ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
Volunteers in Mexico are accommodated in a volunteer house, nestled in a quiet neighbourhood of Mérida. The volunteer house provides dormitory-style lodging, WiFi, and access to the yard and swimming pool. Volunteers can expect to share a room with several other volunteers. Bedding is provided, however it is recommended that volunteers bring their own sleeping bag for weekends away, along with a towel and toiletries. Rooms have fans, but not air conditioning (if volunteers wish to have air conditioning, accommodation upgrades are available). Living is basic, yet comfortable and the volunteer house has electricity and running water.
There is an accommodation upgrade available for volunteers wishing to have more privacy or to experience a Mexican homestay. This costs an extra US$70 per week and homestays with air-conditioned bedrooms cost an extra US$110 per week. Please note, host families only speak Spanish.
Volunteers in Mexico are served three meals per day (breakfast, lunch and dinner), with a combination of Mexican and Western food. Tap water is not safe to drink in Mexico, however bottled water is readily available and you should budget approximately US$5 per week for this. If you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know when you apply for the program so we can make arrangements for you.
Orientation will begin on the first morning of your volunteer program. Orientation will be conducted by our team in Mexico and will cover everything you need to know for your program in Mexico – Introduction to Mexico, Mexican Customs, Language Training Details, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Mexico, Introduction to your Project and Placement. The orientation will also give you a chance to meet other volunteers and swap contact details for weekend travel and socializing. Once orientation is complete, volunteers will be transported to their placement and introduced to all relevant parties and placement staff.
Spanish language courses are available for all volunteers at all levels. IVHQ strongly recommends these courses for all volunteers, unless they are fluent. If you have a basic level of Spanish and and are staying for a period of longer than 2 weeks, you should strongly consider these courses, as they will allow you to work and communicate with all parties more efficiently during your stay. Language courses are mandatory for volunteers who join the Teaching English project and do not have at least a basic level of Spanish skills. These language courses are organised on your arrival in Mexico during your program orientation. The language course will be tailored to suit your current level of Spanish. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers. Each class runs for 3 hours per day in the morning or afternoon, Monday to Friday.
1 week US$225 per person
2 weeks US$365 per person
3 weeks US$505 per person
Each additional week after 3 weeks: + US$150
First Day: On your first day of volunteering, you will be escorted to your placement by a local coordinator and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.
Weekdays: A typical volunteer day would be as follows:
7.30 AM Breakfast at the volunteer house or homestay.
8.00 AM Volunteers leave home and travel to their placements. Work and hours are dependent on the project and placement that each volunteer is working at.
2.00 PM Lunch at the volunteer house or homestay. Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home, take Spanish lessons, prepare for the next day or do some shopping and sightseeing.
7.30 PM Dinner at the volunteer house or homestay.
*Please note, some placements do not begin until 2.00 PM and in this case, volunteers usually have their Spanish lessons in the morning.
During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Mérida and the state of Yucatán. Day trips can be arranged so volunteers can explore popular sites in the area, such as Chichén Itzá – the most famous of the Yucatán’s Mayan ruin sites and one of Mexico’s most visited tourist destinations, the impressive Uxmal Mayan ruin site and the historial town of Izamal.