Known as the gateway to South America, Argentina combines European and South American influences for a truly unique experience. IVHQ’s Argentina volunteer programs are based in the capital, Buenos Aires and the central city of Córdoba. These volunteer programs have aspects in common but can also be quite different. Below are a few key characteristics of the programs in each city so you can decide which is best for you. You may even decide to volunteer in both!
Culture and Cuisine
Argentine culture is made up from a hotbed of influences from Spain, Latin America and Italy, and the result is distinctive. The people are known for their passion and flair, which you can see in music, dance and football in particular. Argentines are exuberant and expressive, but they’re also very welcoming.
Locals will generally have a basic grasp of English, especially in the bigger cities like Buenos Aires and Córdoba. Argentina’s food is nothing short of mouth watering. Traditional food in Argentina includes tender steak, crispy empanadas, smooth wine and meat slow cooked on an Asado BBQ.
Volunteers in Buenos Aires:
The European influence shines through the food in Buenos Aires. You can expect caprese salads, lots of pizza and a French-style bakery on just about every street corner. There’s ample opportunity for a flakey pastry, merengue or dulce de leche! For some more traditional Argentine food you’ll be able to enjoy all different types of steak at a local restaurant accompanied by a traditional salad of carrot, tomato and egg.
Volunteers in Córdoba:
Córdoba is inland so you won’t find a lot of seafood here, but the locals make up for that by providing some of the best red meat in the world. You can sample some of the delicious local beef in a lomito sandwich or straight off an Asado BBQ. Empanadas are a classic pastry snack in Córdoba - they’re cheap and they’re delicious! If you’re a beer drinker, the local Quilmes beer is hugely popular, and wine-lovers have plenty of high quality South American options to choose from.
How to spend your free time
Argentina is right in the heart of the world-renowned South American tourism scene, and is full of sightseeing opportunities. What’s more, you’ll have a good amount of free time to enjoy it all. Whether you choose to volunteer in Buenos Aires, Córdoba or both, you’ll be able to immerse yourself in the culture, food and history. There’s a fantastic bus system throughout the country which provides easy access to other parts of Argentina such as the famous wine region, Mendoza. Both cities are also a short flight to the spectacular Iguazu Falls on the Argentinian/Brazilian border.
You can’t go to Buenos Aires and not tango the night away! Whether you’re watching tango at a local plaza or giving it a go yourself, there’re plenty of opportunities to experience Argentina’s traditional dance. Don’t worry if you don’t have twinkle toes, the Argentinians are very accommodating and ready to teach you the moves.
Football is like a religion in Argentina, and Buenos Aires is home to the country’s premier local club, Boca Juniors. If you’re a football nut (or even if you aren’t), head down to a Primera División game at Boca Juniors stadium, where the passionate crowd creates an atmosphere that is unlike anything else in the world.
Exploring the colourful neighbourhood of La Boca is the perfect way to spend an afternoon. The streets are lined with two-story buildings painted in bright primary colours and filled with market stalls where you can purchase unique jewelry and art work.
Start in Córdoba’s central square of Plaza San Martin and delve into the beautiful city from there. Córdoba city is full of side streets boasting unique rooftop bars, iconic markets, cute little shops and beautifully decorated churches.
If you feel like exploring further afield then jump on one of the tours south of the Córdoba region to the stunning German influenced small towns of La Cumbrecita and Belgrano. The crystal clear lakes and mountainous terrain make for a breathtaking trip! Or you can stay local and learn about the revolutionist Che Guevara at the Che Guevara Museum, which is set right in his childhood home.
Both programs accommodate volunteers in safe neighbourhoods, with accommodation that has been pre-approved by IVHQ staff.
Buenos Aires is the definition of city living. Volunteers stay at a newly renovated hostel in the popular and lively Recoleta neighbourhood. Supermarkets, grocery shops and greengrocers are all nearby, which are super handy for preparing lunches and dinners. Just a stroll from the central city and the vibrant nightlife, the affluent area is also known for its French-style townhouses. There are also many public transport options close by that can take you anywhere in the city.
Experience a taste of Argentina’s suburban lifestyle by living in a three story guest house in the popular holiday town of Saldan, 45 minutes out of central Córdoba. The large house features sprawling grounds perfect for football and volleyball games, a pool and spaces for tango lessons. Your friendly host will cook breakfast and dinner each day, and meals are usually enjoyed together as a volunteer family. Volunteering in Córdoba is the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of big city life - be sure to take advantage of the afternoon siesta tradition!
Location and Climate
The seasons in Argentina run the same as the southern hemisphere, with cool winters and warm summers. The weather is comfortable year round meaning anytime is a good time to travel to Argentina!
Winter starts in June with mild highs of around 44 °F (17°C). Summer starts in December and temperatures can get up to around 83°F (30°C). Public parks lined with trees are the perfect place to relax and enjoy the fine weather with the option of getting some shade.
Córdoba has long been a popular place for Argentinians to holiday due to its warm subtropical climate. Summer temperatures fluctuate between 82°F (28°C) and 91°F (33°C) and you’ll find volunteers cooling off in their swimming pool when it gets hot!
When you’re trying to find the right volunteer opportunity for you, it’s important to consider what your motivations are for volunteering abroad and whether you have any specific skills that you can contribute. Figuring out these two things will help guide your decision and support you in finding the right volunteer program in Argentina. Think about how your motivations and skills fit with these projects. Teaching, Childcare, Sports, Healthcare and Construction and Renovation are available in both Buenos Aires and Córdoba.
Learn more about the volunteer projects in Buenos Aires or keep reading for a quick snapshot of the types of volunteer work available…
- Childcare - provide one on one care and attention to children from disadvantaged backgrounds by preparing meals at a local soup kitchen and facilitating educational activities.
- Teaching/Education - help combat low literacy levels in the shanty communities of Buenos Aires by assisting with reading, writing and English.
- Sports Education - coach kids passionate about sport in football, rugby, hockey, basketball and more.
- Construction and Renovation - play an important part in renovating local schools by moving furniture, sorting donations and painting.
- Healthcare - assist local healthcare professionals in a teaching hospital in central Buenos Aires.
Learn more about the volunteer projects in Córdoba or keep reading for a quick snapshot of the types of volunteer work available…
- Teaching and Education - act as teacher and tutor and provide valuable access to education to children who would otherwise miss out.
- Elderly Care - provide care and attention to elderly community members who may be facing abandonment or other issues.
- Community - take part in a variety of tasks to assist a wide range of community members with valuable initiatives. Prepare food, run workshops and coordinate sports and cultural events.
- Childcare - focus on being a positive role model for disadvantaged children by taking informal lessons, playing games and preparing meals.
- Special Needs - assist disabled young adults in finding greater independence by teaching valuable life skills and hobbies.
- Healthcare - assist local healthcare professionals by taking patients blood pressure, vaccinations, weighing and measuring babies and treating small wounds.
- Construction and Renovation - improve community infrastructure by painting, landscaping and building.
- Sports Education - bring kids from a range of backgrounds together and provide coaching in soccer and basketball.
Can You Volunteer In Both Locations?
Torn between which volunteer program in Argentina you prefer? You can always join both! This is the ideal way to experience both city and suburban living in Argentina. Between Buenos Aires and Córdoba, you’ll be immersed in two vibrant but different communities.
In order to join both programs, all you need to do is submit an application for each program, and then register for each. And because you’ll be registering for two programs, you’ll receive a 10% registration fee discount for your second program. See the IVHQ Alumni Network page for more information.