Calling all aventureros and filántropos who speak a bit of Spanish (or want to learn Spanish and volunteer)! Your time has come to make a difference! Have you been feeling the call of the wild while also a deep-rooted desire to help someone? You’ve come to the right place! There has never been a better time to do some volunteer work in Spanish, and even if you’re not fluent, there are still ways for you to help a cause!
With 21 countries with Spanish as an official language (and dozens more where it’s heavily spoken!), there are more Spanish volunteer opportunities than we can count. En serio. You’d be crazy to pass up an opportunity to help children in Spain or penguins in Argentina. The Spanish volunteer opportunities available around the world are as diverse as the countries themselves, so there is something to do for every type of volunteer and Spanish speaker. Time to volunteer in Spanish abroad today!
5 popular ways to volunteer in Spanish
Because Spanish is such an important language, there are tons of options for volunteering in Spanish. From being a full-time volunteer in Uruguay to donating an hour a week to teach Spanish to your neighbor, there is a whole suite of choices to make a difference in Spanish!
1. Move to a Spanish-speaking country to volunteer
Our favorite option for volunteering in Spanish is to go right to the source and move abroad! There is no better way to make an impactful change—and improve your Spanish skills—than by moving to a Spanish-speaking country and doing some type of volunteer work in Spanish. This can include literally anything, from being a volunteer Spanish teacher to helping locals build water purification systems in rural areas. The sky’s the limit when it comes to Spanish immersion volunteering!
2. Learn Spanish abroad and volunteer
You don’t necessarily have to move abroad just to volunteer. If you want to make a difference but also want to pick up a concrete skill, enroll in a language immersion program abroad and volunteer on the side! Even if you sign up for a language-intensive class, you won’t be spending all of your time in the classroom, so use your off-hours to practice your Spanish with locals and help out with a project. Learning Spanish abroad and volunteering simultaneously is an excellent way to round-out the meaningful travel experience!
3. Work directly with Spanish speakers on a variety of projects
The great thing this route is it can be done either in a Spanish-speaking country or at home with Spanish speakers! Just like the above options, there are unlimited choices when it comes to volunteering with Spanish-speakers, and as long as you’re speaking Spanish and helping someone who needs it, that’s all that matters! Maybe there’s a family who just immigrated to your community from Venezuela and needs help furnishing their home. Or perhaps you have a week of vacation time to burn and want to spend it in Chile helping a local harvest their grapes. You don’t necessarily have to pick up and move to a new country just to volunteer in Spanish!
4. Teach Spanish to non-speakers
A low-maintenance but impactful way to volunteer in Spanish is to teach Spanish! While Rosetta Stone and Duolingo are beneficial for learning vocab and basic grammar, there’s nothing like the personal touch of actually practicing with a human. Even if you only took a few semesters of Spanish in high school or college, there’s always someone out there who speaks less than you do! Teach your friends for a few hours a week or get super dedicated and volunteer at a local continuing education center. You can invest as much or as little time as you’d like, and can even be a volunteer Spanish teacher abroad, too!
5. Translation volunteer projects
Are you proficient or fluent in Spanish and want to make a difference without teaching? No problem, we can’t all be teachers! Put your skills to use by offering translation services in either your local community or abroad. Depending on your level of fluency, you could offer anything from translating restaurant menus or tourist maps to helping sick patients at a doctor’s office communicate their symptoms. There is always room to help someone communicate better!
7 incredible organizations that offer Spanish volunteer opportunities and programs
You don’t necessarily need to use a program or provider to volunteer in Spanish, but sometimes it can certainly help! If you’re looking to get involved in a volunteer project without much headache, check out some of our top choices below:
A total champ in the volunteer abroad world, International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) provides responsible and sustainable volunteer programs in nine different Spanish-speaking countries! Their programs are so popular due to the incredibly low cost to participate (some are only $10 per day!) and their wide variety of volunteer work with everything from sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica to childcare in Ecuador. Volunteers can choose to spend as little as one week up to six months participating in one of their projects
- Where? Spain, Costa Rica, Belize, Peru, Argentina, Mexico, Guatemala, Ecuador, or Colombia
- What: Sea Turtle Conservation, Childcare
- More info: International Volunteer HQ Reviews
For over 25 years, Projects Abroad has been sending volunteers to some of the most exciting and worthwhile destinations, including seven different Spanish-speaking countries! From providing medical assistance in Argentina to working with children in Peru, volunteers of any age can spend one week to one year helping out in almost any type of work. If you’re the independent type, enroll in any of their standard volunteer projects, or if you want to have some partners-in-crime during your time abroad, check out their group options and make some new amigos!
