Agencies in the U.S.
Adelante Abroad, 101 Main Street, Suite B, Seal Beach, CA 90740; (562) 799 9133; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.adelanteabroad.com. Internships, volunteer placements, teaching abroad and semester and summer study opportunities from 1-12 months in Spain (Madrid, Seville, Barcelona, Marbella), Costa Rica (San José), Mexico (Oaxaca), Chile (Vina del Mar/Valparaiso) and Uruguay (Montevideo).
NRCSA - National Registration Center for Study Abroad, Box 1393, Milwaukee, WI 53201; 414-278-0631; email@example.com; www.nrcsa.com. Web site has links to study and volunteering or career-focused internship programs in Latin America plus Spain, France, and Germany.
Agencies in the U.K.
Several British agencies that represent a range of language programs in Europe and beyond are willing to assist North Americans. These programs combine language learning with internships or volunteering:
Cactus Worldwide Ltd., 4 Clarence House, 30-31 North St., Brighton, East Sussex BN1 1EB, U.K.; 1-888-270-3949; enquiry@cactus language.com; www.cactuslanguage.com. Arranges Spanish (in Spain and Latin America), French, Italian, Chinese, Russian, Japanese, Portuguese (in Portugal and Brazil), German (in Germany and Austria), Arabic, Turkish, Danish, Dutch, Swedish, Thai, and Indonesian. Following on from language courses in Latin America (Peru, Guatemala, Mexico, Bolivia, and Ecuador). A wide range of social, healthcare, educational, or conservation placements can be arranged such as working at a hatchery for leatherback turtles on Guatemalas Pacific Coast, helping in an orphanage for girls in Cusco, Peru, and teaching English in a school in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Caledonia Languages Abroad, The Clockhouse, Bonnington Mill, 72 Newhaven Rd., Edinburgh EH6 5QG; 011-44-31-621-7721/2; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.caledonialanguages.co.uk. This educational consultancy offers independent advice on language courses in Europe, Latin America, and Russia. It also arranges for clients to participate in volunteer community projects in Brazil, Costa Rica, Argentina, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Peru. Volunteers pay for the pre-placement language course in the overseas country plus the cost of accommodations and travel.
Agencies in Latin America
If your chosen language is Japanese or Danish or Arabic, it will not be straightforward arranging a language course in conjunction with a volunteering opportunity. But if your chosen language is Spanish, it will be very easy. Courses in everything from travelers' survival Spanish to advanced academic Spanish can be combined with post-course placements in local projects. To take just one example, the British organization Caledonia Languages Abroad (above) can combine three weeks of Spanish language tuition in Peru followed by 3 weeks of voluntary work on the island of Amantani working within a traditional community environment.
Language schools in Latin America that follow up a Spanish language course with a volunteer program include the following:
APF Languages, Ave. Colon 2277 & Ulloa, Quito, Ecuador; 011-593-2-2234-268; www.apf-languages.com. Combined program of Spanish tuition with homestays and ecological or humanitarian volunteering.
Eco-Escuela de Español, c/o Ecomaya International, Calle Centroamérica Flores, Petén, Guatemala; 502-926-3202, email@example.com; www.ecomaya.com. Volunteer opportunities in local conservation projects in the Petén region of Guatemala along with one-on-one Spanish language instruction.
Latin American Immersion, 1-866-577-8693; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.latinimmersion.com. Source of information about study and internship programs in Buenos Aires, Argentina; Santiago, Chile; and Quito, Ecuador.
San Francisco Language Institute, Av. Amazonas N22-62 y Ramírez Dávalos Edificio Vasconez, Oficina # 202, Quito, Ecuador; 011-593-2-252-1306; email@example.com; www.sanfranciscospanish.com. Study Spanish and volunteer work at the Asociación Exedra-María, which runs pre-school education centers in the province of Pichincha. Practical training and voluntary work placements according to each students preferences.
European language schools are more likely to have links with local businesses than voluntary organizations; some Spanish, Italian, French, and German schools offer internships in various commercial fields from fashion to catering. To take just one example: the Italian language school Linguadue (Corso Buenos Aires 43, 20124 Milan, Italy; 011-39 02 2951 9972; www.linguadue.com) runs a program combining language courses and commercial internships.
Language Study and Grassroots Development
Language schools in Europe generally offer voluntary placements merely as an add-on bonus. But the balance is different in programs offered by international development agencies and small grassroots voluntary organizations in which preliminary language training is a means to an end.
ICADS, Dept. 826, P.O. Box 025216, Miami, Florida 33102-5216; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.icads.org. Its well-regarded
programs combine study of the Spanish language and development issues with structured internships in Costa Rica and Nicaragua lasting a semester or a summer.
Intercultural Dimensions, www.interculturaldimensions.org. Trips to Senegal lasting 3 to 4 weeks in June-July allow participants to improve their conversational French while working alongside local people on rural projects. Those who wish can extend their stay to volunteer or carry out field work.
Development organizations that are active in a range of countries include:
AFS International Community Service, Admissions Center, 506 SW 6th Ave., 2nd Fl., Portland, OR 97204; 800-AFS-INFO; email@example.com, usa.afs.org. Students and volunteers aged 18-29 spend 4, 6, or 12 months in one of 14 countries (Belgium, U.K., Australia, Malaysia, Thailand, Egypt, Ghana, South Africa, and six Latin American countries). Most programs include language training prior to volunteer placement, homestay accommodations, and participation in local projects. Participants must fundraise before program begins.
Experiment in International Living, P.O. Box 595, 63 Main St., Putney, VT 05346; www.usexperiment.org. Programs lasting 3-5 weeks include some language training.
Inter-Cultural Youth Exchange (ICYE), Fraternitas, 2-13 Belgravia Ave., Toronto, ON M6E 2M4, Canada; www.icye.org. International exchange organization that sends students to spend a year abroad with a host family and undertake voluntary work placements after a 1-month orientation including intensive language study. Placements mainly in Bolivia, Brazil, Costa Rica, Honduras, Colombia, and Mexico.