and you’ll find people of all ages out walking their dogs at 1am, grabbing a coffee and a chat in a local café or a midnight ice cream. Argentina is rightly famous for its beef and the traditional Asado (outdoor BBQ cookout) is a way of life here. Having said that, steak is not the only thing on the menu, so you’ll find a varied restaurant and colourful café scene. Creativity cuts right into the heart and soul of the city, so every other porteño (Buenos Aires local) is either an artist or a musician.

Ideas for

days off

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Getting a taste of the tango scenein Buenos Aires is an absolute must. Whether you catch a sit-down show, stop to admire a street performance or go underground in one of the many late night milongas, be sure to catch a glimpse of this integral element of the city and its people.

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Football fever – is rife in Buenos Aires and so passionate are the Argentines about football that many people liken it to a religion. Catching a game at the famous Bombanero, the Boca Juniors’ home stadium, is up there at the top of every sport enthusiast’s list.

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For some al fresco live music head to Plaza Serrano in San Telmo on the weekends, grab a pavement café table and enjoy the show.

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For a tranquil day out of the city, head to the nearby Tigre River Delta where you can take a boat ride through the network of waterways and enjoy lunch on a river island.

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For a taste of traditional Gaucho life, head into Buenos Aires Province to an estancia (ranch) to take in the countryside and enjoy an authentic asado (the Argentine equivalent of the BBQ, with cuts of beef slow-cooked over a charcoal fire).

Drop us a line!