Chile - Volunteer, Gap Year, TEFL, Spanish Courses & Tours

Chile is located on the West coast of South America with over 2,500 miles of scenic coastline. Chile is a popular country to visit on a gap year in South America and there is a lot to see and do here, places we recommend visiting include the huge Atacama desert in the North, Strait of Magellan and Patagonia in the South. The scenery, coast, Andes, sand dunes and glaciers will live long in the memory and by joining an adventure tour you will get to see the best locations in the country. You can also apply to volunteer with Chile or take a TEFL course and teach English. If you would like to learn Spanish you can book Spanish language courses through our website. 


Chile Travel Guide

Chile Travel Guide

  • Population - 17,250,000 (approx)
  • Capital - Santiago (population 6,000,000 approx)
  • Currency - Chilean Peso (CLP)
  • Language - Spanish
  • International Dialing Code +56
  • Area - 756,000 km2

 

 

 

Map of Chile

 

Highights of Chile

  • Check out the spectacular landscape in San Pedro de Atacama where you can see ruins or go sandboarding
  • Go skiing in the Andes which is home to some excellent ski resorts and slopes with stunning views
  • Explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Easter Island and get pictures of the Moi'an statues
  • Climb Mount Villarrica which is an active volcano
  • Wander around the capital of Chile - Santiago

 

 

Tours in Chile

On our website you can search tour operators or find small group adventures, overland tours and more. There are a lot of different trips available including visiting Easter Island or exploring Santiago which is a great city to wander around on food. There are so many must see destinations, try to visit the Puerto Natales Torres del Paine National Park where there are various treks and excursions available. Valparaiso might not be part of your itinerary but this city is well worth visiting, located around 3 hours by bus from Santiago you will find one of the most beautiful cities in Latin America. Other places you might want to visit include San Pedro and Pichilemu which is a little surfing destinations. 

 

 

Gap Year in Chile

By plannng a gap year to Chile you will get to experience the culture and spirt of Latin America, along with beaches, spectacular coastline, nature, wildlife, glaciers, bright blue ocean, scenic road routes and gorgeous landscapes. This is one of the most diverse countries on earth. It boasts incredible cities and towns and fine cuisine. Whether you’re a student, graduate or just looking to do something different, explore famous sights or just lap up the beach life, we list gap year trips in Chile to give you lots of options. View our programs and read our guide to taking a gap year in Chile below.

Most flights arrive into Santiago which has a hive of activity both throughout the day and night. If you would like to visit somewhere unique the Southern most city in the world is located in Chile or explore the remote Patagonia. We highly recommend you visit the mysterious Easter Island or travel to the world's driest desert - the Atacama. Most Nationalities are granted a tourist visa on arrival in Chile if you have a valid passport, occassionaly and very rarely you might be asked for proof of an outbound ticket. Chile is quite a small country in comparison with others in South America but this doesn't mean there are any less things to do and places you need to visit. We list tour operators who offer adventure overland tours to various destinations, you could travel throughout this continent or just visit a certain place like Easter Island for example. Public transport is very good / cheap in Chile but the distances are usually long / uncomfortable.

 

 

Chile Gap Year Programs

There are lots of placements available in Chile including helping the environment, people, wildlife, education and tourism. Spending time in Chile is a lot of fun but you might be required to pay a fee to participate, this usually include transfers, meals, accommodation and a donation. When applying you could be placed anywhere in Chile, there are projects located throughout the country in places like Santiago, Pichilemu, Molina, Pucón and in the spectacular and remote San Pedro de Atacama.

There are skilled and non-skilled placements available which will be engaging, challenging and rewarding. From building schools, educating youngsters to helping wildlife and environmental conservation - this will be an experience to remember. When helping you usually work from Monday to Friday and have weekends free, in your spare time you might want to join a sightseeing excursion, join adventure water sports like rafting, learn to surf or even join salsa classes. We highly recommend learning at least some basic Spanish words and getting a phrase book before departing, this will really enhance your experience and make traveling a lot easier. You can combine certain programs with language courses, there are classes for all levels and abilities.

 

 

Chile Gap Year FAQ

  • Eligibility: Most programs will require you to be ages 18+ but there are shorter taster summer trips available for 16 and 17 year olds.
     
  • Language: A basic level of Spanish can sometimes be required especially if you are joining a program with social interaction
     
  • Dates: Start dates are usually weekly and you can join every month throughout the year. You usually need to commit a minimum of 2 weeks time to join, this can be extended though
     
  • Accommodation: There are lots of hotels, hostels and guest houses in Chile, if you book a gap year program through our website accommodation is usually provided where you will stay in a house with other internationals. Cultural homestays are also an option where you can live with a local family and teach them English at the same time
     
  • Cost: Prices vary depending on the program you are interested in, please enquire for more information

 

Study Spanish in Chile

Learn Spanish in Chile

Find language schools and search beginners Spanish classes in Chile. With over 4,000 miles of coastline and mountains - Chile is a spectacular destination to learn Spanish. Chilean people are very friendly, when they see you trying to speak or practise your Spanish they will be very open to speaking with you. There are courses for all levels and abilities and on our guide you can search popular locations and recommended language schools.

