Voluntary work in Chile

Information & guidance about volunteering projects in Chile

Shockingly thin and long, Chile stretches 4300km from the driest desert on earth to glacial fields in the South, creating a diverse landscape unrivalled by anywhere else. Dry dunes, vast valleys, ancient forests, fjords, volcanoes, and towering glaciers make up the contrasting scenery that is home to around 18 million people. Despite being considered South America’s most stable and prosperous nation, there are still plenty of opportunities for voluntary work in Chile ranging from teaching English to environmental conservation.

Where to volunteer in Chile

Situated between the Andes and the Pacific coast, Chile is the longest country in the world with geography that varies throughout the whole country, meaning there are a range of environments for voluntary work in Chile to suit everyone.

Santiago is Chile’s capital, and the most developed city with a population of around 5.6 million. With a reputation of being clean and calm, the city serves as a great location for volunteering in Chile, due to boasting a great insight into Chilean culture as well as tourist attractions including cafes, vineyards and an electric nightlife.

Viña del Mar is located an hour away from Santiago, along the Pacific coast, featuring sandy beaches, historic buildings, a seaside castle, parks and museums that give a taste of Chilean life. With a much smaller population of around 327,000, Viña del Mar is also home to an annual music festival which volunteers in the city in February should definitely find time to attend!

Volunteering projects in Chile

Chile officials have encouraged Chileans to become fully bilingual, meaning teaching English is the most popular voluntary work in Chile, as English lessons are mandatory in all primary and secondary schools. Some placements even offer a monthly payment from the Chilean government, and all levels of teaching experience tend to be accepted in the majority of destinations. Most English teaching placements in Chile require volunteers to be at least eighteen years old and native English speakers – some may prefer if you speak basic to intermediate Spanish skills, but often Spanish lessons are offered as part of the volunteer program, and there is no better way to learn the language than being surrounded by the locals on a daily basis!

Voluntary work in Chile can also include community development, such as volunteering with children in orphanages or care centers in under served communities. There is also the chance to work with indigenous communities. Those interested in volunteering in Chile’s rural areas will have many opportunities to lend assistance in areas such as ecotourism and environmental conservation, which allow volunteers to live in beautiful destinations throughout the country.

Although Spanish is not required for voluntary work in Chile, it is definitely preferred, so it is worth learning a basic level of understanding prior to departure to help your day to day life. Volunteer programs in Chile can be as short as one week or as long as a year, although teaching placements tend to be longer on average than other placements.