Reviews from Past Volunteers

Reviews from Past Volunteers (225)

Christmas on the other side of the world.

By Olivia Puddicombe. This year was my first Christmas away from home.  It was also the first Christmas I spent in the southern hemisphere and it was definitely different!  I had been living in Argentina for three months when December arrived and therefore should have been used to the fact that every day the weather was getting warmer.  However it felt strange when opening each new door of the advent calendar my mum sent me, to be doing so in 30 degrees plus temperatures.  I genuinely forgot that Christmas was fast approaching as I was not used to associating summertime with Christmas.  I missed the snow, the cold, our traditional Christmas foods and songs. In Buenos Aires Christmas is a lot less noticeable in comparison with London.  There were of course decorations but with it being summer the glittering lights were not as obvious and the general level of decoration was lower.  It almost seemed like Christmas was not such an important event here.  In England as it is so cold and dark during December we spend the whole month looking forward to and getting ready for Christmas as though our lives depend on it.  In Buenos Aires Christmas seemed to suddenly be here, without a song and dance having been made about it and I was probably the most excited person about it.  I cannot decide whether I like or dislike this! I spent Christmas at my friend’s house.  Christmas Eve was spent sunbathing by the pool!  That evening we had a big family supper.  At midnight ‘Father Christmas’ came to hand out presents to the little ones which resulted in very happy children and some great photos!  Then we exchanged presents.  There is a long standing family tradition of playing a game which is pretty much like Secret Santa apart from that it is extremely competitive in that each person has to guess who bought them their present!  It was strange to do presents on Christmas Eve.  I have grown up waking up on Christmas Day to find a stocking with presents from ‘Father Christmas’ waiting at the end of your bed and then exchanging family presents later in the day.  However in Argentina Christmas Day is merely the day most people spend recovering from Christmas Eve – the equivalent of our Boxing Day!  I spent Christmas Day back by the pool!  Some more family came round for a big asado and that was the extent of the day’s activities.  All in all it was the most relaxed and stress-free Christmas that I had ever experienced!!  Whilst I missed the traditional Christmas supper it was nice not having the stress that accompanies it!!  Speaking to my parents on Christmas Day whilst wandering around the garden in nearly 40 degrees heat, I felt a world away from them, with them talking to me snuggled up under multiple blankets by the fire watching Christmas films!  Which do I prefer... It is hard to say but I am definitely up for another Christmas spent by a pool!

Volunteering abroad: make a real difference

One important thing I have learned while volunteering with Voluntario Global is that volunteering abroad has become a trend that has allowed organizations such as this one to benefit from a large amount of volunteers at their disposal, however the number of volunteers who are serious about putting in the effort to make a difference seem to be far and few between.

By Tiffany Granski. I´m still in shock as to how fast time has flown, and sad to say goodbye to those who´ve shown me the real Buenos Aires and given me an opportunity like no other. What started as an idea to fill some spare time while studying Spanish here in BA has turned into an eye opening experience that allowed me to understand the pain, patriotism, struggle, and most importantly passion that lies beneath this tourist ridden city I´ve come to know as much more than tango and asado. I started 8 weeks ago with VG as a volunteer in the communications team. My first job was to visit a new project VG was looking at adding to their list of projects, and I was immediately submersed into the Voluntario Global team, getting a full understanding of how VG not only helps out local communities and individuals in need, but also other teams trying to do the same. Since then I have visited many more of VG´s projects as well as events throughout the city in order to speak to participants and those being effected, to later share my experiences and insight with future and present volunteers. I couldn't have received a better project. I was able to observe and take part in many of VGs projects, and get a great overview of not only what VG is doing to improve the lives of thousands of people, but also understand better the true Buenos Aires many foreigners never get a glimpse of.Weather it was mourning the death of an ex-president, building a fence, helping a child with their homework, or learning a song with HIV/AIDS effected children trying to find normalcy, my time with VG has been eye opening and unforgettable. One important thing I have learned while volunteering with Voluntario Global is that volunteering abroad has become a trend that has allowed companies such as this one to benefit from a large amount of volunteers at their disposal, however the number of volunteers who are serious about putting in the effort to make a difference seem to be far and few between. If you are looking at volunteering abroad, my biggest advice to you would be to ask yourself why, and if you decide you want to make a real difference, don't come for two weeks- come, speaking the language or willing to take the time to learn, and dedicate enough time to not only get to know the city and the people you will be working with, but to give yourself a chance to really make a difference. For my last blog, wishing you all the best of luck, and an enormous thanks to those you made my time here so real and unforgettable.

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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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