Volunteering Aboard in Your Gap Year
Have you finished your high school? Looking for some adventure? Well, now is your time to explore the world and enjoy your life. Once you join the college for studies, you would be busy, more than you can think. Therefore, it is better to take some time off and have a memorable time. Take a gap year and make the best use of this precious time. It would be beneficial to you in a number of ways. Spending time out would groom you bring, a charm in your personality, and enable you to learn a lot. You can explore different cultures, languages and learn many new things. There are many other factors because of which you should take a gap year.
Helping others is a noble need and it is something everyone should do. It is rightly said that courtesy costs nothing. You should do your best to help others and make the needy ones' lives easier and better.
You can understand volunteering as the noble act of devoting yourself, your time and your efforts to bring a positive change and to support those who need help.
How to start?
This is a broad term and includes a lot of things. You have to deice first in which direction you want to go. Find out your potential first, look what are you good at and move in that way to offer your help.
So, the first step in planning your volunteering abroad is to decide in which field you would work. There are different projects available and each varies in nature and duration. You can choose the one that suits your aptitude and the availability of your time.
The trend of volunteering is increasing day by day and consequently, the companies offering such programs are also increasing. There are different organizations and volunteering companies that offer several programs in which you can enroll yourself and offer help. But it is not that simple. You need to do a detailed research first. Make a list of possible options, research about their goals and objectives, their model of functioning, rules and regulations, code of conduct and then, choose the one that falls under your ethical boundaries, and about which you think it is truly dedicated to helping others.
Things to know for a fruitful experience
If this is your first time, you have to be very careful. It is both exciting and adventurous but you need to be very careful as well.
There are certain things that you should keep in mind if you wish to have a fantastic and trouble free time.
Familiarity with the language:
Basic understanding of native language is very important for effective communication. If you don’t know the language of a country where you are going, you will have t face many difficulties. Obviously, you can not master a new language in a short time, but what you can do is learn the basics and common phrases for daily use. It would be a great help to make your stay comfortable. It would be better if you learn about their cultural values and basic beliefs as well.The more you know them, the better your experienc4e would be.
Packing the appropriate stuff
Once you have researched well about the place where you are going, you should pack up your clothes accordingly. Take the ones that are suitable according to their culture and keep some extra clothes for donating as well. Another thing that you should keep in mind while packing clothes is the climatic conditions. Make sure what you keep is appropriate for the weather.
To do List
Make up a list of your goals and objectives of this adventurous tour. Plan up carefully so that you can work accordingly.
Document your experience
You are going to explore a number of new things. Remember to record these moments and capture wonderful memories. Keep a good camera with you so that you can record the special and interest time of your life.
Things to Avoid
You are going to a new place. Remember that everyone is not as good as you and not everyone is worthy of your trust. Be open, talk to others, make friends but don’t trust everyone. Take care of your personal possessions and set a limit for yourself.
Furthermore, you should be thoughtful and care full in what service you are going to provide. Don’t rush, take time, think properly and then decide what you are finally going for.
Serving the orphanage
For instance, if you are planning to serve the orphanage and spend time with children, remember that you are not here for long. These little souls might get too attached to you and your leaving can cause trouble for them. Therefore, you have to control your emotions and offer such services in which there is no such harm.
Serving the Animals
Same is the case with animals. You might be passionate about animals and love to take care of them but if you do that for some days, what is going to happen after that? This temporary good that you are going to do would just provide you a good feeling. You should go for something better and do something more beneficial for them, such as improving their habitat.
Tips for a good start
Selection of destination
Where you want to serve is important. Select the place where you have always wanted to go. For instance, if you have always wished for visiting Colombia or Cuba, look for the volunteer program offered there.
The first and foremost thing that you are required to do is a detailed research. It would make your experience more exciting, less troubling and more memorable. The better you research, the more you will enjoy.
Lost City Trek to Ciudad Perdida
The Lost City Trek in Colombia is a challenging but fascinating journey through the Colombian jungle to reach the mysterious Ciudad Perdida, the Lost City of the Tayrona people. Trekking for 4 days through the forest, across rivers, and up and down mountains is beautiful, sometimes strenuous, and always sweaty, but definitely worth the effort! The Lost City Trek is one of the best treks in South America, and the highlight of many people’s visit to Colombia.
