When you volunteer in Chile you could have an opportunity to help a community in need while expanding your own academic and personal horizons. Students could aid others by providing vital services like educating, doing community service, or lending a hand with environmental projects. Students may wish to provide service in areas that align with their educational pursuits back home!

Outside of volunteering, you could also explore the diverse country of Chile. The food, culture, and varied landscape of Chile are right out your front door. And what isn’t might only be a short trip away!

Volunteering in Chile: The Basics

When you volunteer in Chile you could choose to serve in an area you’re passionate about. For example, you could have the opportunity to help in fields, such as:

  • Childcare
  • Elderly Care
  • Community Development
  • English Education
  • Conservation

In these programs, students may travel together in chaperoned groups to assist organizations and communities in these areas. That way, students have access to a safe, regulated environment while volunteering.

Where Could I Volunteer in Chile?

Typically, Chilean volunteer programs are offered in the main cities of Santiago, Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, and La Serena. Volunteering in these culturally-rich major cities could offer potential benefits for students and parents alike. 

For students, you might be happy to know that cities provide many opportunities to work with communities in need. Many people in need cluster in cities because they often provide more government assistance.  Also, larger cities may have more funding available to help provide aid and helpful programs. Due to this high concentration and extra funding, there may be more structures in place to help these groups.

Parents, on the other hand, may be more concerned about their child’s safety. Chile is a highly developed, South American country, and its cities are no different! This means students can choose a safe and welcoming environment to volunteer in. Nonethless, many programs monitor students’ whereabouts to ensure that they remain safe for the duration of their volunteer program.

Volunteering & Personal Growth

Besides being an opportunity to serve others, volunteering in Chile could also help you expand your personal outlook on the world. While you may spend your days assisting others, the experience could also help you enrich your mind while you develop new skills and knowledge.

Expanding Your Academic Studies

Some of the above-mentioned programs could be applied to your studies at your home college or university. For example, students with teaching or Spanish concentrations might be interested in teaching English as a second language. As part of a volunteer program, they might have the chance to step inside a real classroom to test their abilities. This could be a perfect way to practice for potential future endeavors, not to mention to add some valuable experience to your resume!

To choose another example, biology students might be interested in the chance to study the variety of climates and animal life in Chile.  

Check with programs to see how you might be able to align your education with your passion for volunteering.

New Languages

Speaking of Spanish, did you know that Spanish is the primary language of Chile? This means you could have the chance to immerse yourself in the language during your Chilean volunteer program.

Beginners shouldn’t be intimidated. Many volunteer programs offer intensive language courses for students so that they could bone up on speaking Spanish. By being immersed in the Chilean lifestyle, you could naturally learn more Spanish as you go about your day-to-day business. Little things like ordering your lunch or asking for directions could be a great test of your new language abilities. But, you might want to get used to saying, “Como se dice...?” That means “How do you say…?” in Spanish!

Living in Chile

Volunteering in Chile might also be a great way to see an authentic glimpse of Chilean life. Many programs place their students with host families during their program. This means you could live in a Chilean family's house while you’re volunteering. During this time, you would share meals, stories, and more with the family members. Who knows what traditions you might get to take part in? You may even get the added benefit of being taken to locally-known spots that might be left out of tourist handbooks.

Exploring Chile

Thanks to Chile’s unique spot on the globe, the country offers a diverse number of sites to see. Many major cities in Chile have buses that you could take to many of the tourist hot spots. Or you may choose to go by boat or plane.

What to See in Chile

When someone recommends that you visit a desert, you might give them a weird look. But, the Atacama Desert is more than just flat, dry land. Well, it’s that too! But, there’s some terrific views you shouldn’t miss when you volunteer in Chile. During the day, you could enjoy the oases that dot the desert. At night, the views are above your head! Since there’s so little unnatural light in the desert, you might be able to catch a breathtaking glimpse of the stars. For an up-close and personal view of the twinkling lights, you could stop at the European Souter Observatory.

Desert too dry for you? Then head to Valparaiso! This historical seaport is built into the hills that line the coast of Chile. The only things that rival the colorful buildings of the city are the colorful boats! When you’re done ogling the seaside views, you could also explore the city’s history. One of the popular museums is the Pablo Neruda Museum. The structure commemorates the life of the famous poet. Of course, there are many unofficial museums throughout the Valparaiso. The city is known for its unique and stunning graffiti that dot many open walls.

Feeling a bit toasty? Head south and see some penguins and glaciers in the Patagonian Ice Fields, or head for a hiking adventure in the Andes, the longest continental mountain range in the world.

Chilean Food

Chilean food is a mix of its native culture and Spanish influences. This means there’s plenty of flavors to sample during your time volunteering there. And most of them are spicy! Look forward to hearty dinners, long-braised meats, and rustic fare.

You might want to start your food adventure with comida tipica de Chile. Better known as “typical Chilean food.” For a real taste of Chile, you might want to try some of the following dishes.

  • Pastel de Choclo – corn pie
  • Empanadas – baked hand pies filled with meat, vegetables, and onions
  • Porotos Granados – cranberry beans mixed with squash and corn

Got a case of the late-night munchies? Then the greasy and salty chorillana in Valparaiso might be just what you need. The Chilean dish starts with a base of French fries (yes, French fries!). Then, it’s covered with beef, onions, and cheese. Sometimes, it’s even topped with a fried egg! Finish it off with spicy pebre sauce, and you’re ready to dig in. Share a plate with friends as you explore Chile’s night life.  

Get Ready to Volunteer in Chile!

Though Chile may be many hundreds of miles away from you, a perfect Chilean volunteer program may only be a few more clicks away! To start your journey to South America, browse the links on this page. This could provide you with a list of programs in Chile.

To further refine this list, select your preferred city, program length, or work type from the menus on this page. Browse programs that address your unique volunteering goals. Good luck finding a perfect way to volunteer in Chile!