Are you looking for an opportunity to volunteer abroad and to learn Spanish at the same time? If you are then you’re definitely in the right place. Both of these are definitely admirable and when you can do both at the same time it’s like getting two for the price of one.
Are you looking for an opportunity to volunteer abroad and to learn Spanish at the same time? If you are then you’re definitely in the right place. Both of these are definitely admirable and when you can do both at the same time it’s like getting two for the price of one. You’ll have the opportunity to help other people and the ability to advance and improve yourself and your own skills at the same time. That’s definitely going to make a huge difference.
Why Volunteer Abroad?
It’s not just about learning a new language in a region where that is the norm and the culture. Rather, you can volunteer abroad and experience plenty of new things. If you’re willing and able to really dive in you’re going to see why so many people think that volunteering is the best thing to do and definitely why so many are starting to look at new ways to do it. Sure, you could volunteer in your own community and make a big difference, but you’re never going to be able to match the kind of difference that you could make in a totally new country.
Volunteering abroad gives you the opportunity to really throw yourself into a fully new culture and a new group of people. It’s about stepping outside of your comfort zone and getting to know someone that’s entirely different from you. With this process, you’re definitely going to feel great about learning these new things, especially since there’s absolutely no substitute for being able to actually talk to people from that culture. No amount of book learning is going to teach you what a single day in the country could teach you about the people and their ways.
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You’ll also have the opportunity to do just what we’ve been talking about, learn a new language. Within most of the countries that are available through A Broader View Volunteers, you’re going to be able to learn Spanish through a language immersion program. That means you’re going to not only learn the language but you’re going to do it a whole lot faster than you would be able to anywhere else as well. And all you need to do is sign up for the classes when you sign up for the volunteer program.
Another big benefit is that you’re going to have the opportunity to make a huge difference in the lives of people that can really use it. These individuals, in the countries that you could be visiting, are in need of a great deal of help. They are stuck in poverty, underdeveloped countries and definitely suffering from a higher instance of diseases, even preventable and treatable ones. By volunteering in these communities you are able to help these individuals to get the help that they need and the treatments that they need. You’re also able to help empower them so that they can provide the care their community needs in the future.
As with anything else that you do, this type of experience is also going to look great to future employers. You’re going to have no problem putting it on your resume and no matter what type of volunteer project you’re working on, it can help give you a leg up. International experiences can be a great benefit, as can giving back to those less privileged than yourself. Working within a field you’re trying to break into, like medicine or animal conservation, can also be a great way to improve the way you look on a resume and what your potential employer thinks of you.
Why Learn Spanish?
If you know that you want to volunteer and you know that it’s going to do great things for you, what about learning Spanish? Why do you want to learn the Spanish language? Why can’t you just volunteer and keep to the very basics so you can communicate as needed? Why can’t you just rely on a translator to take care of things for you? Well, there are actually several different reasons why you may want to learn the language for yourself and be able to talk to the people around you.
The number one reason to learn Spanish is, after all, just that, to be able to communicate with the people that are around you. You’re going to be volunteering in this community and, hopefully, you’re going to be there for a little while. That means you’re going to need to interact with the people around you and one of the best ways to do that is if you are actually able to talk to them yourself. You’ll be able to tell them what you need or want and you’ll be able to actually get to know people and make some friends while you’re at it.
That’s another point that we’re going to talk about, making friends. When you know how to speak the language it’s a whole lot easier to joke and laugh with someone. That means it a whole lot easier to get to know them as well. Before you know it you could actually have friends that are in an entirely different country. They could be people that you talk to for the rest of your life and that you are always reaching out to. They could be people that you’re only friends with for the length of your trip. Either way, they make the trip even more fun.
You want to trust that a translator is always going to say the exact thing that you’re trying to say and that they’re always going to say exactly what the other person is trying to say. The truth is you don’t really know. It’s entirely possible that you could be saying one thing and they could be saying something else, either intentionally or because they don’t quite understand what it is that you’re saying. The same thing could be happening the other way as well. If you’re able to talk for yourself you don’t have to worry about these types of problems. You can just say what you need to say.
