Live and volunteer in a rural community, joining local people in completing important service projects on this summer community service program in Argentina for high school students. Help make building improvements to the village’s high school, tend community crops, and teach English to local children. Experience Argentina’s geographic and cultural diversity on visits to Colonial Salta, and to the avenues, monuments, and cafés of cosmopolitan Buenos Aires.
- June 26, 2013 - July 24, 2013
- Students completing grades 9-12
- Community Service
- Typical Group:
- 16-18 Students, 2 Leaders
- 4 week(s)
Get to know life in a tiny rural village life as a volunteer in Argentina’s northwest region. Here, in the Andean foothills, economic development has stalled and the local population exists largely on subsistence agriculture. As partners with a regional school district, we volunteer side by side with Argentine peers to complete much needed projects for the community. We focus on small-scale construction, education, and community agriculture activities. Past community service projects have included building a classroom, constructing a greenhouse for the school’s agricultural department, reforestation, and teaching English to local children. Students also select an independent project based on their interests—learn the traditional chacarera dance, organize a baseball game for local students, play a village folksong on your guitar, paint a mural, or create a newsletter for our host school. In the afternoons, spend time hiking the surrounding hills, organizing coffee house performances with local students, practicing Spanish, or playing a game of pick-up soccer. Students who complete the volunteer program can expect to earn 60-80 hours of community service.
Accommodations during our stay in the host village are rustic. We sleep on beds and cots, and take part in keeping the community areas clean. We also have the opportunity to assist local women in the preparation of our meals, which we share with the local students when school is in session. We are grateful to be a part of this welcoming and enthusiastic community.
In addition to our service work, we take time to enjoy Argentina’s many scenic and cultural attractions. Early in the program we spend a day rafting on the Juramento River – it’s a great opportunity to get to know everyone in the group! On weekends we visit the provincial capital of Salta with its lively central square and famous high mountain archaeology museum. We also trek along ancient Inca and Guaraní footpaths into the Andean foothills, stopping to see friends at local villages and to enjoy spectacular vistas of the higher peaks.
For our last week we fly to cosmopolitan Buenos Aires to explore all that this thriving city has to offer—take a tango class, visit the Boca Juniors soccer stadium and Evita’s tomb, or catch a jazz concert.
“I loved sitting in a small circle with locals and Putney students in Valle Grande, sharing songs and playing the violin, guitar, and flute. We taught each other and truly broke the language barrier together.”
- Sophia Anne Ertel, Greenwich High School, Greenwich, CT
- Volunteer with Argentine peers to make improvements to the local high school.
- Learn the finer points of irrigation as you help tend community crops.
- Raft the Juramento River, discovering ancient South American geologic formations and dramatic scenery.
- Trek ancient Inca and Guaraní paths on a three-day guided hike into the Andean foothills.
- Dance the tango at one of the famous milongas of Buenos Aires.
What to Expect
For most of each weekday, we are actively involved in community service work. This work, as well as afternoon and weekend activities, can be strenuous, and you can expect to spend most of each day outside. Everyone participates in all of the group’s projects on a rotating basis, and everyone lends a hand in meal preparation and cleanup. Since we live in our village as the local people do, accommodations are very simple with separate space for boys and girls, and basic bathroom facilities. You should come to the program with an open-mind, eager to participate in new experiences, and interested in exploring another culture and way of life.
At Putney we take pride in our reputation for careful, thorough planning and attention to detail. The descriptions of our high school summer programs abroad are based on our experiences in previous summers and our plans for this summer. It is inevitable that some things described here will not happen exactly as presented. To get the most out of the Putney experience, participants need to be flexible in responding to unforeseen situations, and creative in taking advantage of unexpected opportunities. We expect Putney participants to share responsibility for the success of their experience.
Putney organizes escorted international flights. Please consult us for fares.
Learn about last year’s program by reading the 2012 Community Service Argentina Blog.
This program begins and ends at Miami International Airport.
Departure from Miami • Join the group to begin a month of village-based community service in the northwest of Argentina. The group flight departs from Miami International Airport, where you meet one of your leaders and travel as a group to Buenos Aires.
Salta • We transfer directly by air to the capital city of the northwest province, Salta, which features beautiful colonial architecture and many cultural attractions. Take part in the program orientation, and then get to know everyone in the group during a day of river rafting on the nearby Juramento River.
Community Service Village • Ride by bus into the Andean foothills to our host village. Here we partner with students at a local high school to complete three weeks of construction, agricultural, and educational volunteer projects.
Buenos Aires • Spend your last days in Argentina touring the diverse, high-energy city of Buenos Aires. Soak in the history and culture with a tango lesson, a visit to Evita’s tomb, a jazz concert, or a tour of the Boca Juniors’ soccer stadium.
