Chile

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I chose to volunteer in Chile La Serena to help a primary school in there attempts to become a more bilingual population. I wanted to practice my Spanish as rigorously as I could and I had been informed that Chile is notorious for its Spanish being more complex. 
The host family was very nice and I found it very surprising how alike we were in terms of political and social views. I was able to have several discussions with them about how the politics in Chile were similar to those in the United States.
I recommend that other volunteers pack warmer clothes. Its usually 50F in Winter. The temperature doesn't change much throughout the week. During the weekends I would recommend going to places like Isla Damas, Elqui Valley, Tongoy. Volunteers should really take advantage of the days they have off.
My accommodations were very pleasing and I was very satisfied. Silvia, our host mom was a very good cook and I was always looking forward to what she had prepared for us. I loved her rice. I'm not a fan of fish, but Silvia made the best fried fish I have ever had. I never felt like I was in danger so I don't have anything to complain about when it comes to my security. My host family was amazing and I didn't miss my own family at home since I had them for company and they made me feel comfortable in my new home.
My local coordinator, Vilma was amazing. She made sure we had things to do on our days off. I didn't really feel the need to ask her for any assistance as everything was set, but I was confident that if I needed anything that I could depend on her.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Sep 2, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I volunteered at both the orphanage (6 weeks) and elderly home (2 weeks) in La Serena, Chile from May 15th to July 10th this year. Both organizations are run my Sisters, who are so kind and made me feel extremely welcome. They made my experience so great. Overall, I had a wonderful experience volunteering with the children and elderly people.

I learned so much about Chilean culture and really improved my Spanish. I also made some great friends with other ABV volunteers and people at my work. I had a great trip after learning to adjust.

My host mom cooked plenty of food for us and adjusted her cooking to my dietary needs (I cannot eat gluten or lactose). Her food was delicious! I always felt safe and everyone was very nice. Vilma and Tanya (local coordinator and Spanish teacher) are very kind.

On my second-to-last day at work at the elderly home, I ate lunch with the Hermanas (the Religious Sisters) and they were SO funny. Everyone jokes with me because I love peanut butter so much and it is not very popular in Chile, but one of the sisters also loves it and even puts it on her fish! They made me feel very welcome and I was able to work closely with them to help at the home.

The organization support was extremely helpful. I asked so many questions and always got a very rapid response. You can also save your chats on the website and email them to yourself which was very helpful.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Aug 16, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

The Intern Group

Since the moment I applied to when I arrived everything has worked as It suppose and better, I mean in 2 weeks after I applied the Staff was telling me that there was a company that fit my interest very well, and in a few weeks later every detail was set up for me arriving here. The process is very easy to follow, and you feel you have someone to ask about any step you are doubtful to take.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Chile
Posted: Jul 29, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Adelante Abroad

I was a candidate in Adelante's Chile program for three months in early 2017. At the risk of sounding hacknied, the experience was utterly transformative, thanks in large part to Adelante.

After a friendly chat with the feller sent to pick me up from the airport, I arrived to the candidate apartment. Strangely, it was way nicer than it looked in the pictures. Classes at the International Center (Adelante's in-country fixer organization, which also maintains the apartment and a network of homestay families) started a few days later. They were daily group lessons taught by the wonderful Marcela, who took us on excursions in Viña and Valpo as part of the lessons, and advised us extensively on where to buy meat, how to navigate the streets and slang, etc. The International Center crew was not only extremely communicative (and able to speak English, in large part), they took us out and were generally good buddies. I was traveling alone, so that gracious friendliness kept a certain amount of loneliness at bay.

In my second month I moved to a family homestay. There was some confusion here in regard to communication between the International Center and Adelante, but I still ended up in the right place. The host family was extremely accomodating, but a bit controlling. I decided that I wanted to try a different host family a month later, and the Adelante/IC folks had me in a new house the next day. Despite small problems with the host families themselves, Adelante/IC was adament about holding them accountable, and urged me to report any issue that came up.

