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Spanish Service Learning Course in Antigua - Guatemala

This is a supplementary volunteer project that presents a golden opportunity to volunteer and earn course credit at the same time. By completing a series of reflection exercises outside your normal volunteer hours, the Spanish Service Learning Course fosters a sense of civic responsibility and community, encourages you to reflect on culture and language, and helps you to to broaden your global perspective and identity.

The course is accredited by California State University, San Marcos, and offers credit towards your qualification. It involves five guided reflections, daily journal entries and a final reflection paper. It also includes optional language lessons that help to add to your cultural appreciation. This is all done outside your hours volunteering on your chosen project.

Spanish Service Learning in Guatemala with IVHQ

The Spanish Service Learning Course (SPAN203SL) is conducted mostly in Spanish, including on your volunteer project. The workshops and written assignments are conducted in English.

​​The course fee is $880 and​​ ​​​is paid directly to IVHQ’s ​local​ ​​team​ ​​to​ ​cover all aspects of the course and accreditation. This course fee is​ ​​in ​addition​ ​to the IVHQ Registration Fee and the Program Fee which​ ​​volunteers pay to cover the volunteer section of the course requirements. Volunteers can join the Spanish Service Learning Course any time of year and​ ​it​​ ​requires a minimum duration of four weeks. Attendance for the whole duration is mandatory.

When applying online, please apply for the Spanish Service Learning Course project and indicate your volunteer​ ​​work preference in the ‘Comments’ section of your application.

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Project Highlights
What you need to know
  • Affordable set fee of $880 for 4 weeks
  • Earn course credit by completing additional tasks

  • Complete guided reflections and a daily journal

  • Take part in a volunteer project and complete tasks in your own time

  • Minimum duration of 4 weeks

Destination Highlights
Guatemala at a glance
  • Based in the city of Antigua, 30 minutes from Guatemala City

  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, breakfast and dinner each day and 24/7 in-country support

  • Accommodation in a volunteer house or local homestay

  • Between 30 and 70 volunteers start in Guatemala each month

The IVHQ Guatemala volunteer program has volunteer placements located in the colonial city of Antigua and in the surrounding towns and villages. Antigua is located approximately 30 minutes out of Guatemala City. Turtle Conservation volunteers are based in a coastal town on the Pacific Coast, and Eco-Agriculture Conservation volunteers are based in the Guatemala Highlands, just 30 minutes from Antigua.

Guatemala Volunteer Project Locations:

  • Childcare (Antigua)
  • Medical (Antigua)
  • Teaching English (Antigua)
  • Beach & Turtle Conservation (Pacific Coast)
  • Construction and Rennovation (Antigua)
  • Eco-Agriculture Conservation (30 minutes from Antigua)
  • Mayan Cultural Immersion (Rural Antigua)
  • Animal Care (Antigua)
  • Working with Elderly (Antigua)
  • Special Needs Care (Antigua)
  • Spanish Service Learning (Antigua)
  • Holiday Experience (Antigua)

Guatemala Volunteer programs begin every Monday. Volunteers can choose to volunteer for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks.

The program orientation begins every Monday and volunteers need to arrive in Guatemala City on the day before orientation.

After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at the La Aurora International Airport (GUA) in Guatemala City. Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee. We recommend that volunteers under the age of 18 travel internationally with a notarized letter from their parents to support their documentation.

When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation in Antigua. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the night before your program orientation.

If you are traveling in Guatemala prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up in Antigua on the day before your program orientation.

Orientation is hosted by our local team at their office in Antigua. Orientation begins on Monday morning and covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Guatemala – Introduction to Guatemala, Guatemalan Customs, Language Training Details, Rules and Expectations, Safety, Travel Opportunities in Guatemala, 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 your orientation is complete, you will be transported to your home-stay or volunteer house and introduced to the relevant hosts. Volunteers on the Turtle Conservation project will be transported to their conservation site on the first Monday of their program.

Volunteers in the Turtle Conservation Project will be transported to their conservation site on the first Monday of their program.

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: Volunteers will have a morning or afternoon shift, which will last around 2 to 4 hours. A typical afternoon schedule is as follows:

12.00 PM - Lunch at a local restaurant

1.00 PM - Volunteer leaves home and travels to the project. The volunteer joins with the local staff. You will be given a duty roster and a plan for your work. Work and hours is dependent on the project and location that the volunteer is participating on.

4.00 PM - Work at the placement usually ends. Volunteers are free to travel home, go sight seeing or do some shopping.

7.00 PM - Dinner with the host family.

Please note, this schedule can vary as projects take place in either the morning, afternoon or evening. If a volunteer is taking Spanish language lessons, he/she will usually volunteer for half the day and spend the other half (3 to 4) hours taking Spanish language lessons.

Volunteers are accommodated alongside other volunteers in either a homestay with a local family or a dormitory-style volunteer house. Living is comfortable in both the volunteer house and home-stays and all accommodation has electricity, running water and western bathrooms. Low pressure showers should be expected and the water is not always heated. Bedrooms are comprised of single beds and bunk beds with bedding provided. You can expect to share a room with two to six other volunteers of the same gender, but in some home-stays volunteers will have their own rooms.

The volunteer house does not have WiFi, however it is available in some of the home-stays. You will also have access to computers and WiFi at the local team’s office in Antigua.

