Great things happen outside your comfort zone - and International Volunteer HQ’s cultural immersion programs are guaranteed to have you stepping outside of your normal routine on an amazing adventure of discovery. 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.
Volunteers on cultural immersion programs are fully supported with an airport pick-up, thorough in-country orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 support on demand. 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.
IVHQ programs are highly rated, responsible and affordable. Here are the best cultural immersion programs for volunteers:
Andean Immersion Project in Peru - Cusco
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. You can expect to live in authentic style homes with basic amenities, where you’ll be served traditional Andean-style meals.
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 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.
Program Fees start from US$320 for one week, with a $75 per week surcharge for additional transportation, supervision and logistical costs.
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. Aydan Mitchell (IVHQ Program Manager)
Sustainable Agriculture Project in Mexico
Are you looking for a home away from home? On the Sustainable 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 cultural sights ready to be explored.
You’ll be immersed in a contemporary Mayan community, with the rare opportunity to experience a very different lifestyle, while putting sustainable farming techniques into practice. Volunteers help local farmers to overcome the challenges of climate change, mixing traditional methods with contemporary practices to enable the long term, sustainable success of farming.
You will be living around two 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.
Program Fees start from US$515 for two weeks, with an additional $65 surcharge for additional training and resources required.
Get ready to ditch the norms of today’s modern society for a cultural immersion experience that takes you right back to basics. Work in a traditional way while taking in the serenity and tranquility of your surroundings. Grace Stevens (IVHQ Program Manager).
Amazigh Immersion Project in Morocco - Marrakech
There is no doubt about it, life in Morocco will be a bit different to home. This is especially so in the picturesque Atlas Mountains, where the Amazigh community is based. These descendants of the indigenous inhabitants of North Africa live traditional lives, full of color, culture and lip-smackingly good food. Add to that the immensely friendly people, and you’ll love every moment of your cultural experience abroad.
Volunteer work centers around helping with traditional agriculture projects and helping to educate and upskill locals in order to improve their daily lives. On this meaningful project, volunteers are able to experience a multitude of placements, including Teaching English, Childcare, Women’s Education and Agriculture. You’ll work alongside locals while living in basic conditions, and providing valuable English language support.
Program Fees start from US$330 for one week.
This project is ideal for both individual volunteers and groups, especially if you’re looking for an experience that will challenge you and push you to step outside your comfort zone. You’ll be introduced to a society that embraces community spirit and engagement, and the mouthwatering cuisine is sure to leave you wanting more once you leave! Claire Chambers (IVHQ Head of Africa and Europe Programs)
Cultural immersion programs give you a unique insight into traditional living. Volunteers can expect to be taken out of your comfort zone, but if you’re prepared to embrace a new way of learning and are open-minded then it promises to be immensely rewarding.
Need help deciding which volunteer program suits you best? Check out How to Choose Your Volunteer Abroad Program or flick an email to one of the IVHQrew - we’d love to help you out!