Volunteering abroad can be a challenging and rewarding experience. It takes us to new places, exposes us to new cultures, and helps us learn more about ourselves and the world we live in. These are only a few of the reasons we do it. But how do we choose where to go and which organization to give our time and skills to? Each person has their own reason for wanting to volunteer abroad, but we thought we’d offer a few of the top reasons why we think you should consider working with SKY.
- A unique and immersive opportunity for cultural exchange with the indigenous Salasaka community.
Salasaka is a wonderfully unique indigenous village, which means its culture is different from many of the surrounding areas of Ecuador. For example, most people in Salasaka are bilingual, speaking Spanish and Kichwa, and have traditions and festivals that vary from other parts of Ecuador. Volunteering with SKY will immerse you within this special Andean community, introducing you to new foods, music, ways of dressing, and warm-hearted people just as eager as you are to learn more about the world.
- A chance to live and work with volunteers from around the world, building friendships and creating memories.
SKY attracts volunteers from all over the world. And the more time you spend volunteering, the more likely you are to meet people from vastly different backgrounds and nationalities--all united by a desire to make a difference for the people of Salasaka. By living and working closely with other volunteers, you’re sure to build new friendships. Many of our volunteers have stayed close friends with the volunteers they met at SKY for years. It’s all part of the experience.
- Use your strengths to improve the lives of those in the Salasaka community (and learn new skills in the process!).
Salasaka is a small community, and when volunteers bring their enthusiasm and skills it’s a win-win situation for everyone involved. Perhaps you’re a veteran greenthumb just waiting to get your hands dirty in the new volunteer garden. Or maybe you’re interested in improving your gardening skills by learning from the locals. It’s all possible. The variety of projects and needs here at SKY gives you ample opportunity to help where help is needed and learn something along the way. If you’re skilled and a willing teacher, there’s always room to start your own workshop and teach others--music, art, woodworking, English, photography. The list goes on.
- Gain useful experience and discover new areas of interest.
Similar to number three, volunteering at SKY might be just what you need to figure out your next step in life’s journey. Whether you’re taking some time during your gap year to figure out what you’d like to study or looking to change your career, SKY can provide a wonderful testing ground for you to explore. Maybe you’re energized when you see the light in a student’s eyes after they’ve understood a new tense in English. Or perhaps you enjoy connecting people in the community and organizing events. You’ll never know until you try it, and volunteering at SKY might be just the push you need to discover new interests and talents.
- Location, location, location.
Last but certainly not least, Salasaka’s central location is ideal for exploring the rest of Ecuador. With Quito only a 3.5-hour bus ride away and the spa and adventure town of Baños a mere 45 minutes east, it’s easy to explore many of the most popular attractions this beautiful and diverse country has to offer. From Baños, volunteers often take a bus down into the jungle towns of Tena and Puyo. And heading north, you can visit Latacunga and walk around the jaw-dropping blue-green lagoon of Quilotoa. Not to mention it’s a direct route from Ambato to many of the coastal towns. Finding something to do on the weekends is never a hard for volunteers, but deciding, well, that can be more challenging.