What is the Lost City?
The Tayrona were inhabitants of the Sierra Nevada region of Colombia and lived deep in the jungle. It is thought that they built their city, known as Teyuna, around 650-800 AD and abandoned it during the Spanish Conquest. Teyuna was lost to the outside world for centuries until it was rediscovered in 1972 by local treasure hunters. The descendants of the Tayrona, (Kogui, Aruacos, Taironas and Wiwas) still live in the area, as the city was never lost to them, just to outsiders. On the trek, you will learn more about the culture of the indigenous people who live here, and you might even get to meet the Shaman of the Lost City.
The Lost City Trek
The trek begins from a small town called Machete Pelao, two to three hours’ drive from Santa Marta, on the northern Colombian coast. Here we’ll have a good lunch, and the chance to buy last-minute snacks and extra water.
Each day we’ll hike for several hours we reach the Lost City on the third day, a total of 23.3km (14.5 miles) from our start point. You’ll sleep in hammocks or bunk beds with mosquito nets in camps along the trail, listening to the sounds of the jungle around you as you drift off to sleep.
All the camps are close to the Puritaca river, where you can take a swim and cool off after a hard day’s hiking. While you swim, admire the nature around you, from the yellow and white butterflies flitting above the water to the fish darting through the water in the shallows.
We’ll pass indigenous villages on our trek to the Lost City, where the Kogui and Wiwa people live. You’ll recognise them by their white tunics, long dark hair, and woven bags. The round houses have pointed thatched rooves, and chickens scratching in the dirt outside. The children play under the trees and splash around in the rivers, enjoying their lives in the fresh air without video games and TV shows. For each visitor who treks to the Lost City, the tour companies pay a contribution of $30,000 COP (approximately $11 USD) to the indigenous community, so you can come to the Lost City safe in the knowledge that you are making a difference to the local people here.
At rest stops on the trail, you can buy drinks, and we’ll have snacks of fresh fruit to replace some of your energy before setting off again. You can also pause to admire the views and spot some of the local wildlife. The Sierra Nevada was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1979, so there are plenty of animals and birds who make this region their home.
The hike is a mixture of ups and downs, flats and jungle, with some spectacular views from the tops of the hills, before descending again into the valleys. There are places to cross the river, usually no more than ankle deep, although it can get higher after heavy rain. The Lost City Trek is an adventure in itself, and one that will stay with you long after you leave Colombia.
The Lost City
On the 3rd day, the excitement builds as we get closer to Teyuna. 1200 stone steps lead up through the trees, a sign that we are about to find the Lost City. The steps are slippery from moss, follow them higher and higher until you reach the city. Take a moment and ask permission from the gods to enter Teyuna and make your way to the terraces. Climb yet higher to finally look back and gaze upon the ruins below. Circles of stones mark the foundations of houses that once stood here, surrounded by thick jungle and palm trees. As we explore the Lost City, our guide explains the significance of the city, sacred stones and rituals that the Tayrona people performed. Since Teyuna was re-discovered, archaeologists have found evidence of more than 200 structures in the city, across an area of around 30 acres. Homes, roads, stalls, plazas, ceremonial and assembly buildings, and storage areas were all built here.
Some people believe that the Tayrona had the power to move rocks with their minds, and that is how they came to build their city here in the forest. Whether that is true or not, it is hard not to be impressed by the scale and beauty of the ruins, and to feel the magic that lingers here. A sacred river runs through the city, where you have the chance to cool off in the water and connect with the ancient power that used to reside here. The Lost City is a magnificent place, filled with mystical energy that purifies the spirit and revitalises you for the return hike.
When it is time to leave, we’ll walk back down the steps, and you’ll wonder if you will ever be quite the same again.
Important information for the Lost City Trek
The trek requires a reasonable level of fitness, as it involves steep climbs and descents, and two river crossings. Unfortunately, there can be a lot of mosquitos, so bring some repellent.
Good footwear and a waterproof jacket are essential, especially in rainy season.
You will carry your own clothes, water and personal items, so pack light! However, changes of clothes are recommended as the clothes you wear will not dry overnight due to high humidity. Bring long pants for the Lost City, to protect yourself from the mosquitos.
