Volunteer in Mexico with International Volunteer HQ today. IVHQ’s local staff in Mexico require volunteers NOW! IVHQ Mexico has a wide range of volunteering projects, including Teaching English, Working with Children, Special Needs, Environmental Research and Animal Care/Animal Rights.
LOCATION OF MEXICO VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
IVHQ has volunteer placements located in Merida, the capital in the state of Yucatan on Mexico's Caribbean coast. This town is extremely popular with volunteers and tourists alike and has a lot of volunteer work available.
START AND DURATION OF MEXICO VOLUNTEER PROGRAM
Volunteers begin the IVHQ Mexico program on the first and third Monday of each month. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 6 months.
MEXICO VOLUNTEER REQUIREMENTS
Volunteers must be 18 years or older on the program start date and have at least a high school education. All volunteers must provide a criminal background check to IVHQ partner staff on arrival in Mexico.
Spanish is not a prerequisite, however on the Teaching English project, a basic level of Spanish is preferable. IVHQ highly recommends volunteers take advantage of the affordable Spanish lessons offered by the local team in Merida, in order to enhance your contribution to the program and your experience in country.
SAFETY IN MEXICO
In the past decade, Mexico’s reputation as a safe and secure country to visit has suffered. Despite all the bad news you hear about drug-related violence in the media, for the most part, Mexico is still a safe and welcoming destination. The Government’s so-called war on drugs, initiated in 2007, is mainly fought in the border states of Nuevo León, Chihuahua, Tamaulipas and the Pacific coast states of Sinaloa, Michoacán, and Guerrero. The confrontations are usually between members of rival cartels or between the Mexican army/police and the cartels. There is no denying that the whole of Mexico has been affected by this, however there has also been an increased emphasis on civilian safety. This is why you will now notice a more visible army presence in Merida and police randomly patrolling the streets and stopping traffic. Given the importance of tourism to the country’s economy, it is of prime importance to Mexico to keep foreign visitors safe as well.
Despite the bad press Mexico has attracted in recent years, Merida and other towns in the state of Yucatan are considered safe for both locals and foreign travelers. Every year, thousands of tourists, students and volunteers flock to the Yucatan for their vacations. During orientation, our local staff will cover safety and security in Mexico and always reinforce certain common-sense street-wise rules to ensure you have an enjoyable and safe stay in Mexico. You have 24/7 access to local our staff to address any of your needs and we genuinely believe that volunteers’ stay in Mexico will be a wonderful and rewarding experience. Prior to departure, IVHQ staff in New Zealand and local staff in Merida will be there to answer any queries or concerns you have via phone and email. Once you arrive in Mexico, the local team will be there to look after you. To read more about safety in Mexico and to understand how safe the Yucatan is in relation to the rest of Mexico and even to the United States, we encourage you to visit the How Safe is Mexico website.
HOW MANY OTHER VOLUNTEERS WILL THERE BE?
Last year, over 100 volunteers were placed on our Mexico program, making us one of the most popular volunteer organizations in Mexico! Between 5 and 20 volunteers start on Mexico program each month. What does this mean for you? More people to socialize with and travel with, more people to meet from different cultures, more people to volunteer with, more projects to work on, more staff support, better infrastructure for volunteers and lower fees!
MEXICO VOLUNTEER TESTIMONIALS
"We felt needed, appreciated and wanted. The kids cried on our last day so I know we made a difference in their lives, both emotionally and educationally." - Mariam Margsi (Teaching)
MEXICO VOLUNTEER PROJECT DESCRIPTIONS
WORKING WITH CHILDREN
ANIMAL CARE/ANIMAL RIGHTS
MEXICO PROGRAM COSTS
One of the strengths of IVHQ is our extremely affordable fees. Click here to see the program cost to volunteer in Mexico and what you receive in exchange for your fees.
ACCOMMODATION AND MEALS
Volunteers are accommodated in a volunteer house alongside other volunteers. Living is basic, yet comfortable and the volunteer house has electricity and running water. Volunteers can expect to share a room with several other volunteers. The volunteer house is nestled in a quiet neighbourhood in Merida and provides dormitory style lodging, Wi-Fi, access to the yard and swimming pool. Rooms have fans but not air conditioning (if volunteers wish to have air conditioning, they have the option to upgrade their accommodation. For volunteers wishing to have more privacy or a Mexican family experience, they can upgrade their accommodation to a homestay for an extra US$70 per week (please note, families speak Spanish only). Homestays with air conditioned bedrooms are available at an extra US$110 per week.
All volunteers will be provided with breakfast, lunch, and supper (usually a light dinner), Monday to Sunday. Lunch is the main meal of the day in Mexico and is served around 2pm. Local Mexican and Western food will be served and if you have any special dietary requirements, please let us know ahead of time so that we can make arrangements for you. However, we need to stress the point that you should not expect to eat as you normally do at home. We will do our best to see that you are well taken care of, but also as a volunteer, there is a need to be flexible. Mexican cuisine is one of the best in Central America and is renowned for its varied flavors, colorful decoration, and variety of spices and ingredients, many of which are native to Mexico. Staples are typically corn, beans and rice. Corn is used to make masa, the dough for tamales, tortillas and gorditas. It is also eaten fresh, as corn on the cob and in a number of dishes. Squash, peppers, garlic and onions are also prominent in Mexican food. Chilli powder, oregano, cilantro, epazote, cinnamon, and cocoa are the most frequently used herbs and spices and chipotle, a smoke-dried jalapeno chilli, is also common in Mexican cuisine. If volunteers wish to eat out, there are many restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets.
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$150
First Day: On the first day of the volunteering project, volunteers will be escorted to the placement and introduced to the placement staff you will be working with.
Weekdays: While our programs are flexible and can be fitted to your requirements, a typical day (project in the morning) is as follows.
- 7.30am Breakfast at the volunteer house or homestay.
- 8.00am Volunteer leaves home and takes a taxi, catches a bus or walks to the placement.
- 8.30am Volunteer joins the placement staff and is given instructions for the day's work. At lunchtime, your workday will end (usually around 2.00pm). Work and hours are dependent on the project and the location that the volunteers are participating in (for example, you might not be expected at work until 3.00pm and leave at 7.00pm).
- 2.00pm Lunch at the volunteer house or homestay (main meal of the day). After lunch, volunteers are free to take Spanish lessons, visit local sites, or do some shopping.
- 7.00pm Supper at the volunteer house or homestay.
Weekends: Over the weekend, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore Merida and the state of Yucatan. Day or afternoon trips can also be arranged so that volunteers can experience the many wonderful attractions and activities that Merida and the Yucatan have to offer.
MEXICO VOLUNTEER FEES
|Volunteer Period||Program Fee US$|
|1 Month (4 weeks)||700|
|2 Months (8 weeks)||1100|
|3 Months (12 weeks)||1500|
|4 Months (16 weeks)||1900|
|5 Months (20 weeks)||2300|
|6 Months (24 weeks)||2700|
To convert these prices to your local currency click here.
What do my fees pay for?
Registration Fee (Refundable if you choose not to go*) – 24/7 support from IVHQ staff, program marketing costs, information pack, administration costs, travel costs to inspect programs, IVHQ Fund and communication costs with volunteers.
Program Fee – Airport pick up (Merida Airport), orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.
What additional costs will I have?
Visa, flights, travel insurance, vaccinations, Spanish lessons, souvenirs, trips or tours you do while in the country, transfer back to the airport from program, transport to placements, spending money (volunteers in Mexico generally find US$25 to be sufficient for basic weekly expenses).
* Terms and conditions do applu