Expand your Study Abroad Experience with Volunteer Add-on Programs!
Are you studying abroad with API in Latin America this fall or next spring or summer? If so, you should consider adding one of our Volunteer programs to your session! Take advantage of your time abroad to expand your experience, give back to a local community, perhaps visit a new location – all without the cost of another expensive plane ticket from the US.
Where can I go?
API offers volunteer options in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Guatemala. You do not have to stay in the city or country where you’re studying – you can add on a program anywhere in the region! If you’re studying in Buenos Aires, but have been dying to go to Chile all semester and never made it, now’s the time. If you’ve always dreamed of the Galapagos, the islands are waiting for you!
How long would I volunteer?
The minimum time is typically 1 week for Argentina, Chile, or Costa Rica and 2 weeks for Brazil, Ecuador, or Guatemala. You can stay as long as you like, often up to 90 days, though we may need to discuss visa requirements depending on your study and volunteer locations.
Where would I live?
In many locations, students live with local host families and have a chance to immerse themselves both linguistically and culturally as a result. In a few locations, students live in volunteer lodging that is close to the placement site. We can discuss your options when you chat with us about possible placements.
What would my volunteer program “look like”?
Most volunteers will work an average of 4-5 hours/day at their placement on weekdays, though we have been able to add more hours for students needing to meet a higher minimum time commitment to count the program towards a degree requirement. In your free time you may take language classes, explore the city or travel locally, hang out with your host family, or join optional activities offered by our partners. Keep in mind that you could be the only API volunteer at your placement site, but you will have the chance to meet like-minded volunteers from all over the world.
You can see available placement fields on the program profiles on the API website. We don’t list out more specific examples because placements are customized to meet both community needs and your goals and skills/background. Many of our partners have long-standing relationships within the community, and API volunteers contribute to long-term organizational goals even though their work may be short-term in nature. Your hosts will know how you can best serve the community during your time abroad, so please be willing to pitch in when and where you are most needed. You are part of a larger whole, and your efforts will help your hosts advance their goals in a way that sustains a positive cycle of change and development in their work in the community.
Are there any special application requirements?
You must be 18+ years to volunteer in Argentina, Chile, Costa Rica or Ecuador, and you must be 21+ years to volunteer in Brazil or Guatemala. For select placements, you may need to meet a minimum level of language proficiency.
How do I add on a volunteer program?
Adding on a volunteer program is easy! Contact your API Study Abroad Program Coordinator and ask them for the Volunteer Add-on Program Addition form. Complete and return that form to your PC with a copy of your current resume, and our Experiential Program Manager, Brittany Boehr, will reach out and connect with you for a short intake interview. Once you are provisionally accepted by API, you may need to provide a few additional materials, such as a background check and volunteer bio.
Do I have to add on my volunteer program before I leave for my study abroad session?
It is ideal to add on your volunteer program prior to leaving for study abroad, since that will enable you to make your travel plans and purchase your plane ticket accordingly. That said, it’s absolutely fine to add it on later! Applications for these programs are accepted on a rolling basis, and we recommend you apply at least 8 weeks before you wish to volunteer. If you are flexible about your placement, we can often organize your program with less than that standard lead time.
What happens if I add the program and change my mind later?
API’s Volunteer programs have a different payment and cancellation policy than our Study Abroad Programs, which you can review in detail before you commit to the program. If your plans change after you accept your placement, it is possible to defer your volunteer program participation, up to a year later, as long as we have advance notice.
Where can I find more information?
There is a special page for volunteer add-on programs on our website here: https://www.apistudyabroad.com/experiential-programs/study-abroad-plus-volunteer-add-ons/
We also have a more general TWV FAQs page that could be helpful to review here: https://www.apistudyabroad.com/experiential-programs/frequently-asked-questions
You can also email your Program Coordinator or call 1-800-844-4124 with questions!