Argentina: Community Service and the Great Outdoors

Explore the landscapes of Argentina and engage in community service on a summer abroad program for high school students.

Experience the natural beauty of Argentina through a month of cultural immersion, outdoor activities, and community service. Begin your Experiment in Argentina’s capital, where your group will explore the city’s art galleries, theaters, and boulevards and begin practicing your Spanish. Sail by catamaran to the city’s surrounding islands to learn about the region’s ecology and biosystems.

From Buenos Aires, travel to colonial Salta La Linda, capital of the Salta province, on Argentina’s northern frontier, where you will spend two weeks sharing day-to-day life with an Argentine host family. During this period, work on a community service project, such as volunteering at a center for children with developmental disabilities or helping renovate an orphanage or kindergarten. Participate in Spanish language classes with other members of your group and learn about local gaucho culture. Go white-water rafting or hike to a traditional ranch, where you will learn how to rope cattle. Continue on to the small town of Chicoana, just south of the city of Salta, where you will assist in service activities such as painting or landscaping.

Then, embark on a week of outdoor exploration with your group and leaders. Go horseback riding, camp out on a large ranch, and enjoy traditional barbecue. Travel through the mountains to the city of Cafayate, stopping at famous rock formations. In Cafayate, take a bike tour of the city and hike the beautiful surrounding areas. Return to Buenos Aires for a final day of exploration and reflection.

Note: Participants should bring a horseback riding helmet with them on the program.

Community Service Certificate: At the conclusion of this program, participants will earn a community service certificate noting how many hours of community service they completed.

Orientation: Buenos Aires, 4 days
Homestay: Salta or Jujuy,* 14 days
Other Accommodations: Hotels, campsite, hostels

* Homestay locations can vary.

Days 1–4

Orientation in Buenos AiresExperiment high school students in Argentina

  • Learn about the history and culture of Argentina 
  • Visit sites of interest in the city, including art galleries, theaters, and parks
  • Get to know other members of your group during activities
  • Practice your Spanish language skills
  • Meet with local students
  • Boat to nearby islands

During the orientation period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hotel.

Days 5–19


  • Do activities with your homestay family
  • Take Spanish and folk-dancing lessons
  • Interact with local students
  • Perform community service projects at nonprofit organizations in your homestay town

Thematic Focus

  • Go white-water rafting
  • Explore richly colored foothills and see caves full of pre-Columbian art

During this period, you will stay in the home of a family. Sample host communities: Salta and Posadas

Days 20–23

Community Service in Chicoana

  • Work on service projects such as painting and gardening at a school

During this period, you and your group will stay at a nearby hostel.

Days 24–27

Outdoor Excursion (Thematic Focus)

  • Go trekking on horseback over mountains and sand dunes
  • See famous rock formations near Cafayate and tour the city on bicycle
  • Enjoy traditional barbeque and local cheeses
  • Visit an ancient mountain chapel
  • Spend time on a large working ranch

During this excursion, you and your group will stay in campsites and village guest houses.

Day 28

Program Reflection and Wrap-up in Buenos Aires

  • Reflect with your group on your experiences during the program
  • Visit places of interest

During the reflection period, you and your group will stay in a centrally located hostel.

Day 29


Please note: This itinerary is only a sample and is subject to change. Because of factors such as group size and availability of in-country offerings such as festivals, your experience — including sites visited and the number of days spent in each location — may differ somewhat from the one presented above.

These are leader bios from summer 2014.

Brian Sheffer

Born and raised in Richmond, Massachusetts, Brian began his travels in high school, spending six weeks as an exchange student in Barcelona for language and cultural immersion. In college, Brian spent a semester at the University of Cape Town in South Africa on a community building and outreach program. After completing his BA from Sarah Lawrence College in 2010, Brian then served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Honduras as a health volunteer, working specifically with youth to prevent HIV/AIDS.

Returning stateside, Brian was accepted into SIT Graduate Institute in May 2013, where he recently completed his coursework for a master’s degree in intercultural service, leadership, and management. After spending summer 2014 in Argentina with his Experimenters, Brian hopped across the Atlantic Ocean to Cape Town, South Africa, where he is currently completing his graduate practicum to foster youth empowerment in the townships. Brian enjoys most outdoorsy things as well as dancing with reckless abandon.

Shannon Yarbrough

Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Shannon has traveled to every continent except Antarctica. Most recently, she taught English and leadership skills to Cambodian women in college in Phnom Penh. Shannon has a BA in studio art from Agnes Scott College, and she has studied abroad in Benin, France, and Argentina. She also completed a service project in Ghana. Shannon currently works in Atlanta as an enrollment specialist with Applerouth Tutoring, a test prep company with tutors across the nation. Shannon is a two-time Experiment leader, having taken Experimenters to France in 2012 and Argentina in 2013. When she's not traveling or tutoring, Shannon is hiking with her two younger sisters and her sweet rescue pup, Oliver.

During my homestay in Argentina, I developed many skills, but I am most proud of my new ability to learn foreign games and to speak fluidly in Spanish. With this cultural toolbox, I was not only able to survive in Argentina, but thrive.

Nathaniel Larson, Southwest High School

At first, I was nervous about trekking in Salta—but our group hiked a mountain together. The best part of the day was reaching the top! The views of the city below and neighboring mountains were beautiful. After trekking down the mountain, our group ate lunch at a nearby park. Then we took a tour of La Caldera, played soccer with local children, visited a statue of Jesus, and rode bicycles.

Devin Halbal, Berkeley Carroll School