Living and working in South America is a huge opportunity for all kinds of people—passionate nomads, Spanish language students, humanitarians, and culture hounds alike.

Traveling is a thrill, and it’s even more enjoyable when you have a steady source of income that lets you explore new destinations on your own terms. If you want to spend a lot of time in South America, finding a job here will give you language practice and cultural insights.

In this guide, we’ll give you five tips for traveling and working in South America so that you can elevate your international lifestyle.

Find Temporary Jobs at Farms or Hostels

South America is a vast continent filled with ranches and countless farming opportunities for adventurous explorers. Grabbing a temporary job at a farm is a great chance to earn money, strengthen your language skills, and get a foothold in the area. Many job opportunities like these also involve living with a host family, enabling you to build a strong cultural connection and new relationships. Check out organizations like Workaway and WWOOF to get started in your search.

This tip also applies to hostels, which are used to accommodating foreigners and often offer room and board in exchange for work. This is a great opportunity if you’re outgoing, have good people skills, and if you’re tidy and don’t mind straightening up guest rooms and communal areas.

Volunteer To Gain Experience

If you have extra time—say, if you’re taking a gap year or a sabbatical—consider spending it volunteering. This work may not be paid, but it can be a solid investment in your financial future, help you improve your language skills, and can give you vital experience for your resume.

There are thousands of volunteer opportunities in South America, but here are a few common industries to consider:

  • Environmental conservation
  • Community development
  • Teaching
  • Animal welfare

A lot of volunteer work also puts you closer to real people and small towns rather than everyday tourist experiences. This allows you to immerse yourself in a country’s culture and gain a deeper understanding of the community you’re working with—plus you’ll find unique local haunts off the tourist track.

Read our guide to volunteering ethically and choosing a program that prioritizes the community.

Create a Spanish Resume

Speaking Spanish is a fantastic skill to have when traveling and working in South America, so show it off in a Spanish resume. Employers love to see that you can speak the language, and it conveys your experience in their natural language, promoting better understanding.

Make sure to consider terms, local colloquialisms, and professional cultural values of the country in which you’re applying for a job—for example, many South American countries use photos on their resumes, which might not be something you’re used to. It’s also a good idea to include additional personal details, like your nationality and date of birth.

Only build a Spanish resume if you’re confident in your language skills. If you aren’t sure, stick with your native language to better convey your qualifications and skills, and as you gain confidence in your Spanish-speaking abilities, update your resume accordingly.

Look for Teaching Opportunities

Teaching English is a great way to establish yourself in any foreign country, and many South American schools are eager to have native English speakers enhance their classes. You can find paid and volunteer opportunities and even choose to work with the types of learners you’re most comfortable teaching—adults, children, or both.

Programs like Maximo Nivel are wonderful for travelers who want to get paid to teach English in South America; you can earn TEFL certification online, through a hybrid program, or in-country, which opens you up to exciting teaching placements anywhere there are English language learners. This is an excellent option for travelers who aren’t fluent in Spanish yet, as many teaching jobs only require fluent English skills. Then, you can build up your Spanish skills as you teach to prepare you for more complex roles.

Reach Out to Employers Online

Everything is easy to find from your laptop. You can research suitable employers online before you journey to South America, or embrace the digital nomad life and find opportunities in realtime as you’re traveling.

Look for companies in your industry to start—are you a graphic designer or writer? Look into South American marketing agencies that are hiring. These jobs are also typically remote, making it easy to continue traveling.

It’s also worthwhile to research South American recruitment agencies and websites that help foreigners find work. These businesses find open roles, offer career advice, and provide interview tips.

Build a Strong Foundation by Working in South America

Traveling in South America is already rewarding—and you can elevate the experience further by exploring work opportunities there, too. Enhance your language skills, build important new relationships, and reduce stress around your finances.

We encourage you to seek volunteer work, find temporary jobs, and build an impressive Spanish resume as a solid working foundation. From here, you might even jump into a full-time career!

About the Author

James Bunes, copywriter, editor, and strategist, combines job search and HR writing experience to produce actionable content on resumes, career advice, and job search tactics.

Featured image by Samantha Salazar on Unsplash

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