Colombia Fact File
The LocationThe project is based in Medellin, Colombia, South America.
Medellin is one of the most beautiful cities in South America and is now one of Latin America’s safest. The city is luscious, green and the home of orchids, parks and tropical birds, lying cradled in the Aburra Valley and bisected by the Medellin River. Medellin has many bars, restaurants and cafes as well as cultural activities.
Volunteers stay in the tranquil El Poblado district, situated less than ten minutes' walk from the metro station and one of the biggest supermarkets in Medellin and fifteen minutes from the Zona Rosa (Parque Lleras). This really is the perfect place to make the most of this diverse city.
Volunteer AccommodationVolunteers can choose between a homestay with a carefully selected local family which includes two meals a day, or a modern friendly hostel (pictured) in the safe and quiet district of El Poblado.
Our standard volunteer fee includes accommodation at the hostel in a dorm, which will have no more than four people in it.
For a small additional fee, you can choose to be upgraded into a private room with a shared bathroom and no television, or a private room wth a television and your own en-suite toilet and bathroom.
The volunteer hostel in El Poblado is well located for access to the project, less than ten minutes' walk from the modern and efficient overground metro station which takes you to the centre of Medellin where the children's project is located.
There are many boutiques, coffee shops, restaurants and bars in the neighbourhood, and you can walk to the heart of Medellin's lively nightlife scene in the leafy, buzzing Parque Lleras.
The hostel is very popular with travellers and offers fantastic facilities such as a barbecue area, sun terrace with hammocks, and computers with internet access,Skype, webcams and earphones for keeping in touch with the folks back home. There is also wi-fi and a well equiped, shared kitchen. It's a very sociable place and is a great choice for those travelling alone, with frequent activities and excursions orgnised by the friendly, English-speaking owners.
Getting to the projectThe nearest airport to this project is Jose Maria Cordova airport (MDE code).
To help you find the best air fares Globalteer has formed a partnership with a division of The Flight Centre Group who will tailor make your travel arrangements for you at a competitive price.
You can contact them for a free, no obligation travel quote by calling 0844 560 9944 from within the UK, or if you are outside the UK you can call +44(0)203 056 1146. Make sure you mention Globalteer when you call and if you do purchase your travel through them, Globalteer will receive a small donation. However, don’t forget that it’s up to you to make sure your travel arrangements are right for you and your project.
Volunteering in MedellinOur projects in Medellin give day care and residential care to more than 60 children from 2 to 17 years old. The projects are located close to each other in a safe residential area, parks nearby where the children can safely play outdoors. Both projects are more like a family home, where the children treat each other as brothers and sisters, and staff and volunteers are their uncles and aunts. Where possible, contact is still kept with the children’s natural family - family members can visit once a week and children can visit their "home" once a month.
The project also supports people living on the streets by providing food, contact and love. The project is respected and trusted by the people living on the streets and, occasionally, when possible, children are invited to stay at the project.
Volunteers teach or assist teaching English, art & crafts, music and sports – depending on your experience and abilities - as well as assisting the Colombian staff in the general upkeep of the projects. During free time and activity time volunteers can play sports and other educational games with the children.
The local parks are often used for sports and to give the kids the opportunity to play outside. Both projects have many resources for keeping the children entertained, including books on fun activities, educational games, etc. All Globalteer volunteers are provided with a teaching handbook which has been specially written for volunteers.
Volunteers are also encouraged to come up with ideas for new trips and join the children in their fun-day adventures.
Do you want to read some stories from former volunteers? Try our Previous Volunteer Colombia Stories
Daily Volunteer ScheduleYou can join the project for a minimum of one week up to three months (extensions are sometimes possible). You will be required to be available for 5-6 hours per day with 2 days free time per week on Saturday and Sunday.
Volunteers usually give at least one English class per day but this can be more depending upon numbers of volunteers. Your specific placement will be decided shortly before arrival in Colombia, depending upon the needs at the time and your relevant abilities.
Your free time can be spent relaxing, exploring the local area or socializing with the other volunteers.
A typical volunteer day may include playing games, drawing pictures and playing sports with the children as well as assisting the local staff and teachers at the project. Volunteers may also have the opportunity to assist in English classes at the local government school attended by the children at the project.
There is always some flexibility in the daily schedule which is great for voounteers wishing to take Spanish classes during your placement.
*These are only examples of what your days' activities may be. The projects are continually evolving and their requirements of volunteers may change before your arrival. Rest assured we are very flexible with volunteers' personal needs and expect the same flexibility in return.
