Program Details

Learn the language and volunteer with local nonprofit organizations to serve underprivileged citizens, while gaining insight into all levels of the local society! Participating in community service with BridgeAbroad allows students to have an exceptional
Santiago, Chile
Program Type:
Volunteer Abroad
Degree Level:
Work Types:
1-3 months

Program Overview

Program Description:
Course Hours: 80 hours of intensive language class, 24 hours of community service, 20 hours of workshops/cultural excursions Language of Instruction: Spanish Minimum Spanish Proficiency Required: Beginner. Before you arrive in Buenos Aires, you’ll complete Bridge’s Online Spanish Placement test to determine your proficiency level and match you with the class that’s right for you. BridgeVirtual Language Lessons As part of your program fee, you will receive three free BridgeVirtual language sessions for your use prior to your arrival on-site! Each session lasts 2 hours and includes both pre- and post-class online activities, as well as private, face-to-face time with a certified native speaking teacher. With BridgeVirtual, you’ll learn from practical assignments that incorporate videos, blogs, news articles, and a large variety of material, appropriate for all levels and interests. You will be assigned your own teacher, who is dedicated to guiding and motivating you through a completely personalized, one-to-one program, which makes learning fun, practical and effective. And most importantly, you’ll have the language tools you need to be successful in your program abroad.

Learn the language and volunteer with local nonprofit organizations to serve underprivileged citizens, while gaining insight into all levels of the local society! Participating in community service with BridgeAbroad allows students to have an exceptionally meaningful experience abroad. Students will have the opportunity to work together with local community members who are trying to make a difference in the lives of those who may be less fortunate than others. This component is important to help deepen students’ intercultural experience, broaden their perspective on local societal issues, and challenge them to reflect on their own role as a global citizen. Student volunteers will be placed within local community centers and asked to help with a range of activities, from serving meals to the poor to caring for disadvantaged children. Often, volunteers are asked to organize educational activities for community members, or sports activities for children. Sometimes, there are small maintenance tasks to do like painting or fixing a leaky roof. Many of the people who need the services of the community centers have never been in contact with someone from the United States, and truly enjoy the experience of getting to know a foreigner. Volunteers have the opportunity to put their language skills to work in an authentic context, all the while lending a hand and helping out. The contributions made by volunteers are very much appreciated by the hosting non-profit organization, and the experience leaves everyone involved with a new perspective on life. These service activities can be an intense experience for students who may have never been in close contact with people from a disadvantaged background. Our experience has taught us the importance of a balance between hands-on work and time for reflection. We recommend a weekly feedback and reflection meeting to allow students to share their experiences while volunteering, and to talk about and begin to process certain emotions that may arise as a result of being exposed to a very different reality often found in under-developed countries.

Founded in 1990, Bridge’s Santiago learning center is our flagship South American facility. It sports 17 air-conditioned classrooms, plus fax, phone, and internet access. It’s located amid the dramatic highrises and tree-lined streets of elegant Providencia, with plenty of shopping and dining options. Plus, one of the city’s nightlife meccas, Suecia, is just five minutes away, and the efficient Metro is even closer! Once you’re on the Metro, all of Santiago is yours to explore. As Chile’s capital and largest city, Santiago is a South American hotspot for culture and nature. New museums like the Museum of Pre-Colombian Arts and the just-opened Museum of Memory (dedicated to telling the story of Augusto Pinochet’s brutal dictatorship) have brought the city global attention. Outdoor opportunities abound, with hiking and dramatic views on nearby Cerro San Cristobal and world-class trekking and skiing in the nearby Andes. And though the city’s known as a center of international business—and has the skyscrapers and multinationals to prove it—don’t be fooled by its prim appearance. As you’ll figure out while chilling in an underground student bar or dancing until sunrise at a massive rave, Santiaguinos most certainly know how to have a good time!
Setting Description:
Why Volunteer in Chile? Chile has modernized in the past 20 years, now boasting one of the most stable economies and lowest unemployment rates in South America. The nation’s unique blend of history, culture, and recent economic development make it a fascinating case study in both traditional culture and modern society. As the capital of Chile and home to one-third of its population, Santiago is an exciting location for participants to learn about the country’s society, customs, language, and history. Volunteer work with our local partner organizations provides students with the opportunity to discover another aspect of Santiago: its underprivileged residents and the community organizations working to assist them. In this portion of the program, participants will not only help make a difference in the lives of Chileans, but will also get an unparalleled opportunity to learn more about the nation’s history, culture and society by interacting with its citizens in a unique and meaningful

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