I was very happy with my time on the Sports Development Programme. My expectations of Rio were surpassed and I had an amazing time seeing the city, meeting people and doing my volunteer work. The coordinator, Felipe, was very helpful and it was a pleasure to stay with him and his family. The local people who helped with the programmes were really kind, patient and fun to work with.
I would advise future participants to try and learn as much Portuguese as possible before coming to Rio to give you a head start on being able to communicate with the locals. Don’t assume that they may speak some English, because many of the locals don’t and it will go a long way to show you have made the effort to learn their language. However, you will have lessons from a great teacher who is really patient and friendly. She will help you a lot with whatever level of Portuguese you are currently at and help you improve quickly. I learned a lot from her and really grateful for her time.
The best time to go to Rio to do volunteer work is during carnival. You will have to pay a little bit more, but it is defiantly worth it! The Blocos, parade and weather is amazing! You will have a great time partying and seeing the parade, while helping out with whatever project you choose to do.
My favourite memories are the smiles on people’s faces when I bought football equipment and stationary with money raised by friends and work colleagues. I was able to raise £530 in two weeks and would highly recommend raising some money through a donation website, so you can go the extra mile with supporting the locals.
After retuning to London, I now take regular Portuguese classes and use online website to learn as much as possible for when I return – you will want to return… believe me!!!
Find out more about volunteering in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil