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Volunteers' Stories




Teaching English to Children on a Voluntary Placement in Buenos Aires, Argentina

I usually don't have to wake up until 9am or so, because my work day starts pretty late in Buenos Aires. After I've eaten breakfast in the kitchen of my host family, I get ready to go to work.

Depending on the day, I have one or two places to go teach. Twice a week, I work as a teacher assistant in a school, helping first, third, fourth, and sixth graders with their English workbook pages and pronunciations of words as they read aloud. All of my pupils at the school are so cute, and it's actually really improving my Spanish to sit in the classes and listen to the teachers talk with their students.

Two different days of the week, I work at a hostel in the area, sitting down for hour-long English lessons with the cooking and cleaning staff of the hostel to help them improve their English conversational skills. My students at the hostel are anywhere from 29 years old to nearly 60, and I love sitting with them and reviewing vocabulary or translating sentences from Spanish into English. They're very enthusiastic about learning the language, and they always ask me for homework.

Finally, I work twice a week with another girl, teaching a class each to fourth-seventh grade girls at a boarding school. Their English is very poor, so my fellow "teacher" and I must give the girls instructions in both English and Spanish. So far, we've taught lessons on parts of the body and the alphabet, and come up with games and activities to help review each. It's been a really neat experience, getting to be an actual teacher. I'm really getting a lot out of each and every single one of my teaching jobs.

After I've finished my job(s) for the day, I take the bus home or meet some of the other Travellers volunteers. We eat lunch together, if I haven't already eaten at school, go shopping, or go to a cafe for an afternoon coffee. In Buenos Aires, dinnertime doesn't come until quite late--usually not until 9:30 or 10 at night! This means that there's plenty of time for exploring the city before it's time to be home for dinner. For dinner, I usually eat at home, because my host mom is a great cook. She's cooked all of the traditional Argentine dishes for me to try, and I love them all [: During dinner, my host mother and brother and I always have conversations about anything from politics to space travel to animals (my host brother is absolutely obsessed with dogs).

Sometimes, after dinner, the other volunteers and I go out for ice cream or shopping. Almost everything is open really late at night, so there's very rarely a problem with finding something to do. The city of Buenos Aires doesn't really sleep --there are clubs and bars open from 2 am until 8 or 9 in the morning!

Though I do have three different jobs, there is always time for experiencing the city of Buenos Aires. During the weekends, I get together with other Travellers volunteers, and we go exploring. So far, we've gone to Tigre, a beautiful riverside area just outside the city, San Telmo Market, and Recoleta Cemetery. We even had the opportunity to go see the Argentina vs. Brazil futbol match, which was a huge deal. I am loving it here in Buenos Aires. The people are so friendly and helpful, always willing to try out their English when they realize that I'm struggling to understand them.

The parts of the city where I live and work seem safe, and I have no problem just walking around and exploring alone. There are so many delicious dishes to try and cool markets to go to. I feel like I would never run out of things to do if I lived here. I hope to one day return to the city to visit my students, my host family, and all of the sights that I haven't yet gotten the chance to see!

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