An interview with Cristina Acuña, Director of Connecting Worlds, to find out why the Working Holiday Programoffered at Connecting Worlds are the best choice for someone looking for a fulfilling, inter-cultural experience in Argentina.
Cristina Acuña, Director of Connecting Worlds, was kind enough to participate in a comprehensive interview about the Working Holidays Program offered by the company across many fascinating locations in Argentina.
In this short post, Tracey Chandler, freelance writer and regular contributor to the Connecting Worlds blog, highlights the most interesting snippets of information from the interview and the many reasons why Connecting Worlds is the inter-cultural exchange organization best equipped at finding the kind of working holiday in Argentina you have been dreaming of.
Tracey Chandler: In your opinion, Cristina, what makes the working holidays organized at Connecting Worlds better than those offered by other cultural exchange companies?
Cristina Acuña: Connecting Worlds was one of the first inter-cultural consultancies to be developed in Argentina and with over 5 years experience in the field we know that what we offer is knowledge and excellence.
Everyone on our team has had experience of living in a foreign country and can speak more than one language. Having lived the life of a foreigner, it is our company’s mission to take care of our guests. We want to make sure that they experience a full immersion experience in Argentina without having to pay extra for the pleasure simply because they are foreign.
Tracey Chandler: Is this kind of behavior a real concern for foreigners on cultural programs?
Cristina Acuña: Unfortunately, there are a number of exchange companies in operation who take advantage and charge more for their services than is necessary. Our packages include the basics offered by most cultural exchange companies (including a cell phone chip, discount vouchers, group dinners in certain locations, a welcome meeting and a pre-departure orientation onto the program). However, the programs that we offer at Connecting Worlds can be adjusted to match many kinds of budgets. This is the real difference we make.
Tracey Chandler: And are the opportunities only available in Buenos Aires?
Cristina Acuña: No! This is another wonderful quality about the service that we provide. Connecting Worlds is one of the few organizations that can organize working holidays outside of Buenos Aires. Some of the most beautiful locations included in our varied program are Bolsón, Bariloche, Mar del Plata, Laguna la Brava and Mendoza, just to name a few.
Tracey Chandler: And how do the communities across the country benefit from the working holidays you and your team offer?
Cristina Acuña: Connecting Worlds believes very strongly in responsible tourism and fair trade. All our programs make connections with local businesses and local organizations which means that the tourism we generate helps to financially sustain local communities in Argentina. The working holiday guests that we receive directly contribute to the income of many local communities and their families.
Tracey Chandler: Are there restrictions of any kind on who can participate?
Cristina Acuña: No. Everyone is welcome. Everyone. In general, our programs tends to attract people from the US, Oceana and Europe, between the ages of 21 and 35. Many people from this group choose to take a gap year out before continued study, or a sabbatical year from work commitment.
However, this should not influence in the slightest. All interested parties are welcome to contact our team at any time. All you need is the ability to be flexible and a willingness to adjust to new environments. With these qualities in tow, anyone can benefit from being on one of our working holiday programs.
These programs are working holidays organized under the banner of voluntary work experience and you do not need to take out a working visa of any kind to participate. Food and lodging are offered in exchange for work. Most programs last between 2 – 6 months.
Tracey Chandler: What kind of working holidays do you offer in Argentina?
Cristina Acuña: In general, the working holidays that we organize cover programs on tourist ranches, hotels, hostels and other kinds of tourist establishments. Participants contribute to the daily management of the places in which they are placed. Duties include reception work, attending the needs of guests, Marketing, working on the land, helping out on organized excursions, taking reservations and teaching English.
Most tasks do not require previous experience, which is why our programs are so popular with people looking to try something new and to find a refreshing perspective on life for a while.
We are in constant development of the programs that we offer and as such we hope to be able to add a working holiday in online journalism to our list of opportunities within the coming weeks.
Tracey Chandler: Do working holiday participants end up falling in love with Argentina and staying for longer than they had at first believed they would?
Cristina Acuña: All the time! Many people who visit Argentina via one of our working holiday programs fall in love with our country because they are able to spend a significant amount of time immersed deep within our culture and customs. Argentines are loveable creatures!
Tracey Chandler: Does a particular moment or working holidays’ participant spring to mind?
Cristina Acuña: Actually, now that you come to mention it, yes. Annelise was a 24 year old from New Zealand who came to Argentina last July on a one-month Spanish program with our partner language school, VOS, in Buenos Aires. After completing the month-long Spanish course, she decided to spend three intensive months living and working on a typical Argentina ranch in San Antonio de Areco.
Under the care of our team and the team at the ranch she learned the life of the Argentine gaucho first-hand. She made some great friends and is still in touch with all of them. In a few years, it is her idea to return to Argentina to live.
Tracey Chandler: What is not included in the price of the working holiday package that you offer?
Cristina Acuña: Flights, any necessary visas, local transportation or journeys made during your stay, personal expenses and the transfer from the airport to the accommodation site are not included in the working holiday packages that we offer.
International accident coverage is also something that we cannot provide and something that we demand as a prerequisite from all participants who wish to take part in one of our programs. Medical bills, should something happen, can be expensive, but more importantly it is essential that we know you are safe and well-prepared for all eventualities.
Full international accident coverage is the type of cover that we recommend. We can provide more information and detail on the same at any time.
Tracey Chandler: What happens if something goes wrong or if a working holidays’ participant is really unhappy with the experience upon arrival?
Cristina Acuña: I am pleased to report that we are exceptionally thorough in our selection of places that provide the working holidays as part of our programs. However, we are also prepared for all eventualities.
If something goes wrong on location, if there is a personal problem that needs to be resolved, or if a participant believes that he or she is being treated badly in any way, we require that they contact us within 72 hours of experiencing the problem.
In some cases, it might be possible to organizer a simple transfer from one working holiday placement to another, but this cannot be promised. All situations must be dealt with on a one-to-one basis.
What is important is that we have coordinators and partners who are based in all the main cities in Argentina and they will always be available to attend to the needs and concerns of our participants, whatever they might be.
In the Welcome Pack, participants are given two emergency numbers that they can call and we welcome face-to-face visits in both our Buenos Aires and Mar del Plata offices at any time.
If you are thinking about organizing a working holiday in Argentina, contact Cristina Acuña and the specialist team at Connecting Worlds for more information about the wide variety of work placements on offer.
If you are looking for Immersion programs or Responsible Tours in Argentina, visit our official website
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