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Volunteer in Colombia - Medellin

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At a glance....


Here we will answer some of the basic questions regarding projects available and what you can expect whilst volutering in Colombia.

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  • Why volunteer with H|A|T
  • Location and duration
  • Projects
  • Arrival and orientation
  • Volunteer Schedule
  • Accommodation and wifi
  • Meals
  • Program fees
  • Weekends and travel
  • Photo gallery
  • Essential country information
  • Volunteer requirements
  • Extras

Most affordable fees - we’re able to keep our fees low by partnering with a local organization in Colombia to support meaningful community projects and local employment.

Superior support - your experienced H|A|T Program Manager, teamed with our local team in Colombia will ensure you feel supported every step of the way - from planning to volunteering.

Responsible projects - we’re dedicated to ensuring that our projects are responsibly run and have sustainable positive impacts that are supporting local needs.

Online training - as soon as you register on an H|A|T program, you will gain access to our interactive volunteer training to ensure you’re well prepared for your program.

Safety-first - volunteer safety is a top priority for H|A|T and we have clear standards for risk management on each program. You can feel confident that you are placed with trustworthy institutions, organisations and families that have been screened by our local teams.

New friendships - as an H|A|T Volunteer, you’ll always be in the company of friendly locals and like-minded volunteer travelers who will quickly become your life-long friends.

Epic weekend adventures - you’ll have your weekends free to explore Colombia with your new-found friends.

H|A|T Colombia - has volunteer placements located in Colombia’s "eternal spring city" of Medellin and surrounding suburbs.

Volunteer programs begin on the 1st and 15th of every month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks

Personal Leadership

Our focus is to learn to cultivate the depth of the relationship, with people and organizations that want to make a difference, designing and living extraordinary lives, in their world first, then in the world of family, friends and business. We echo the words of Confucius. "The ancients who wished to illustrate illustrious virtues throughout the kingdom first well ordered their own states, wishing to order their states well, first regulated their families, wishing to regulate their families, they first cultivated their person." This is a ten-week program designed to prepare the individual to answer three important questions: 1. What do I want? 2. When do I want it? 3. What am I willing to sacrifice to get what I want?

In Colombia, many schools are under-staffed and under-resourced and in many cases, the teachers are under-qualified. Volunteers on the Teaching project assist with teaching English to students in local schools and volunteers with an intermediate level of Spanish may also be required to teach other subjects, such as Mathematics, Sciences, Humanities, Music, Sports and Arts. Volunteers on this project play a crucial role in exposing students to new subjects, inspiring them to think about their futures and follow their dreams. This is a highly rewarding project and through sharing knowledge and life experiences, volunteers can demonstrate that with a bit of hard work, anything is possible. As volunteers work with the support of H|A|T’s local team and placement staff, they do not need to be qualified or experienced teachers to participate. However, we encourage volunteers to come prepared by completing some relevant training, like a teaching English as a foreign language (TEFL) course.

Entreprenuership

This is a follow-up to the previous personal leadership training. In these modules you will learn to plan, prepare and present your business ideas clearly and master the art of marketing and negotiation. The Entrepreneurs Program uses experienced advisers and facilitators from the industry to ensure that companies receive the necessary advice and support to improve their competitiveness, productivity and seek growth opportunities. Practical support for companies, researchers and entrepreneurs includes: advice from people with relevant experience in the private sector, subsidies co-financed to market the new intellectual property in the form of new products, processes and services, financing to take advantage of opportunities for growth and connection and collaboration opportunities.

Community Empowerment

For any community to succeed, it needs to multiply its knowledge and experience. We believe that success is in succession and fertility is the ultimate goal in life and business. For this reason, everything we learn and share with our community is shared with the goal of multiplying the leaders who will train others as they grow in life and in business.

Care and connecting people

Due to wars and fighting in the 1980s and early 1990s, many families in Colombia have been forced from rural areas into the larger cities, without anywhere to live. This puts a huge strain on the families that take in orphans and for this reason, children are sent to centers for a few hours of the day to receive education, interaction, care and food. Volunteers on this project work alongside local staff in providing care and attention to the children, joining games, songs and dance, and assisting with feeding time.

Construction and renovation

The Construction and Renovation project provides a chance for volunteers to see the results of their hard work and get their hands a little dirty! Some families and schools in Medellin cannot afford to pay for professional people, tools and supplies to build or renovate. With homes, classrooms and hospital wards bursting at the seams due to increasing numbers of children and patients, assistance is drastically needed for local building projects. This project is currently focusing on schools in poor areas, where there are insufficient classrooms, chairs and desks to cater for all the children. Volunteers do not need any building or renovation experience to participate on the Construction and Renovation project, however you will need to have a reasonable level of fitness and a high level of enthusiasm and determination to participate on the project. Volunteers work alongside a local foreman who will provide guidance and assign tasks to volunteers. Tasks may include knocking down walls, installing kitchens, fixing chairs, painting walls, or renovating roofs. Please note, the Construction and Renovation project has an extra cost of US$35 per week for supervision, materials and the logistics involved in this project. This amount will be included in the Program Fee quoted to you by H|A|T when you apply.