- Where? Costa Rica, Ecuador, Argentina, Belize, Mexico, Bolivia, or Peru
- What: Medical Volunteering, Childcare
- More info: Projects Abroad Reviews
3. Maximo Nivel
If you’re going to be volunteering in Latin America, Maximo Nivel should be at the top of your program list! This provider focuses exclusively on meaningful travel opportunities in Latin America, so whether it’s volunteering in jungle conservation in Peru or teaching English in Guatemala, any volunteer is sure to find what you need! Most of their programs even come with academic credit plus a few hours every day of Spanish language classes, surf school, yoga certifications, or scuba certifications, so you will definitely have fun (and learn) while contributing to a good cause!
- Where? El Salvador, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Peru, or United States
- What: Animal Conservation, Teaching English
- More info: Maximo Nivel Reviews
Not all volunteer abroad programs are created equal, which is why we love Kaya Responsible Travel, the leader in sustainable volunteer projects! Anyone enrolling in one of their programs knows that they are truly contributing to a good cause, so whether you’re volunteering in Amazon rainforest wildlife rescue in Ecuador or sustainable construction in Belize, you can feel good what you’re doing. Kaya specializes in providing custom volunteer gap years, so head this way if you’re looking to get involved as a Spanish immersion volunteer!
- Where? Bolivia, Belize, Ecuador, Costa Rica, or Peru
- What: Animal Rescue, Construction
- More info: Kaya Responsible Travel Reviews
One of our highest ranked volunteer providers, Gapforce offers incredible opportunities to learn Spanish and volunteer abroad! Head to one of their many Latin American program choices for two weeks to a year to explore thrilling new places, pick up some more Spanish, and make a difference. Their South America Explorer program is super popular for those volunteers who want to cover more than one country and volunteer in a variety of ways, like rescuing jungle animals and coastal conservation work. All volunteer programs include accommodations, food, Spanish lessons, and excursions like surfing lessons or snorkeling trips on top of life-changing volunteer opportunities.
- Where? Ecuador, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, or Peru
- What: Adventure Travel
- More info: Gapforce Reviews
As their name suggests, Frontier brings volunteers up-close-and-personal with far-off destinations and provides crazy fun adventures and meaningful volunteer opportunities. All 300 of their volunteer programs focus on ethical conservation and helping to build better livelihoods, all while sneaking in some incredible excursions! What makes Frontier super unique is their multi-country program options, with the most unreal being their Fantasy Gap Year program, where über-adventurers travel and volunteer in up to 11 countries across three continents, including Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica on the Spanish-speaking side. Hard to beat that!
- Where? Dominican Republic, Belize, Costa Rica, Peru, Mexico, Ecuador, Argentina, Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, or Bolivia
- What: Animal Welfare, Ecotourism, English Teaching
- More info: Frontier Reviews
Calling all musicians, dancers, actors, clowns, acrobats, and other performers (or wannabe performers)! Head abroad to make a difference with the performing arts! Art is something that touches people across all walks of life, so there’s no better way to connect with others and make a difference! Whether you’re looking to get involved in music therapy and education in Quito or dust off your clown nose for circus volunteering in Costa Rica, there is definitely something fun and meaningful you can do while brushing up on your Spanish!
- Where? Ecuador or Costa Rica
- What: Music Therapy, Performing Arts
- More info: Performing Arts Abroad Reviews
Bonus: Volunteering in Spanish in the U.S.
You don’t always have to fly halfway across the world to make a difference! Every city in the U.S. has a Spanish-speaking demographic (yes, even northern cities like Chicago and Minneapolis!), and particularly in rural areas, you’d be surprised to learn how much of the agricultural or manufacturing workforce speaks only Spanish.
The best way to make a difference in your community is to use local resources to find Spanish volunteer opportunities, such as your local newspaper or Facebook Marketplace. Volunteering in Spanish in the U.S. is a great way to connect your experiences abroad with your life back home, plus keep those español skillz fresh!
Take advantage of these Spanish volunteer opportunities
With so many choices and levels of dedication for Spanish volunteer opportunities, there’s no reason to sit idly by! Any type of Spanish-speaker (or hopeful Spanish-speaker!) can get involved at home or abroad and make a difference while improving your language skills. Seriously, who would pass up an opportunity to help a cause, potentially live in a unique and exciting new area, and even make some new friends? Someone who’s living la vida loca, that’s who!