Emily Eglar - General Care Projects in Argentina
I signed up with Projects Abroad to do two weeks of child care in Cordoba, Argentina. After spending a day travelling on three different flights, I finally made it safely to Argentina. I decided to volunteer in Argentina because I was familiar with the language and since I have never travelled outside of the United States, I thought this would be an easier place to adapt to. Once I landed, I immediately saw a Projects Abroad coordinator who was waiting for me and another volunteer who was from Denmark. After a warm welcome we were off in a taxi to be dropped off at our host family’s homes for the remainder of our stay. I was so excited to be in a new culture and could not wait for all the memories that lay ahead.
Living with my host family
I could not have felt more welcomed by my host family. They genuinely seemed happy and excited to have me staying with then, which made living there very comfortable. When I first arrived, they showed me around their home and since I was living in an apartment, they made sure I knew how to enter and exit the building using the key.
My host family always made sure that I had everything I needed and made an effort to get to know more about me and where I was from. Even though my Spanish was not the best, they were very patient and understanding while communicating with me. As for the area I was in, I was staying in the centre of the city so I always had something to do. There were so many cafes, restaurants, shops, plazas and churches to visit, that each day I had something new to do.
My Care placement was about an hour away by city bus which I was nervous about at first, but it wasn’t bad at all. In fact, I enjoyed being able to look out the window to see what else the city had to offer. Where I was working, I worked from the morning to the afternoon which is when the younger children were there. They were anywhere between six months to four years old so there was never a dull moment.
The first day or so was a bit challenging due to the language barrier. As the children were so young, they did not understand why we could not fully comprehend what they were saying and why we spoke a different language. However, this barrier was broken down in no time and each day the kids were excited to see us and they were always ready to play. A typical day there consisted of providing breakfast, arts and crafts, playing outside, and serving lunch. Time always seemed to fly by while working and coming up with ways to entertain the kids was not a problem.
One day at the placement, we brought the kids to a local park for them to play at for the day. This was probably my favourite day because all of the kids were so excited to be in a new environment and it was fun to play at the park with them and help them go down all of the slides.
Lastly, at my Care placement, I met a lot of other volunteers with who became my instant friends. It was cool being able to meet people from all over the world who wanted to take part in the same kind of service as I did.
If you’re like me and this is your first time in a new country or your first time travelling alone, you have nothing to be afraid of! The staff at Projects Abroad will show you around to make sure that you know everything that you possibly need to know. Also, explore as much as you can. Whether you’re on your own or with other volunteers, Cordoba has so much to offer and it would be a shame if you missed out on that. While you’re here you will have so many opportunities to wander throughout the city and make memories.
This volunteer story may include references to working in or with orphanages. Find out more about Projects Abroad's current approach to volunteering in orphanages and our focus on community-based care for children.