Voluntary work in Uruguay

Information & guidance about volunteering projects in Uruguay

Uruguay, South America’s second smallest nation – ranked the highest among all Latin American countries for quality of living, peace, democracy and lack of corruption. Yet even with all of these successes and titles, 20% of Uruguay’s population still remains in poverty. Voluntary work in Uruguay is perfect for individuals who are looking for an exciting and rewarding experience in one of South America’s greatest and most often overlooked nations. Volunteering opportunities in Uruguay are constantly growing so look no further than lending a helping hand here!

Where to volunteer in Uruguay

Uruguay has a population of only around 3 million citizens, where half of which live in the metropolitan area of Montevideo. Montevideo is the capital city as well as its educational, cultural and economic capital, a thriving city on the Southern tip of Uruguay! Montevideo has a long rich history which relates back to its early colonial roots, whilst today it is now considered one of South America’s most livable cities. Montevideo is comprised of beautiful architecture and flourishing music, arts and literary scenes, those who choose to complete voluntary work here will find it easy to feel at home.

None of Uruguay’s other cities come anywhere close to the size or population of Montevideo, and volunteers will find that most international volunteer programs in Uruguay are indeed centered in the nation’s capital. However, it is certainly possible to find voluntary work elsewhere, where the next three largest cities are Salto, Ciudad de la Costa and Paysandú, all which have a population of over 100,000 people. Punta del Este and Colonia del Sacramento are also popular locations for tourism in general and voluntary work in Uruguay, cities in which offer volunteer placements in rural areas as well as offer a more relaxed lifestyle away from the big city.

Volunteering projects in Uruguay

Voluntary work in Uruguay is very often situated in the area of nature, environmental or wildlife preservation, where volunteers will spend a lot of time off the beaten path. The individuals who are interested in environmental voluntary work will gain the opportunity to help the country by working on projects such as protecting the native sea turtle population or participating in coast cleanups. Along with Uruguay’s beautiful sweeping coastline to the South Atlantic, Uruguay also has 10 national parks an impressive number for such a small country. This means there are also many protected wildlife reservations where it is possible to volunteer in Uruguay. Uruguay may be a beautiful and progressive country, however as in many other countries in the region, many animal species are in danger from human industrialization, so they need all the help they can get!

While Uruguay is known to be a fairly wealthy country compared to others in Latin America, many of the population are still sadly in poverty. Volunteer placements in Uruguay are available in the areas of education, community development and youth work, to bring aid to sectors of the population who are overlooked and underserved. Typical voluntary work in Uruguay involves working in orphanages, helping to build houses, or in daycares for example, all typical community volunteering.

As Spanish is the primary language, volunteers in Uruguay will find it greatly helpful to be at least proficient in speaking the language. However, speaking Spanish is not always required, and many voluntary work placements in Uruguay will instead combine volunteer placements with Spanish learning programs. These combined programs allow volunteers to improve their language skills whilst also contributing positively to the community in which they are working within, whilst also giving back further with the opportunity to teach the locals some English. Individuals are more than welcome within Uruguay for voluntary work, and the rewarding experience is always worth it.