My internship assignment was spot on. Marcela made sure I knew how to get there and who to talk to (although the beautiful madness of Chilean Spanish made it difficult to chat at first). I was allowed to work at my own pace and take as many tourism days off as I needed. The staff was endlessly cool... if you end up in the area, I recommend you tune in to Radio Valentín Letelier for a (really) broad mix of alternative music.

There are countless wonderful details about the experience that I don't have time to impart, but I gotta mention the excursions to a local vineyard (the first included as part of lessons, the second offered for free when my parents came to visit me) and Charlie (a sweet street dog often accompanied by "the yellow dog," both of whom followed me into supermarkets, churches, and anywhere else). Generally, the atmosphere of the Adelante/IC was one of helpful kindness, and that made good things happen.

I'm omitting a lot of difficult experiences, which were equally essential to the emotional and lingual growth I achieved down there, but none of those were Adelante's fault. In retrospect, I'm awfully grateful for those negative experiences, but pleased to say that they didn't stem from the organization to which I paid $4000.

Adelante is trustworthy and Chile is indescribably worthwhile. Buen viaje, folks. Pick up a slang dictionary on your way.

Program:
Location: Chile
Posted: Jun 6, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I had a tremendously positive experience during my 6 weeks in La Serena. The school staff and students were all very welcoming and eager to have a native English speaker with them and they were all very friendly. The host accommodation far exceeded my expectations. Vilma the host mother had the perfect temperament for the job, offering a comfortable home with beautiful home cooked meals and time to talk and laugh in the evenings. The neighborhood of both the accommodation and the school were very safe and I would highly recommend this program to anyone, particularly with Vilma she is the coordinator of the program as you couldn’t ask for more hospitality or a more seamless transition into volunteering. It was my first experience volunteering and its an experience I’ll never forget.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Dec 16, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