Types of Courses Available in Chile

  • Beginner lessons
  • Intensive lessons
  • Private lessons
  • Intensive + private lessons
  • Combo Spanish and dance
  • Combo Spanish and music

 

 

Spanish language courses in Santiago, Chile

Learn Spanish in Santiago de Chile 

The capital of Chile is a great place to learn Spanish and one of the most popular destinations in the country. This city is a great place to study due to the amound of things you can do in your spare time, there are not many places in the world you can go to the beach or go skiing in the same day! 6 million people live in Santiago and when in-country you are likely to pick up some Mapuche words and phrases, the Mapuche were idigenous people who people were living here before the Spanish arrived. Even today there is a mix of Spanish and Mapuche words spoken which you will hear when conversing with local people - this is not something you will be taught in a formal class.

 

 

Spanish language courses in Valparaiso, Chile

Learn Spanish in Valparaíso

Valparaíso is know as the cultural capital of Chile and has around 300,000 inhabitants. Located on the West Coast around 1-2 hour drive from Santiago

 

 

Spanish language courses in Viña del Mar, Chile

Learn Spanish in Viña del Mar 

You can find Viña del Mar in the North of Chile, this is a smaller located to study than other cities but still attracts lots of tourists. You will be suprised by how relaxing and sceneic this destination is, there are gorgeous sandy beaches and scenic bays. Hitting the beach in your spare time is a must!

 

 

Spanish language courses in Pichilemu, Chile

Learn Spanish in Pichilemu

Pichilemu is a town around 3-4 hours from Santiago. This is a unique place to study Spanish - there is a country feel here with cowboys but in contrast to this these are beautiful beaches.

 

 

Spanish language courses in Pucón, Chile

Learn Spanish in Pucón

In the South of Chile is located Pucon, this small town is a popular stop off point for people visting Patagonia. If you choose to study here you will get to spend time relaxed at the scenic lake Villarrica.

 

Accommodation Options

  • Shared apartments (self-catering)
  • Student residence (room only)
  • Host families (half board – breakfast and one other meal/day)

 

Cost

The price of a course depends on which course you select and for how long you want to study. Generally the price you pay include:

  • Placements
  • Pre-departure information
  • Studying materials
  • Drinks during the class breaks
  • Extracurricular cultural activities
  • Language course completion certificate
  • In-country support

 

 

Volunteer Work in Chile

Volunteer in Chile

Chile is a beautiful country to experience and we highly recommend signing up to work as a volunteer in this destination due to the range of projects available. This country is very developed and has enjoyed very good times economically but there is still a need for assistance due to the wide gap which has developed between the rich and poor. There are a range of projects in places like Santiago where you can help improve living standards and really make a difference, the experience of giving service will stay with you forever.

Maybe you are seeking a new challenge or you would like to do something rewarding. Cultural and environmental diversity epitomize Chile, this country is the undisputed South American giant. By volunteering you can spend a longer time in the country gaining new skills, improving your Spanish and meeting new friends from all over the world. Being in Chile and doing more than being a tourist will be a rich cultural experience where you will learn more about the country, culture and people. This is also a great way to improve your Spanish language skills especially when interacting and working alongside locally employed staff. As a volunteer in this country you will also get to see some spectacular sights including the Andes, glaciers, Pacific coast and cultural towns and cities.

 

Volunteer Projects in Chile

Location of Projects

Our directory includes local projects, NGO's, non-profits and larger organisations who offer placements throughout the country including in:

  • Santiago 
  • Arica
  • Punta Arenas
  • Elqui Valley
  • Valparaiso
  • Vina del Mar
  • Chiloe Island
  • San Pedro de Atacama (live and work in the world's driest desert)
  • Patagonia (this is one of the most scenic places in the world) 

Where you choose to go really comes down to personal preference, the Atacama Desert in the North and Patagonia in the South of the country are both destinations for nature but larger cities like Santiago have long been favourite destinations. If you have a flexible schedule you might like to view our South America volunteer directory for a full list of options in this region.

 

 

Types of Volunteer Programs in Chile

 

 

Community Development Programs in Chile

Community Development

When you see images of Chile on tv or even if you visit as a tourist it doesn't really seem there is a need for outside assistance. But Chile is still an improving country which sometimes lacks the funds and numbers on the ground. You wouldn't think it but around 10% of the population of Chile live in poverty and you could work with homeless people, lead awareness initiatives, apply for building / construction projects or work with ill or disabled people. You could also participate on a medical/healthcare program which are usually operated in places like Santiago, you might need to be either studying or already working in the industry to take part. There are also community centres which care for poor or underprivileged children throughout the country, assistance is needed all year round as many of these operations are underfunded. This will be an experience which might be quite eye opening but unforgettable. Some placements can involve working with blind or disabled children, international staff are invited to apply and help - this is probably the most rewarding program available.

