Volunteering in Ecuador as part of your travels is one of the best ways to see the culture and get to know the people here during an adventure in South America.
There are literally hundreds of places that advertise volunteer positions-and a lot of research is needed to find the right fit. Keep reading for some suggestions for finding a great volunteer position and the benefits of giving back to others while in the country.
Finding a Volunteer Position
Two if the best ways to find a volunteer position that ticks all the boxes is to ask for recommendations from former volunteers and contact the organization directly with a carefully thought out set of questions.
The list should include specifics of what you will do, the time commitment required, info about food and lodging, and the current state and progress of the projects.
Ask for a former volunteer's contact, and ask them questions about the project director, the people who are on staff, and the work and benefits that it does for the community involved.
Opportunities come in all shapes and sizes, from volunteering in hostels for room and board, to working with non-profits who help mothers and children in local markets, to teaching English. Some Spanish Schools such as Yanapuma Spanish in Quito, are attached to non-profit foundations, and others have vetted connections to try before diving in.
When you find the right fit for your skills, talents, and abilities-new doors open that lead to a deeper understanding of the Ecuadorian people.
If you are in Quito and looking for a volunteer gig, check out Finn McCools in the Mariscal on Tuesday nights. The Irish owned pub hosts a charity pub quiz where a crowd of volunteers, teachers, and expats come each week to have fun during the week. Talk to the volunteers of Cenit, who run the quiz, about volunteering in North Quito. (link above)
Combining Volunteering and Travel
One of the best benefits of volunteering in Ecuador is the connections that you make with the communities and other volunteers.
Working side-by-side with people from all over the world and Ecuador forms a common bond, one that often leads to new destinations with fellow volunteers as companions.
Another bonus of volunteering is getting comfortable with using Spanish everyday. Working with community members who are passionate about their endeavors gets the conversations moving, and helps you to relax when speaking to others during your journeys.
What volunteering while traveling in Ecuador reveals about the people here is their vibrant spirit. There is a resilience to Ecuadorians, a quiet resolve that spreads into the streets and the rolling countryside. Once it hits you, your eyes open to the stunning society and the incredible landscapes that make the journey worthwhile.