Working as a volunteer is a unique opportunity to practice Spanish and to experience Uruguayan culture from inside.
Academia Uruguay offers students the possibility to combine Spanish courses with volunteer work. Students can work for different organizations and projects in Montevideo in order to discover the particular issues affecting beneficiaries, and to work together with them for mutual socio-cultural development via complete immersion in local life.
Volunteering is a valuable life experience, to be a volunteer is to offer help to people to who truly need it; it’s making a difference. It is also rewarding for the volunteers themselves, who gain experience, learn new skills, meet people of diverse backgrounds and learn to value and respect differences. Anyone is qualified to volunteer and make a positive impact on the community.
In short, to volunteer is to freely offer time, knowledge, experience, ideas and skills without pay in return. It’s to act cohesively, keeping in mind that individual actions form part of a greater picture; generating an improvement for a particular social group.
The program is available for free for students who meet the following requirements:
1. Are taking at least three weeks of Spanish classes.
2. Perform volunteer work for at least a month.
3. Have an intermediate level of Spanish (minimum B1).
If the student already has the required intermediate level, volunteer work can be undertaken in parallel with Spanish classes. If they do not yet have that level, we suggest the student take a few weeks of Spanish classes before commencing. This requirement is in place so that all can have a good experience; so there can be real exchange between the staff in charge of the organization, local and international volunteers and the beneficiaries of these projects.
When the student contacts Academia Uruguay he/she must outline what type of work he/she is looking to undertake and what his/her expectations are. We will respond with information regarding details of the program and a Spanish assessment that the student must complete and send back via email before his/her arrival. Upon its receipt, the student’s Spanish level will be verified and he/she will be notified if it is possible to begin volunteer work directly or whether classes should be taken before.
Usually the first day volunteering is dedicated to getting to know the organization and the people working for it. Then the student will be assigned tasks according to the needs of the organisation at the time, scheduling availability, the student’s Spanish proficiency and his/her areas of interest.
Importantly, as the student’s Spanish level improves, it is possible to communicate more fluently and hence perform a greater variety of tasks. This will make the experience more enriching.