Fun excursions for volunteers and kids
Various trips are arranged for the children to give them an opportunity to experience new and exciting things. The objectives of the excursions are to be fun but more importantly to open the children’s eyes to the possibilities in the world and a future beyond the care home and their neighbourhoods.
Typical trips include museums, water parks, cable car rides, parks and wildlife parks. Most of the kids don’t have the opportunity to experience these things in their everyday lives and love to have an adventure and explore new ways to learn. Our volunteers usually love these days out too!
Got a question about volunteering in Colombia? Try our Frequently Asked Questions about Volunteering in Colombia
Spanish ClassesWhilst a knowledge of Spanish is not necessary for this project we offer all our volunteers five hours of free introductory Spanish classes as many volunteers like to take advantage of being in a Spanish-speaking country to learn Spanish or to brush up on those rusty language skills. You can extend your classes once you are in Medellin.
This project is a good choice volunteers who wish to learn Spanish and put it to practical and worthwhile use while volunteering. Volunteers with limited or no Spanish are very welcome and can concentrate on assisting our teachers in arts & crafts, games and sports and, of course, increasingly important English classes.
Medellin is one of Colombia’s main tourist destinations and a working knowledge of English has never been so important for the next generation. By speaking English, new opportunities are available to those that could otherwise be destined to stay in the cycle of poverty.
Extra activities in Colombia and Latin AmericaColombia is famous for its music and dance and visitors find it hard to resist the infectious rhythms of cumbia, merengue and salsa.
Medellin has a huge flower festival in August and an impressive Christmas lights display, but the biggest carnival is held in Barranquilla during February or March. Every city, town and village will have its own way to celebrate Christmas and other religious events throughout the year.
Medellin has many plazas boasting sculptures by local artists, old churches and a number of museums with free entry. Pueblito Paisa in Medellin is a replica of a rural village sat on a hill overlooking the city.
Cycling the outskirts of Medellin and along the mountainous woods is an extremely popular activity for the locals. Also you could try your hand at parapenting from the surrounding mountains.
Fly to Leticia for a unique Amazonian adventure. South of the city lies the well-visited coffee region, including the picturesque village of Jardin.
A cheap flight or a 9-hour bus ride to the coast takes you to the UNESCO world heritage site of Cartagena. Its Spanish colonial architecture creates a style unmatched anywhere in South America.
Along the coast you can find unspoilt white sand beaches, deep bays and the world's highest coastal mountain range. For the more adventurous, a trek to the lost city of Ciudad Perdida is an amazing three-day hike through impressive jungle.
Colombia also offers amazing wildlife, birds, orchids, pre-Colombian stone statues and underground tombs, volcanic mud baths, diving, rafting, rappelling, rock climbing and hiking.
Cheap flights in South America will take you to many other popular tourist destinations such as Machu Picchu in Peru, the Galapagos Islands in Ecuador or many other amazing destinations in Latin America.
General facts about ColombiaCountry name: Republic of Colombia
Population: 46 million
Ethnic groups: Mestizo 58%, white 20%, mulatto 14%, black 4%, mixed black-amerindian 3%, amerindian 1%
Languages: Spanish, 60 indigenous languages
Currency: Colombian peso
Medellin deserves its nickname “City of Eternal Spring”. With its close proximity to the equator and altitude of 1500mts, the temperature hovers between 18c (64f) and 26c (79f) throughout the year. There are no real seasons, but there tends to be more rainfall from March to May and September to November.
Everything you have heard about Colombia's past, is probably old news by now. Colombia has had a remarkable turnaround in security and although it still has its problems, it is one of the friendliest countries in South America.
Colombia has some truly vibrant cities, boasting skyscrapers, metros, plazas, late night dancing, party buses and great shopping. There are beautiful port towns, ancient lost cities, cobbled alleys and fiestas that rate among the best in the world.
Colombia has nine national parks and the country claims to have more plant and animal species per square kilometre than anywhere else in the world. The variety of flora and fauna is second only in the world behind the much bigger country of Brazil. Colombia has more than 350 species of mammals, 15% of the total world population of primates live here and almost one in every five birds on the planet call Colombia home.
The Globalteer Difference
These days there are a great many opportunities to volunteer overseas, but not all organisations are the same.
Watch our short video presentation to see what makes Globalteer different from your average volunteering organisation!
Find out what previous volunteers
have to say about volunteering with our Colombia Kids Project.