From a certain view, volunteering is an extension of support, whether fulfilling very short or long-term necessities, and assistance to those in need. However, a well-organized volunteer opportunity maximizes the benefits to all involved by becoming a genuine exchange; specifically, one where the tangible extends into an authentic chance for growth for each individual volunteer, as well.
Particularly in the case of study abroad trips where Spanish study and cultural immersion are melded with a volunteer program, the results are an extremely enriching opportunity. This is especially true when the volunteer work assists in meeting the expressed needs of a nearby community; this scenario provides an even greater guarantee when the local organizations are founded, based and run within nearby communities.
Recently an article written about teens being placed out of their comfort zone with the goal of helping others – through large and small acts of kindness – showed how this helped with increasing self-confidence and social connections in both the here-and-now, as well as later in life. https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2018/01/13/577463475/helping-strangers-may-help-teens-self-esteem The value of engagement in volunteering most certainly seems worth the time investment. And, when you are able to combine this type of experience with travel abroad, living daily with a locally vetted host family, along with studying a second language, the resulting benefits are exponential.
Volunteer programs through CPI Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica
CPI Spanish Immersion in Costa Rica works with various locally founded and run organizations with their ‘boots daily on the ground’ to facilitate quality volunteer experiences. In the Central Valley, while at CPI Heredia, we work with NGOs in marginalized urban hubs on projects where our students are collaborating in community beautification and child education. At our CPI Monteverde campus our volunteer groups spend out-of-class time at a sustainable farm, working alongside immigrant laborers, learning about migratory and development challenges in the developing world, while at the same time receiving tips on how to be mindful of conservation. And at our CPI Flamingo site, participants have the opportunity to help small rural communities through the Siempre Amigos projects, from simple house painting to house renovations which include: cementing dirt floors, installing roofs, and building on rooms.
Advantages of combining volunteering and learning Spanish through immersion
As noted, solely volunteering is of great value. But you can maximize the experience even more thanks to CPI’s expertise in organizing and running study abroad programs with the scheduling of the volunteership slotting in perfectly with time dedicated to studying Spanish.