Volunteering Project: I worked at an English school. Outside of the city center in Buenos Aires (Pablo Nogues)

June 2022

On our way to El Alfarero, a small preschool on the southern border between Buenos Aires Ciudad and Buenos Aires Province, the two sides of industrial development exist in close proximity and stark contrast.

Volunteering Project: Communications

Year of volunteering: March-July 2022

Coming to Argentina the first time, I had no idea how complicated the exchange rates and access to cash would be, if you don’t want to lose money!

Argentina. A land of many ecosystems and one of the largest countries in South America. As a young adult, I dreamt of visiting Argentina, especially after reading Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara’s, “The Motorcycle Diaries,” and seeing the movie thereafter. Although the story and book focused on Che Guevara’s life, images of the Argentine landscape could not escape my mind. So, I decided to learn more about Argentina’s ecosystems and communities in various parts of the country via my studies.

Looking back to March when I arrived, these past four months definitely fall under that category of periods of time that have simultaneously gone by so fast and feel like they’ve lasted forever. I feel a lot of gratitude for my time here and I thought I’d summarise my experiences using a pretty simple framework: people, places, and perspective, or the three Ps if you will.
Getting to a new city can often be overwhelming, especially one as big as Buenos Aires! There were lots of things I did when I first got to the city to settle in, and some things that my friends did that I didn’t. From my own experience, and having spoken to them, I’ve compiled a guide of how to feel comfortable in the wonderful cosmopolitan metropolis that is the city of Buenos Aires.
In a time full of uncertainty, it can be hard not to feel despair as the news cycle makes the state of the world seem ever more desperate and beyond repair. This can be made worse by social media, which exposes us to (often unverified news) on a constant loop, making it very difficult to feel anything but anxious and powerless. Unfortunately these feelings, understandable as they are, stop us from taking action. The more dread we feel, the more paralysed we become and the less likely we are to mobilise. And whilst any one individual is unlikely to effect great change, there’s a whole lot that we can do together! That’s why volunteering can be a great way to get involved with a community, and break this cycle of feeling powerless. But sometimes it can be hard to know where to start, so I’ll share a few tips with you that have helped me:
Bariloche was not somewhere I’d heard of before coming to Argentina. Rather, I discovered it through recommendations from locals and the Instagram stories of exchange students. In most aspects of my life, I tend to plan and research diligently before doing something, but on this trip I took a step back and barely glanced at the guidebook or google images before going.
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