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Volunteer abroad, Gap year in Bogotá

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What is a Volunteer Job?

Volunteer service contributes to the well-being of an individual and the community. It is generally not paid and coordinated by a non-profit organization or a public sector institution. Volunteering internationally is an amazing opportunity to obtain an in-depth knowledge of a country, working with people from all over the world and coming into direct contact with local cultures.

Volunteering in Colombia

Volunteering is an option if you want to stay in Colombia for a longer time, and you are unable to obtain formal employment, or if you simply want to broaden your skills and experience. Volunteering in Colombia can be done in various locations, from big cities such as Bogota, to countryside areas in the mountains or the coast.

Even though volunteering is usually unpaid, board and lodging may be provided, and occasionally other perks such as free entrance to parks and events.

Application varies from one organization and volunteering type to another. Most foundations and NGOs will require a formal application, with a cover letter, resume and possibly some kind of deposit. In other cases, an e-mail may be enough.

Be sure to check if there are any deadlines for the volunteering program of your choice, and apply early.

In order to legally perform volunteer activities in Colombia, you are required to obtain a Type V (visitor) visa. See our section on Passport, Visa and Permits.


There is a wide array of volunteering opportunities throughout the country. Many are in nature conservancy and restoration, as Colombia is one of the most biodiverse places on the planet. Volunteering with low-income communities in urban or rural settings is also popular.

Some of the most best volunteering programs include:

  • Teaching English with public institutions of primary, secondary and adult education. The program is run by Volunteers Colombia and is sponsored by the Colombian government. Volunteers are placed in major cities across the country, offered a visa free of charge and a monthly stipend for living expenses.
  • WWOOF Colombia is the local branch of a well-known organization that allows you to volunteer in organic farms around the world. Descriptions of opportunities and host reviews and ratings are available on their website. Be sure to contact your potential host with anticipation.
  • TECHO is a charitable organization that focuses on housing solutions, community building and youth work in low-income communities throughout Latin America. It has periodic openings in major cities of Colombia and extensive experience in dealing with volunteers.
  • Parques Nacionales Naturales de Colombia receives volunteers over medium term, to help with conservation initiatives. Volunteering as a park ranger is a great way to find out about  and help the preservation of the country's wildlife. The application process runs twice a year and is open to national citizens and foreigners alike.  

However, there are dozens of other organizations that offer opportunities in any field. Don't hesitate to research local foundations based on your interests and get in touch for volunteering.

Insurance Abroad

Formal volunteer programs run by larger institutions usually include local insurance in their program fees or as part of the compensation. However, a valid international insurance is required, and you should purchase it before departure. Consult our section on "International healthcare & Medical Insurance" to find out more about your options.

You might also look at our other articles on Summer Jobs and Internship abroad on the left column of this page for other opportunities.

Update 20/08/2018


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