Great things happen outside your comfort zone - and IVHQ’s cultural immersion volunteer projects are guaranteed to have you stepping outside of your normal. You will be rewarded with a truly unique experience where you’ll be living and breathing everything local! You’ll become part of the fold in no time and the remarkable ways these communities live will stay with you for life. No doubt you will experience a severe case of reverse culture shock once you arrive home and will be counting down the days until you can return to your newfound family.
While you will be packing your bags and heading off to experience a real cultural immersion program, as an IVHQer, you will also be fully supported with an airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support. Before leaving home, you’ll have the ongoing support of a dedicated IVHQ Program Manager to help with everything from organizing your visa, assisting with your flights, and yes, even talking to your parents.
To learn more about the volunteer cultural immersion opportunities available, browse the programs featured below.
Picture a quaint village with the Andes Mountains as the backdrop - that’s what you will experience as a volunteer living and working alongside an indigenous family, about 90 minutes outside of central Cusco city. Come prepared to enjoy a slower pace of life, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. Volunteer hosts are typically bilingual, speaking Spanish and Quechua, so participants on this cultural exchange should come with at least some basic Spanish language skills, and of course a big smile. Working hours vary, depending on community needs, harvest seasons, family life and weather conditions. However, there is always something to be done - whether it is helping to feed the animals, assisting with crops or gardening, learning weaving and cooking techniques, or perhaps constructing and maintaining the adobe homes. For long-term volunteers, it’s common to return to central Cusco over the weekends to enjoy urban attractions, schedule tourism activities or leisurely sight-seeing.
This project will especially appeal to anyone with an interest in sustainable farming, working with crops, livestock, or gardening. However, if you’re simply passionate for some fresh air and are happy to go with the flow, then it doesn’t get much better than this. Dallas Boyd (IVHQ Program Manager)
Are you looking for a home away from home? On the Mayan Agriculture project in Mexico you will be working with local families, enjoying their companionship, delicious fresh organic food and have a backyard full of incredible ancient sights ready to be explored. Volunteers will find themselves immersed within a contemporary Mayan community and will have a rare opportunity to experience a very different lifestyle, while putting sustainable farming techniques into practice. You will be living around 2 hours from Merida so prepare for rural Mexican life - tents, hammocks, thatched huts and all. In your free time explore the many Mayan ruins, swim in the limestone cenotes or relax in your hammock eating fresh papayas that you’ve plucked straight from the tree.
If you are ready to ditch the norms of today’s modern society and instead get back to basics while taking in the serenity and tranquility of your surroundings, then this project is for you. Hannah Hill-Parker (IVHQ Program Manager).
There is no doubt about it, life in Morocco will be a bit different to home, but this mesmerizing world full of color, culture, lip-smackingly good food and friendly people will mean that you’ll love every moment of your experience abroad. The Amazigh/Berber Immersion project is available on our Marrakech volunteer program, and allows volunteers the unique opportunity to fully immerse themselves within an Amazigh/Berber village located in the historic and picturesque Atlas Mountains. On this meaningful project, volunteers are able to experience working on a multitude of placements, including Teaching English, Childcare, Women’s Education, and Agriculture. Volunteers work alongside descendants of the indigenous, pre-Arab inhabitants of North Africa, living in basic conditions, while providing the villagers with new skills and English language support. Volunteers on the Marrakech program are also able to select Agriculture as their sole project, as this placement is also located within an Amazigh/Berber village in the Atlas Mountains.
This project is ideal for both individual volunteers and groups, especially if you’re looking for an experience that will undoubtedly challenge you and push you to step outside your comfort zone, while introducing you to a society that embraces community spirit and engagement, and mouthwatering cuisine that is sure to leave you wanting more once you leave! Kaila Lemaitre (Morocco Program Manager)