Return • Depart from Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires for Miami International Airport, accompanied by one of your leaders.
“Tess loved using her Spanish, exploring another culture, and gaining a new perspective on the lifestyle of the people in Valle Grande as well as the country as a whole. But, what she talks about most often is the bonding she experienced with her group, the tight friendships she formed, and the laughter.”
- Lora Gann, Baltimore, MD
This itinerary represents our best projection of the group’s schedule. However, we may implement changes designed to improve the quality of the summer community service program.
Background • From its cosmopolitan capital to the sprawling pampas, Argentina has always captured the imagination of travelers. After a period of great prosperity, the economic problems of recent years have taken a heavy toll on the country, eroding the middle class and widening the gap between rich and poor. Today, while cities like Buenos Aires continue to form part of the world’s cultural vanguard, the need for adequate housing and basic social services is real, especially in rural areas.
Population • Argentina is home to an estimated 40 million people and is largely considered a country of immigrants. Almost 90 percent of the population self-identifies as “of European descent” and most Argentines can trace their lineage back to the waves of European and Middle Eastern immigrants to South America in the 19th and 20th centuries. Among these groups Italian and Spanish immigrants were most prevalent, but other large ethnic groups include German, Lebanese, French, and Irish. The population of Northwest Argentina, where our village is located, retains traces of an indigenous culture with roots in its pre-Columbian heritage.
Language • Spanish is the official language of Argentina. Argentines are known throughout the Hispanic world for their distinctive accent, extensive vocabulary, and great enjoyment of the spoken and written word.
Climate • Although July means winter in the Southern Hemisphere, temperatures in and around Argentina’s northwestern provinces remain temperate with average highs in the 60s. The weather is cooler in the mornings and evenings, particularly in our host village, which is located at a higher altitude. Make sure to pack a winter jacket!
Cuisine • As one of the world’s largest producers of beef, the Argentine diet is one high in protein. Local people consume an estimated 150 pounds of red meat annually – one taste of the traditional Argentine asado or barbeque of beef, ribs, and pork will tell you why! Grilled vegetables and salads are also readily available. The Italian influence accounts for the handmade pastas and raviolis filled with cheese and seasonal vegetables. In the northwest, there is a distinct Andean influence, with many locals claiming to make the world’s best empanadas. Finally, it would be a mistake to leave Argentina without trying an alfajore, a layered pastry filled with chocolate, dulce de leche, or jam.
“What made my trip so special was the time I spent with the locals at Valle Grande playing soccer, having music sessions, and teaching them how to speak English. I also had a great time in the kitchen learning about local foods.”
– Christopher Razo, De La Salle Institute, Chicago, IL
Currency • The currency in Argentina is the Argentine Peso (ARS). ATMs, which are readily available in the places we visit on excursions, are the easiest way to access cash.
Voltage • The voltage in Argentina is 220V, and outlets accept plug types C and I. You will need a voltage converter and plug adapter in order to use electronics from the United States. There is access in the host village to outlets to charge electronic devices.
The Community Service Argentina program is directed by Patrick Noyes. If you have questions, are interested in receiving more detailed information, or would like to talk further about the program or any of our high school summer programs abroad, please get in touch!
Patrick Noyes: Georgetown University, B.A., Spanish. After living for five years in Spain, Patrick joined Putney twelve years ago as leader of a Spain Language Learning program. He spent five summers with Excel in Spain, and has directed Excel at Amherst College, Excel China, and Excel Spain. Patrick has an unhealthy fascination with technology, which he tries to balance with healthier fascinations of camping, adventure races, architecture, and arthouse Spanish Cinema.
How To Apply
STEP 1: LOG ON.
STEP 2: HOLD A SPACE IN THE PROGRAM.
You can hold a space in a program by completing the Online Application Form, submitting a signed Agreement Form, and providing the $700 Application Deposit by Mastercard, Visa, or Discover Card through our secure online system or by sending a check to our office. Our admissions staff is also available to take credit card information over the phone. We will hold a space in a program for a reasonable time, pending completion of the full application process. See Step 3.
After March 15, we will hold a space temporarily as above, but we must receive full payment by check or wire transfer within three days to continue to hold a space in the program.
STEP 3: COMPLETE THE APPLICATION PROCESS.
Before we can make a final admissions decision, an application must be complete. In addition to the Application Form and Application Deposit described above, a complete application includes:
- Applicant Statement - Attach a statement explaining why you would like to join a Putney program and what you feel you can contribute to it. Your application cannot be processed without this statement. Approximately 150–300 words is sufficient. Global Action applicants’ statements must be 300-500 words addressing these questions, and detailing their interest and/or experience in the country and issues on which they wish to focus.
- Two Teacher Reference Forms
These documents are available as part of our Online Application. We review a completed application within a few days, and notify families of our admissions decision by e-mail.