 

Education and Teaching Volunteer Programs in Chile

Education & Teaching

Helping educate children and people is one of the best ways to improve job prospects and help prevent poverty. There are various teaching placements at schools in cities and more rural areas, you could help at public schools leading lessons or working alongside local teachers. If you are an absolute beginner at teaching don't worry, usually you just need enthusiasm and the willingness to learn on the job. The students will be delighted to have you there and it will be an amazing experience seeing them learn and progress before your eyes.

 

Work with Animals & Conservation

By working on conservation volunteer programs you can get off the tourist trail and really get hands on working to help nature and the environment. Deforestation is a problem and you can help by working in spectacular National Parks and Nature Reserves creating programs, cleaning areas, making signs and awareness campaigns. The Villarrica National Park is a popular tourist destination in both summer and winter, you can experience breathtaking scenery whilst also helping keeping the area pristine. Due to increasing numbers of tourists to places like the Atacama, Easter Island and Patagonia there is a real need for eco tourism awareness and efforts on the ground to protect nature and biodiversity. You could also help provide a future for animals facing extinction by helping rescue and rehabilitate at centers.

 

Human Rights

There are specific placements where you can help remote indigenous tribes like the Mapuche supporting and helping preserve their culture in the face of modern society. This will provide a fascinating insight into their culture and you will learn why this tribe and many others need help in the face of rapid development and natural habitat loss. There are also other programs where you can help womens rights or work directly with women who suffer as a result of discrimination or abuse at specially set up shelters located throughout the country. 

 

Eligibility

No previous experience is required just the willingness to make a difference, you will be expected to be on time, professional, fun and be able to work in teams. Learning basic Spanish is also highly recommended, this will enable you to interact with locals and people you are volunteering with. Please be aware some projects can be in rural or urban areas. You will not need a visa prior to arriving in Chile.

 

Cost

By using our website you can find structured, cheap and free volunteer opportunities in Chile. Some organisations might require you to pay a participate which includes accommodation, meals, transport and support. You will usually be required to pay for flights to Chile.

 

Accommodation

Shared volunteer accommodation is offered with other participants as well as home stays with a local family. Each family is carefully selected and they will welcome you into their home. This is a great cultural exchange where you can improve your Spanish and also help the hosts improve their English, local people are very friendly and are well known for their hospitality.

 

Typical Week

Most organisations will require you to work around 5 days per week, usually around 4-6 hours per day. This can vary depending on the placement, try to be flexible and open minded to changes in schedules. There will be lots of free time for you to take everything in or go sightseeing. In your spare time you might want to organise an excursion, watching a football game or visiting a rodeo show or parade with Chilean cowboys and dancing the night away to the national dance of Chile the cueca is also recommended.

 

Start Dates & How to Apply

Weekly arrival dates throughout the year but placements must be booked in advance to secure a spot. There are one week placements and longer available. You might want to try to arrange a placement during September as 'Dieciocho' takes place where people celebrate Chilean culture with patriotic celebrations 'Fiestas Patrias'. The festivities usually take place with music and delicious food including empanadas (pasty) and anticuchos (shish kebabs).

 

 

Teach English in Chile

Find TEFL jobs in Chile and get paid to teach English. Find work in a destination like Santiago. South America is a facsinating continent to travel and see more, living and working in Chile is highly recommended. English teachers are in big demand , in 2003 a free trade agreement was made with the USA and this has made it easier for US nationals to live and work in Chile. Working as a paid English teacher in Chile is an amazing chance to live abroad and possibly improve your Spanish skills. Read on for more information about working as a teacher in Chile. 

TEFL Courses in Chile

  • Course placement
  • Advice and preparation before departure
  • Airport pick up and transfers
  • Orientation
  • Accommodation
  • Practical teaching experience 
  • Full support from start to finish
  • Activities and Excursions
  • Lifelong TEFL Certification
  • Reference on request

 

Location of Jobs

English teach work can be found in lots of locations like Santiago, this is a great city to enjoy the culture and atmosphere of this country. Other places you can find teaching work include Viña del Mar, Valparaiso, Valdivia, Puerto Montt and Concepcion - literally throughout this country you can work as a teacher.

 

What to Expect

Chile is an attractive country to teach in, Santiago is a a mix of old and new with colonial-era architecture but there are also modern shopping streets. Santiago is Chile’s economic center and it also has a high population and this means you will find most jobs here. You will usually find yourself teaching Monday to Friday and in your spare time you might want to travel and see spectacular Patagonia or Easter Island.

 

Peak Hiring Season and Wages

Most teachers are recruited during February and March although some jobs can be applied for all year round. You could work at public schools, language centres and international schools. You could also lead private classes full or part time. When working as an English teacher in Chile you can expect to make around $750 per month but this can vary.