Volunteer Abroad in Bogota

Back to Programs

A Guide to Volunteering Abroad in Bogota

A cosmopolitan city with a colonial heart, Bogota has a certain allure for international volunteers. Set among Andean peaks, Bogota has an occasionally chilly climate, but a perpetually warm and welcoming atmosphere. While it has all of the urban sophistication of a capital city, Bogota still faces issues of poverty, unemployment, and poor education, meaning there is a demand for volunteers in a range of projects. This is one of the most exciting cities in Latin America, and as Colombia makes huge strides towards building a peaceful future, to volunteer in Colombia’s Bogota means you get to be right in the middle of it.

Volunteer Programs in Bogota

In its urban environment, the most common volunteer placements in Bogota are in the areas of education, social work, and health. As well as helping communities in need, volunteering in Bogota is a great way to get real-world experience in your chosen field.

As an English teacher, you can find volunteer placements working in public schools, or in families. No problema if you don’t have teaching experience: the volunteer’s job is usually to improve conversational English skills, so as long as you can hold a conversation you can do this. Health placements are best suited to individuals who either already have a background in medicine, or are studying for a career in healthcare. In the community development sector, there are lots of opportunities for volunteers who want to work with children, with women, and with youth.

Volunteer projects in Bogota range in length from two weeks to three months. Because they are almost all people-focused, it is recommended that you stay with your project for at least one month. This will let you connect more with the people you work with, help give stability to the project, and allow you to get more out of the experience. Speaking at least basic Spanish is also helpful, but not usually not a requirement. Making a little effort goes a long way though, so you should at least attempt a few phrases - it will be worth it for all the smiles you will get in return.

Life in Bogota

Bogota is every inch an international capital city. As well as the historical center, there are museums, art galleries, world-class restaurants, and more bars than you will ever be able to hop through.

La Candelaria is where most volunteers kick off their exploration of Bogota. A cobblestoned area steeped in history, this is where many notable attractions can be found, including the Botero Museum and Bolivar Square. Just east of the enter lies Cerro Monserrate, a spectacular mountain that offers a green escape from the city, as well as unbeatable views. Zona Rosa and Zona G are the famous entertainment districts, where well-dressed locals step out after dark. There are an endless number of barrios for volunteers to explore, so you will never have the chance to get bored.

One of the coolest things about Bogota is how it close off miles of roads on Sundays. Ciclovia is the world’s most successful mass recreation event. Cars are replaced with bicycles, skateboards, skates, and people out enjoying an active afternoon with their families. Freed from traffic, this is a great time to walk, cycle, or run around the city, and soak up the community spirit of what can sometimes be an overwhelmingly large city.

Accommodation & Visas

Volunteering abroad in Bogota is all about seeing a different side of Colombia, and getting deeper into the culture than you would as a tourist. Your living situation will be a crucial part of this immersion.

Participating in a volunteer program in Bogota usually means your accommodation will be prearranges. Housing for volunteers is typically a homestay. Program providers place participants with local families, where they can benefit from language practice and true cultural immersion. You are usually given your own room, and because of the urban setting, most homestays will have all of the amenities you are used to, including hot water and wifi.

Volunteers in Bogota can enter Colombia on a visitor’s permit. There are only a few nationalities that will be required to obtain a visa to get into Colombia as a tourist. To find out if that includes you, check in with your nearest Colombian embassy. Once in Colombia, you will be entitled to stay for up to 90 days. After three months you will either need to ask for an extension at an immigration office, or cross the border and pop back to be eligible to stay for a further three months. Six months is the maximum that volunteers can stay in Colombia for, which should be more than enough to complete your volunteer project. Don’t overstay your welcome: offenders are handed a hefty fine when they try to leave if it is discovered they have stayed longer than the allotted time.

Benefits & Challenges

Ah si, los beneficios y desafíos. A sprawling juggernaut of a city, Bogota is not always a walk in the park. Sometimes it is also a walk in crime-ridden and poverty-stricken neighborhoods. As a volunteer, you may sometimes need to venture into the more troubled areas of Bogota. Many areas in Bogota suffer from deplorable living conditions. Robberies are frequent, and as a foreigner you will be an obvious target. While you shouldn't believe hysteria about Colombia being extremely dangerous, you should keep your wits about you at all times in Bogota. Follow all the basic safety rules: don’t flash your phone or expensive jewellery, only carry the cash you need for the day, and don’t walk around alone late at night.

The challenges of volunteering in Bogota are by far outweighed by the benefits. One of the best parts of volunteering in Bogota is the chance to build meaningful relationships with Colombians. The landscapes of Colombia are jaw-dropping, but it is the people you will remember, their unfailing warmth, welcoming nature, and vivacious love of life. Colombia is one of the happiest countries in the world, and you will be inspired to see people in Bogota singing and dancing through the toughest of times. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself drawn back time and again to Bogota and all of your amigos there.

