Volunteering your secret job search weapon ?

Visit Volunteer Latin America for more information on volunteering opportunities

1. Why is it necessary to pay for the volunteer abroad experience?

A large number of organizations in Central and South America rely on volunteers to assist them in their work and to provide financial support. These organizations generally receive very little government help and the contribution of volunteers is vital to their survival . The financial and physical input of volunteers could help ensure the long-term survival of an endangered species or rescue children living in extreme poverty. Although the majority of projects we offer require a small financial contribution there are also many opportunities to volunteer for free . A small number of projects pay volunteers a small weekly or monthly allowance.

2. Can you tell me more about the humanitarian work that your organization performs in the Latin America region?

We give volunteers the opportunity to help the economically, socially and politically disadvantaged people of the region by offering a wide variety of humanitarian work. There are opportunities to get involved in child welfare, community development, education and health programs throughout Central and South America.

3. Can you elaborate on the environmental work your organization does? What careers are typically helped out by this type of experience?

The projects we offer are as varied and interesting as you might imagine. They range from helping to build nature trails in the Atlantic rainforest of Brazil to monitoring big cats such as ocelots and puma in Ecuador. A multitude of other opportunities exist in a diverse range of species, habitats and locations. Typical areas of work include agriculture, animal welfare, biological & scientific research, environmental education, forestry, nature conservation, sustainable development, wildlife monitoring & rehabilitation.

4. What is the most common trait you see in volunteers who are successful in finding a job and doing well in an international career?

The most common trait we see in volunteers successful on the international stage is determination. All things are possible for those who believe in themselves and are prepared to work hard.

5. How does international volunteering shape the future career moves of a young person who has not yet had any career experiences?

An international volunteer program could encourage an individual to pursue a career in their area of work. Conversely, they will find out first hand that this type of work isn't for them and focus their attention on other careers in the environmental or humanitarian sectors. This is one of the great things about volunteering overseas; it provides the opportunity to explore a career.

The experience will take volunteers on a journey of self discovery and it is impossible to not be affected in some way or another. They will learn more about themselves than they ever imagined. It is possible that personal development will shape the future career moves of young person more than the project itself.

6. What are important skills that help one survive in a new country? Do you offer any type of skills training to help volunteers be prepared or adjust while volunteering?

Preparation is the key to a successful trip and volunteers should thoroughly research the country/project they plan to visit. This includes everything from health matters to clothing. Most projects inform volunteers about what to expect (i.e. climate, food etc) and what items they should take with them.

7. Is it possible for job opportunities to grow out of volunteer positions within your organization or other organization like yours?

This is not something that applies to the opportunities we offer because we mainly work with grassroots organizations that have limited funds. If full time positions become available these are usually filled by local people. Is it possible for job opportunities to grow out of volunteer positions if working for foreign run organizations?

8. In your opinion do gap year activities such as volunteering help students later on?

As stated above volunteering encourages personal development. Volunteering is not just an altruistic act but also a 21st century opportunity for advancement in all areas of your life. No classroom or book can teach you the things you will learn first-hand about life, yourself, and the world you live in. Volunteering overseas will not only improve your career prospects but make you a better person.

9. Is it possible to have a full career with volunteering or similar work?

It is possible to make a full time career out of volunteering but it helps if you have qualifications, skills or experience. Many long term volunteering opportunities will provide your accommodation, food and pay your expenses. There is nothing to stop you moving from one project to the next. Skilled volunteers (i.e. doctors) will find this easier to achieve than unskilled volunteers.

10. Is there anything about the Latin America region that might make volunteering there particularly challenging or more rewarding than another area for someone who is considering volunteering but is not sure about where to go?

Latin America is one of the most impressive regions on earth. There are mighty rivers, wilderness areas and final frontiers, but also ancient civilizations and vibrant new cultures. Latin America truly offers something for every interest and its top attractions are some of the most fascinating and memorable on the planet. Whether you aim to climb to the summit of a volcano, dive among pristine coral reefs or simply laze on unspoiled beaches, Latin America provides all the ingredients for the perfect holiday or adventure.