Next, you’re going to have something else that you can add to your resume. Think about it, being able to speak another language is definitely going to give you a bit of an edge, right? You’ll be able to communicate with a much larger group of people now than you were ever able to before and Spanish is one of the most commonly spoken languages in the world. So you’re going to have a really good edge when it comes to getting hired later on.
Where to Learn
There are actually a number of different countries that you can travel to in order to learn Spanish and yet the programs are the same in each country. The difference, you will find, is that there are different dialects of Spanish depending on where you learn the language. That means learning it in Honduras may not be exactly the same as learning in Peru. Each country speaks Spanish, but each country speaks it slightly differently so you may need to choose just one country to focus your learning in, even if you travel to more than one.
Go to Country
Costa Rica, Colombia, Guatemala, Honduras, Ecuador, Chile, and Peru all offer Spanish language immersion classes and, even more, these are considered cultural immersion classes as well. That means you’re going to have no problem not only learning the language but also finding out even more about the culture and the ways of the people who live within the country as well. This can most definitely create an entirely new experience for anyone and is definitely going to make it easier for you to understand the people within the community.
What You Get
When you join the language learning and cultural immersion program you are signing up to receive lessons five days per week and at least 45 minutes per session. Even more, you can choose to enter into this program for a single week or for several months, so it’s up to you just how fluent you actually want to get and what you’re hoping to achieve throughout the course of the program. If you’re interested, you can even purchase additional lessons and work on your Spanish language skills throughout the day or throughout portions of the program.
What’s going to really make things better is that you can add this on to just about any program that you want to participate in. If you’re a part of one of the medical programs or an animal conservation program or anything else you can add on Spanish language and cultural immersion. You’ll have plenty of opportunities to work on your Spanish skills and you’re also going to have plenty of time to work on your other tasks as well. That’s because the two programs will be combined together and you will generally do your Spanish lessons during the morning hours and your regular volunteer work during the afternoon.
How You Learn
You’re going to have classes in the Spanish language, which will likely be similar to anything that you would get if you were to take Spanish classes in your hometown. You’ll be able to interact with someone who speaks the language and you might have things that you need to practice and study throughout your sessions. You’ll get homework and other methods to help you learn different words and start to memorize different ways that you can communicate with someone within the community, especially since you’re living in the community with other Spanish-speaking people.
What’s even better about these classes, however, is that you’re likely going to be taking them from someone who is a native speaker of the language rather than someone who learned the language later (like you’re trying to do). That means you’re going to have even more opportunity to really learn the nuances of the language and to get to know some of the more specific aspects that non-native speakers just don’t know. You’re also learning that particular dialect, which means you don’t have to worry about being misunderstood when you’re trying to speak to someone within the region with a different dialect of the language.
On top of these classes, you’re going to be staying in the home of locals. This is one of the great aspects of this particular type of volunteer program. A Broader View seeks to place all of our volunteers with host families that are actually locals. They all go through a strong vetting process, but because they’re locals you’re going to have to communicate with them primarily in their own, native language. This forces you to pick up a little bit more of the language so that you can communicate with that host family and get your thoughts and opinions across to them.
You’ll also be living within the community and whatever volunteer project you’re working on is going to put you in close proximity with the locals. That means you’re also going to need to communicate with them, primarily in their native language. You’ll likely learn a few words and phrases just from talking with these people and interacting with them on a daily basis. These words are likely to pertain to the type of work that you’re doing as well, which will make it even easier for you to communicate as you go forward with your volunteer project.
The Bottom Line
No matter what, if you’re hoping to learn the Spanish language you should absolutely be looking for ways that you can do it within a country where Spanish is the primary language. After all, you’re never going to learn better than if you actually immerse yourself in the language and in people who speak that language. When it’s the only option you’ll actually be surprised how quickly you start to pick up new words and start to really understand what the people around you are saying, even if it only starts out with simple things.
So what are you waiting for? If you’re looking for the ultimate vacation, it’s time that you volunteered through ABV. One thing’s for sure: you won’t regret it!