Review Volunteer Owen Williams in La Serena Chile at the Teaching program
Volunteer in Chile
- How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in country?
-Very good, everything went very smoothly and I had no problems.
- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
-Program: how open and engaging the students were with me. They made it very easy to become part of the class.
-Host Family: how accepting and helpful Vilma was.
-Country: the varied climates/zones are just amazing. Luckily, I had time to travel all around Chile and the variety of different cultures and landscapes is breathtaking.
- What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
-Program: finding the best way to be helpful. In a school setting, it is difficult to find where you can be most helpful as most of the profesoras have lesson plans set.
-Country: still speaking English. Although I had a great experience, I think the more Spanish you have mastered, the better.
- Any tips for future volunteers?
-Bring layers. In the north (even in the winter) it can be both cold and hot.
-Try to see as much of the country as you can. Flying can be cheap and rental cars allow you to go anywhere.
-Come for three weeks or longer. It usually takes to about the middle of the second week before you get into the groove of volunteering, so 1-2 weeks is too few.
- Other things volunteers should know before coming here:
-Don’t be nervous about coming, everyone is helpful and the people you work with (both students and teachers) are very inclusive.
-If you are clearly a tourist you may be targeted by people trying to ask you out of money (particularly in the Plaza). If someone asks you to pull out money, politely say no and walk away.
- Personal paragraph about the experience:
- I started my time in La Serena after having been in Chile for five weeks (four in Santiago and one in the Lakes Region). It was very exciting to see another facet of Chilean culture – particularly the striking red and white architecture. I was nervous to start work at Colegio, specifically with the language barrier, but this proved to not be an issue. The children were very outgoing and excited to talk to me, which put me at ease. Luckily, I was also able to go on tours of both Pisco Elqui and Isla Damas during my one weekend in La Serena. All in all, it was a fantastic experience that helped me see Chile from a point of view distinct from that of a tourist.
Volunteer in Chile Teaching Education Program
- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality, others:
-All was very good! A nice bed and hot shower was very welcome. Also, I loved all of Vilma’s cooking – particularly the traditional Chilean dishes.
- What was your favorite memory of this trip?
-Program: a little bittersweet, but the day I said goodbye. I was able to talk to all the students and say goodbye and give them hugs.
-Host Family: sitting down to dinner and talking about Chile/La Serena.
- How was the ABV USA support prior to traveling?
-Good, very easy. Don’t recall who helped, but everything was facilitated well.
-Reservation system is easy to use, had no problems with it.
-Google search for volunteer opportunities in Chile.
- Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
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