We are delighted to announce the opening of our latest Jakera location and its incredible new programs. ‘Jakera Colombia Trek & Culture’ and ‘Jakera Colombia Outdoor Adventure’ open from March 2018.
Our Colombia base camp is in the outdoor adventure capital San Gil, which is near the great Canyon of Chicamocha. Our camp is located inside a national reserve where we have a river and two magnificent waterfalls, with natural swimming pools located inside the camp grounds.
We run Spanish classes for all levels, late afternoons, Monday to Friday. This allows for pro-active days which we spend running ‘trek and culture’ activities and outdoor adventure sports such as white water rafting, repelling, mountain biking and even bungee jumping! Or you can choose a lighter pace with Jakera Yoga running daily classes, with the possibility to buy extra Spanish classes, or simply chill in the national reserve and Jakera social areas.
Following true Jakera tradition Jakera Colombia camp offers many ‘extras’ on top of your programs activities. This includes our experienced camp office which can help you plan independent weekends away or your onward journey after your time with us. Furthermore, there’s Jakera Club where you can volunteer your time for our social projects, assisting our staff host activities and exercises for the most needing causes and kids of the community……
In true Jakera style we have your social life as a top priority. There are cool, chilled hang-out areas in camp as well as theme nights where we organize group excursions to town to experience Colombian culture by night and social events in camp.
We are looking for an Intern for our Costa Rica location?
Spend six months with us in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica in one of the best surf locations on the Pacific coast, we are looking for a group leader to help our base manager in his day to day roles running this busy Learn Spanish, surf and adventure camp, ideally someone with Lifeguard training or previous group leader experience.
The successful candidate will have the the following skills:
Good planning skills - Interpersonal Skills - Communication skills - Leadership abilities - Conflict resolution skills.
The internship is not a paid position but includes, free transport from San Jose International airport to Santa Teresa, 2 healthy Organic meals a day, accommodation, free Spanish Lessons and plenty of time to off to surf the best beaches in Costa Rica.
Apply to firstname.lastname@example.org
If you want to learn Spanish, it would be a good idea to travel to a country where Spanish is the main speaking language. That way you can learn the language better, in its original form and instantly apply what you’ve learnt. Studying Spanish in Cuba would be great since Spanish is the official language in Cuba and the speech pattern in similar to that of the Canary Islands. So if you want to learn Spanish in Cuba, you can opt to get enrolled in a Spanish language immersion program in Cuba.
What is a Language Immersion Program?
Language Immersion is a method of teaching the language where the instructions are given in the same language. The main aim of language immersion program is to encourage bilingualism. It is always an advantage if you can communicate in more than one language, so if you want to learn Spanish as your second language, it’s time to pack your bags and fly off to Cuba.
So why would you choose language immersion over other language learning programs?You can find a number of language learning courses in your own country, so why would you fly off to another country to learn a new language. Learning language is not tough; putting it into practice is the tougher part. Think about a party where everyone speaks in English and you are the only one speaking in Spanish!! Sounds odd? This will not be the same in Cuba, since people would be communicating in Spanish, so you’ll have an opportunity to practice what you’ve learnt. Here are some more benefits of language immersion programs:
You can find out more here: www.jakera.com
We are exited to announce that we have a new country to add to our growing list of Latin American destinations, Colombia! In preparation for the new base we travelled to San Gil, in the Santander region to see what all the fuss was about with the "Adventure capital of Colombia". San Gil, the 300 year old Capital of the region is home to 42,000 people and is the place to go for Kayaking, Paragliding, Caving, Hiking and Cycling and we hooked up with the guys at Colombian Bike Junkies https://lnkd.in/eHj7XsM to sample their one day downhill tour. We could not have been more impressed with these guys, seasoned professionals and all athlete's we covered the 47km in just over 6 hours of adrenaline filled fun and excitement, the terrain was varied from loose gravel descents, to fast downhill road sections and all spread amongst a jaw dropping backdrop of spectacular cascading river and almost vertical mountain terrain. We will have a full trip report coming soon and we will defiantly be adding mountain bike tours to our list of activities at Jakera Colombia!