Whether you are a gap year student, a recently graduated young person or a professional looking to expand your horizons and learn new skills and information, volunteering in Central or South America is a great place to do so. I would personally suggest that you have a look at the schemes that are available in Costa Rica as this exceptionally lush and beautiful island offers a range of activities focused on your and the community’s development. It has an atmosphere reminiscent of Switzerland due to the fact that Costa Rica has had no military since it was disbanded and outlawed following the civil war in 1948. The people are consequently exceptionally friendly and relaxed. There is also incredible biodiversity due to the fact that 25 per cent of the country is protected national park due to the rainforest that covers much of Costa Rica. The nation contains 6 per cent of the world’s species so if you want to study sustainability then it is certainly a great idea to volunteer in Costa Rica. Another great country to volunteer in is Guatemala where you can do anything from teach English to study animal husbandry. Most of the schemes that are available don’t include travel but once you are there they will put you up with a host family, which is a great way to be ingratiated into the local community. You can also get involved with agricultural co-operatives and municipal development projects depending on what skills you already have and what skills you want to develop – you can also get involved with health schemes and there are options for additional Spanish lessons during your stay. If you are thinking that you might volunteer in Guatemala, have a look online at the available schemes because you can find just about all of the information that you will need on the various organisations’ websites.