Bogota is also a great place to brush up on (or learn) Spanish. Colombian Spanish is regarded as being clear and easier to pick up than other accents. On top of that, the friendly nature of Colombians means you will have plenty of opportunities to practice and learn new palabras.

Volunteering is about contributing your skills and knowledge to people in need: but it is also about having unforgettable experiences and forging powerful connections. There is no better place to do this than Bogota. ¿Listo? ¡Vamos!

Read More

written by:

A Guide To
Volunteering Abroad in Bogota

READ ARTICLE

 Find Volunteer Programs in Bogota Now

Save

This listing has been saved 711 times

International Volunteer HQ

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) is the world's leading volunteer travel organization, providing affordable, safe and responsible volunteer programs in over 30 different destinations around the world. With program fees starting from just USD 10 per day, IVHQ is the volunteer organization of choice for thousands of volunteers every year. Established in 2007, IVHQ has supported over 55,0...

Save

This listing has been saved 3 times

Paid Teaching in Colombia

The Colombian government is actively seeking English teachers for its major education initiative. Native English-speakers are sought to team teach with local teachers. A modest stipend is provided. This is a great opportunity for those who would like to spend some time abroad, work on their Spanish skills, and get acquainted with one of today's hot travel destinations. Teaching experience and S...

Save

Teach English to a Host Family in Colombia!

Can you think of a better way to experience Colombia than by sharing your language and culture with a local host family where you will be considered part of the familia? In exchange for a clean and comfortable room and full board, all you have to do is share your native language with your hosts for 15 hours per week. The goal for your family is to practice their conversational English. This ...

Save

This listing has been saved 40 times

International Medical Aid

Take advantage of our unique nursing electives at International Medical Aid (IMA). These Global Nursing Volunteer Placements are catered towards your professional goals. You will have the chance to work in an international hospital while receiving mentoring from our staff of healthcare professionals. Most hospitals in developing countries lack nurses; hence, your participation in this program ...

Save

This listing has been saved 18 times

Paid Volunteer Program in Colombia. FREE 120 TEFL COURSE

TEACH ENGLISH IN COLOMBIA * No teaching experience required! Enjoy a truly once in a lifetime experience! * Join this FREE programme run by the Colombian government and change lives! Since its launch in January 2015, more than 500 individuals have helped provide English education to more than 30,000 public school students. You too can make a global difference and help improve lives for t...

Save

This listing has been saved 6 times

Spanish Courses with optional Volunteering in Bogota

If you want to learn Spanish, Bogota is a wonderful choice of city. Our school is considered one of the world's leading Spanish schools, offering a wide range of courses! The main goal of our courses is to develop our students' communicative skills. OUR ADVANTAGES • There are countless language schools in Colombia: so why would you want to take a Spanish course with us • In Bogotá since 2007...

Save

This listing has been saved 4 times

Volunteer in Colombia, one in a life-time experience!

Teaching English in Colombia is a great chance to immerse yourself into a new culture, gain teaching experience to add to your CV and put into practice your amazing teaching skills! With a working schedule which will allow you to make the most of your stay and explore beautiful Colombia in your free time, this is an opportunity you shouldn't miss. Apply today and get your TEFL experience in Sou...

Save

This listing has been saved 3 times

Juliana's Animal Sanctuary - Food Yoga Academy

Come and help care for protected animals, including a cow, an ox, a horse, some rabbits, and more than 20 rescued dogs and cats, at Juliana's Animal Sanctuary - Food Yoga Academy. Juliana's is the only animal sanctuary in Colombia. Anyone wishing to experience life in the Andes mountains among lovely animals, a natural environment, and tasty fruits and vegetables are welcome. Volunteers w...

Save

This listing has been saved 57 times

Teach Your Language to Locals and Stay For Free

TalkTalkBnb offers the opportunity to stay for free with locals around the world in exchange for teaching your native language to your host. We are looking for travelers for whom traditional tourism is no longer satisfying. A “TalkTalker” has a real desire is to experience life from a different cultural perspective. Destinations are not chosen just to be crossed off a list, but because of th...

Save

This listing has been saved 1 time

Varsana Eco Yoga Farm Volunteer Program Near from Bogotaá

Varsana Eco Yoga Village is a place designed especially for those who want to experience the life of an eco village, engage in sustainable activities such as organic farming and much more. Volunteers work 4½ hours in the morning on different activities, depending on your skills and our necessities at the time. Some of the possible activities are: organic farming, eco-building, helping the ...