2019-08-03

Interview with Volunteer Ambassador Neil West

Written by James O'Hara
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In this interview, Volunteer Ambassador Neil West tells us about his experience in Buenos Aires volunteering, for a second time, with Voluntario Global.

Allison Ugosoli Photography

Where are you from, and why did you choose to volunteer with Voluntario Global?

I’m from London. I found Voluntario Global while I was researching volunteering on the internet and it looked very interesting.  I had never been to Argentina before, I couldn’t speak Spanish, but I thought it would be perfect. 

What inspired you to volunteer?

My background is in social work and health care management - I enjoy helping others, I also love travelling and experiencing new cultures. When I do visit a place and take in the culture and experience, I think it's great to try and give something back and volunteering seemed like a great way of doing that.

Was volunteering in Buenos Aires what you expected it to be?

It is as good as I hoped it would be. There is a lot more support than I had originally anticipated which has been really good. The first time I volunteered back in March there was a very solid network of support, as a lot of the other volunteers were staying together in the hostel. It is great to meet people with common goals and ideas whilst volunteering.

Why did you decide to come back and volunteer in another project?

Many reasons. After working in a job I had been doing for many years, I decided to take a small break and try something new. I originally did a six week period back in February and March working in a kindergarten, and I really enjoyed my time there. What I realized was that if I go back to my job, I would be even more dissatisfied than I originally was. It was just so good that I decided I would come back for a second time. I tied the decision in with travelling for the next year and a half. I plan to also volunteer with other organizations within Central America and Africa. 

Name three things every volunteer should know about volunteering with Voluntario Global?

It would be really good to have a basic understanding of Spanish, because it helps to enhance the experience you have, whether with the communities you work in or day to day within the city. 

To be reassured that the support from the organization is really really good, and that will help to quickly become comfortable within the communities that they find themselves in.

To have a really open mind and be relaxed. Expect anything and embrace it, and the more you put in to the program, the more you get out of it. Throw yourself at the experience and you will feel the rewards you get back from it.

Do you have any advice for future volunteers coming to Buenos Aires?

Enjoy the experience. I am so happy that I decided to give this a chance, and I haven’t looked back. It is well worth it, and it’s a magnificent city with great people.

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VOLUNTARIO GLOBAL

Voluntario Global helps local communities by being available to discuss anything that local organizations need, and offering ideas for further change and development.
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