Feeding the homeless

The Feeding the Homeless project offers a truly eye-opening experience for volunteers. As with many developing countries, Colombia struggles with problems associated with homelessness. Homelessness can affect people from all walks of life, whether the cause be substance abuse, mental health issues, unemployment, domestic abuse, natural disasters, or forced eviction. The Feeding the Homeless project gives volunteers the opportunity to reach out and help a diverse range of people of all ages. Volunteers work together with other community members to prepare and serve meals to the homeless. In one day, you could help feed around 200 men, women and children. Please note, as this project only runs four days per week, volunteers will also need to participate on another project one day a week.

Community farm

As social entrepreneurs, our first priority is the development of people through eternal lessons that are found in nature and the satisfaction that results from seeing a business, literally, grow from seed to fruit. Our Community Farm welcomes experts and enthusiasts to contribute to its growth and development. We welcome digital developers who can help us with strategies and tactics to maximize crop yields, while minimizing soil degradation and environmental impact.

The program orientation begins on the 1st and 15th of every month and volunteers need to arrive in Medellin the day before orientation.


After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the Jose Maria International Airport (MED). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee.


When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Medellin. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Medellin prior to your volunteer program, you will need to make your own way to the volunteer accommodation and the local team will provide guidance on this.


Orientation is taken by our Colombia team at the volunteer apartment in Medellin. Orientation is held on your chosen start date and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Colombia – Introduction to Colombia, Colombian Customs, Language Training Details, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Colombia, Introduction to your Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing.

First Day: On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with. Volunteers typically work in morning and afternoon shifts that last around 3 to 5 hours each.


Weekdays: A typical volunteer day is as follows:

7.30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer accommodation.

8.00 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements.

8.30 AM - 1 PM Volunteer work and a lunch break.

1.00 PM - 3.30 PM Spanish lessons and volunteer work.

6.30 PM Dinner at the volunteer house.

Please note, this is an example schedule as work hours are dependent on the project and placement. Volunteers on the Medellin program can easily take part in a range of the projects if they would like to, this can be arranged with the coordinators.

Evenings: To ensure the safety of our volunteers and respect of others in the volunteer apartment, a curfew of 11:00 PM has been put in place from Sunday to Thursday and a 2:00 AM curfew for Friday and Saturday.

Volunteers are accommodated in a volunteer house with other volunteers in safe neighbourhoods. Bedrooms are comprised of bunk beds and volunteers can expect to be sharing a room with up to 4 other volunteers of the same gender.


Bedding is not provided, so you need to bring your own sleeping bag and fitted single sheet, towels and toiletries.


Living is comfortable and the volunteer apartment has electricity, running water and western bathrooms (generally with hot water).


For couples or those wanting more privacy, private rooms in the volunteer apartment are available for an additional US$20 per night. Private rooms are subject to availability.


WiFi is available for volunteers to use at the volunteer house. You can also purchase a local SIM card with data for an unlocked mobile phone to keep connected.

Volunteers in Medellin are provided with three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) Monday through Friday served at the volunteer apartment. Breakfast is varied and can include pancakes, fruit, eggs and arepa (corn bread). Lunch and dinner include a range of traditional dishes, such as Bandeja Paisa or Ajiaco. Tea, coffee, fresh juices and toast is available in the volunteer apartment throughout the day. Purified water is available in the volunteer house, however we recommend that volunteers purchase bottled water for drinking at their placements. During the weekends, volunteers can prepare their own meals using the ingredients provided, or can eat out at one of Medellin’s many restaurants. If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you.

Length of program

1 Week

2 Weeks

3 Weeks

4 Weeks

5 Weeks

6 Weeks

8 Weeks

10 Weeks

12 Weeks

16 Weeks

20 Weeks

24 Weeks

Program Fee $USD

$270

$390

$500

$600

$700

$800

$1050

$1300

$1560

$2080

$2600

$3120


Registration Fee

WHAT IT COVERS

Most affordable program fees

Dedicated support from a volunteer expert

Local city guides

Online Volunteer training

Comprehensive program guide

Deals on flights and travel insurance


Program Fee

WHAT IT COVERS

24/7 in-country support

Airport pick-up

Program orientation

Volunteer Placement

Accommodation

Meals

During the weekends, volunteers have free time to relax or take the opportunity to explore Medellin and wider Colombia. In the center of the city, visit museums, Flea Markets, pueblito paisa, pick up souvenirs for friends and family, listen to live music, and stroll down cobblestone streets set amid colonial architecture. Further afield, explore the coastal paradise of the Caribbean region, the numerous hiking adventures of the Andes region, or the natural wonders of the coffee region.
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Volunteers need to be 18 years or over to participate. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to H|A|T’s local team on arrival in Medellin.


Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the H|A|T Colombia - Medellin volunteer program, however on certain projects, such as Teaching, volunteer work will be restricted with limited language ability. We recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to H|A|T volunteers by our partner staff in Medellin. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking Spanish lessons can arrange these directly with the local staff once in Medellin.


Free Interactive Volunteer Training

 All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered H|A|T volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an H|A|T program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

Spanish language lessons are available for all volunteers regardless of their ability. H|A|T recommends these lessons for all volunteers unless they are fluent in Spanish. Volunteers with a basic level of Spanish should strongly consider these lessons to allow them to work and communicate more effectively during their program. These language lessons are organized upon your arrival in Medellin during your program orientation. The language course is tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to H|A|T volunteers at COP$40,000 per 90 minutes. There is also ample opportunity to participate in conversation exchanges if your Spanish is at a more advanced level.


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