Learning the language of your host country enhances your experience by allowing you to be able to better communicate and contribute at your placement and to more comfortably interact with co-workers and your homestay family. The extent of your skills in the local language can dictate the placements for which you may be eligible. This is particularly the case in Latin America where the majority of our placements require intermediate language skills.
A 20-hour basic volunteer language training course is included in our 7-Day Orientation. This is enough to cover the essentials such as greetings, directions and basic courtesies. However, if you do not already speak the local language and you are hoping to get the most out of your experience and have the widest possible range of potential placements, you should consider either studying the language before your departure date or taking extended volunteer language training with us once you arrive.
Our volunteer language training courses are intensive group courses. The Volunteer training classes are immersion classes that encourage our students to practice using the language conversationally from the very first day. Over the last 15 years we have found that an 80-hour volunteer training course ( 20-hours in orientation plus an additional 3 weeks) is sufficient to bring our volunteers to a level where they are able to function in placements requiring intermediate language skills.
For those who would prefer, we also offer private volunteer training language courses. Many volunteers find that adding a few hours of private instruction each week to their group instruction really helps to fine-tune their language skills and work on particular challenges that are difficult to address in a group class setting.