Chile is a wonderful country and La Serena is a very beautiful city. Downtown is very cute and some days there are artisans tents lined up in the plaza. I never felt unsafe in La Serena or Coquimbo but I always tried to be aware of my surroundings. Everyone I met were very friendly and helpful. People were often intrigued about where I was from and what I was doing in Chile. I met a tia at my orphanage and she made me feel like one of her family. She and her daughters showed me all of the beaches of Coquimbo (they are all very beautiful but COLD in winter!)
The orphanage provided the kids with everything they needed. It was much better kept and supplied then I had expected. My favorite part of the orphanage was the smile on the little kids’ faces when I walked in the door every morning. I worked with the toddlers: four months to two years old.
My host family was fantastic. My home was very comfortable, having warm water and wifi. My host mom and I spent many evenings jogging on the beach or Zumba-ing in the living room. Her food was delicious and the family was always welcoming. I had a “sister” and “brother” at the house who hung out with me and helped me figure things out here in Chile. One of my favorite moments with my host family was watching a U17 soccer world cup game with my host parents – it was Chile versus United States. My host father is very into soccer so he was yelling and shouting at the TV and whenever I watch sporting events I end up doing the same. The house was full of celebrations and frustrations during the course of the game. Chile won in the end but the game was a highlight of my trip and it gave me something to connect with my host dad on.
I really had no problems at all with my host family. The only challenging part was the "Chilenismos/slang" and the difficult Spanish accent (they speak way to fast). I did improved a lot over the two months in Chile.
I would definitely do my whole trip again and not change a thing. My project was rewarding, Vilma was supportive and understanding, and my host family were fantastic. La Serena and Coquimbo were wonderful places to base the program out of because they provided many different opportunities.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Nov 17, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I loved my time in Chile and La Serena. Everyone there was very patient and kind, and Vilma (my host mother) and Tania (my Spanish teacher) were super-helpful if you needed anything.
Working at the nursing home was an incredible experience for me. I made a whole bunch of new friends there with whom I hope to keep in touch. If you decide to work at the nursing home (and I think you should!), try to learn as much Spanish as you can before you arrive.
I found the support from Abroaderview to be excellent. Whenever I sent an email, I got a response within 24 hours (although usually it was much quicker), and the staff was always very helpful and kind with all my questions. I also used the chat system with Lori a few times, and she was also very patient with my many questions!
I received a few emails after arriving in country, and they were a pleasant surprise. Mostly they were just checking in, wanting to know if I was enjoying myself, and if there was anything they could do for me. Sarah also sent an email after we had a big earthquake just to make sure we were ok here, which I found very thoughtful.
This was actually my third trip with Abroaderview. (I went to Vietnam and Cambodia back in 2010 and 2011.) I have volunteered with four different organizations/companies, and I feel that Abroaderview is the best in terms of value and support, so that’s why I looked them up again for this trip.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Nov 15, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I have to start by saying that my program and trip was amazing, the experience of living in Chile was something everyone should have. I was nervous to travel to La Serena without knowing a soul, but my host family welcomed me and made me feel at home. The work can be difficult and tiring at times, but it is worth the effort. The kids are adorable and it is obvious to see the difference the volunteers make. I did branched out and tried so many new things while there. It was like I went through years’ worth of experiences in six weeks. I did also learned lots.... My Spanish did definitely improved: both my understanding and speaking. I did learned how to navigate through an unfamiliar city at night and ask for help if needed. I did learned how to keep multiple toddlers entertained, if not quiet sometimes. Overall, the last six weeks of my stay was some of the most memorable ones of my life. This trip did heightened my desire to travel more and see the world as well as continue to volunteer and help those who are less fortunate than I am.
The host family exceeded my expectations. The mom, Vilma, was amazing. She was so thoughtful and helpful. She packed my lunch every day and had dinner ready for me when I was hungry. We traded off picking movies to watch together on the weekends and played cards during the week. I never felt unsafe or in danger. Walking to work in the mornings while it was still dark made me a little uncomfortable at first, but I never had any issues. Most people in La Serena were very friendly and helpful. Everyone smiles and says hola as you pass on the sidewalks. The city of La Serena is a good size and offers enough to do to stay occupied on the weekends. I didn’t really go out much on weeknights.
A few days after I arrived in La Serena, I received an email from ABV checking to see how I was settling in. We corresponded a few times. I decided to work at the day-care center for my last two weeks instead of just staying at the orphanage. The staff was very easy to work with to allow me to make that change. Thank you again for everything.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Jul 3, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

CEA - Cultural Experiences Abroad

After compiling a formal complaint letter, I will keep it short and simple. CEA is a waste of anyones money. Aside from coordinating my family, and giving them money for my stay and food, they did nothing. My home university in Vina Del Mar, Chile helped the students with our introduction week, planned field trips, transcripts, and any issues the students were having. I spend $10,000, when that money should have been going to the community and the school. I had a friend on the trip who wasn't willing to pay this price, so he contacted the university he was interested in attending, and the international department helped him find a family, he paid half the price.
CEA barely coordinates with the students when they are abroad unless you have questions, they do NOT care about their students, after working with them you really just feel like they want to make money. They had difficultly assisting me when I was robbed, lost my credit card, and failed to reach out to me to make sure I was okay when there was a massive earthquake and tsunami alert.
Steer away from CEA, but if you want extra money to travel, think outside the box and talk to the university themselves!

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Nov 9, 2014
Overall:
1
Support:
2
Value:
1

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I had an excellent experience working with this program in La Serena. When first arriving at the orphanage I was surprised at how much the children and tias immediately trusted us. It took some times for us to adjust to the way things were run especially since Sam and I did not have experience working with young kids. Though we knew it would be no means be an easy job working at the orphanage, we were definitely taken a back by some of things we saw. That being said this has been a life-changing experience and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.Throughout the past three weeks I have learned a great deal about the Chilean culture and about myself all while being able to contribute something to the wonderful kids and workers at the orphanage.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Oct 4, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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