Volunteers are provided breakfast and dinner at their accommodation. Breakfast typically consists of bread or tortillas, spreads, fruit and eggs accompanied with tea or coffee. Dinner commonly consists of meat, beans, starches and vegetables. Lunches are not provided to Antigua-based volunteers as they are typically away from their accommodation mid-day. We recommend budgeting between $3 and $5 per day to purchase lunch at local restaurants recommended by the local staff. When you apply for the program, please be sure to notify us of any special dietary requirements so we can make arrangements for you. Tap water in Guatemala is not potable and drinking water is not provided for you in your accommodation, however bottled water is easy to purchase and inexpensive throughout Guatemala. Tap water can be used for showers and brushing your teeth.

“I certainly felt I was making a difference and helping the nurses and doctors out with such a large patient load in one clinic and with an understaffed problem in the other. My favorite moment was after washing a little girl’s feet and hands as a part of the healthy kids program at the clinic, she jumped up gave me a huge hug and said she loved me. It was very touching. It was an excellent learning experience and very rewarding.” - Leah Pagnozzi (Medical Volunteer in Guatemala)

Read more reviews from IVHQ volunteers in Guatemala here

​​The course fee is $880 and​​ ​​​is paid directly to IVHQ’s ​local​ ​​team​ ​​to​ ​cover all aspects of the course and accreditation. This course fee is​ ​​in ​addition​ ​to the IVHQ Registration Fee and the Program Fee which​ ​​volunteers pay to cover the volunteer section of the course requirements. Volunteers can join the Spanish Service Learning Course any time of year and​ ​it​​ ​requires a minimum duration of four weeks. Attendance for the whole duration is mandatory.

During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Antigua and other areas in Guatemala. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to destinations, such as Tikal, Belize, Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras. Sunday is a religious day of rest and most places (stores, restaurants) are closed on Sundays, as most Guatemalans devote the day to spending time with their family. If you wish, you can accompany your host family to their local church, as a Latin American church service is unique and special experience for many volunteers.

See our Guatemala Travel and Tours page for more volunteer travel options in Guatemala!

Capital Guatemala City
Population 15.08 million
Languages Spanish
Currency Guatemalan Quetzal (GTQ)
Time zone UTC−06:00

Weather and climate: Guatemala has a range of micro climates and the high altitude of Guatemala City results in a subtropical highland climate (Köppen Cwb) in this region. There aren’t distinct seasons in Guatemala and the temperature is typically mild year round. Temperatures range from 22°C to 28°C (72°F to 82°F) during the day, and 12°C to 17°C (54°F to 63°F) at night. The country attracts winds and rain during the months of May to October with the hottest month being April.

Volunteers who are under 18 years old will be required to provide IVHQ with parental consent and two character reference letters in order to participate on the program, and may be asked to provide additional documentation to the local team. All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance and provide a criminal background check to IVHQ once registered for the program.

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Guatemala volunteer program, however on certain projects, such as Teaching English and Medical, volunteer work will be restricted with limited Spanish language ability. We recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our local partner in Guatemala. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons helped immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking Spanish lessons can arrange these directly with the local staff once in Guatemala.

Free Interactive Volunteer Training - All volunteers are encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training, which is available exclusively to registered IVHQ volunteers. The training is designed to build an understanding of important aspects that need to be considered before embarking on an IVHQ program. It helps volunteers to prepare in the right way by providing advice on what it takes to be a safe, responsible and valuable volunteer. Try a sample of the training here.

Volunteer Language Lessons

Fluency in Spanish is not a prerequisite for the IVHQ Guatemala program, however on certain projects, such as Teaching and Healthcare, volunteer work will be restricted with limited language ability. We recommend that volunteers take advantage of the very affordable language lessons offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers by our partner staff in Guatemala. Past volunteers feel that taking these lessons help immensely with day-to-day volunteer work and communicating with local people. Volunteers interested in taking Spanish lessons can arrange these directly with the local staff once in Guatemala at the program orientation. The language lessons are tailored to each volunteer’s current level of Spanish and classes run from Monday through to Friday. The cost is very affordable and offered exclusively to IVHQ volunteers.

  • 1-Hour Private Classes: $60 per week
  • 2-Hour Private Classes: $120 per week
  • 2-Hour Small Group Classes: $55 per week
  • 4-Hour Group Classes: $95 per week

Volunteer Extra Activities - Surf in El Salvador

If you would like to compliment your volunteer experience in Guatemala with a 5-day/4-night trip to the coast of El Salvador for an incredible surf school experience, you can arrange this directly with our local staff once you arrive in Antigua! After spending the weekend in Antigua, you will head to El Salvador on Monday morning and arrive in time for your first one-on-one surf lesson. While staying at a local boutique hotel complete with a pool, hammocks and ocean views, you will enjoy three meals and 2 hours of personal surf instruction per day. Spend your free time on the beach, body boarding, enjoying the hotel facilities or exploring nearby caves. The local beaches have great nightlife with music and dancing! The cost is $690 and includes the following:

Transport to and from the beach in El Salvador
9 hours of one-on-one surf instruction
4 nights at a hotel
13 meals at the hotel dining facility (vegetarian options available)
3 additional nights with your host family in Antigua

Volunteer Extra Activities - Mini Adventure in Guatemala

Be sure to see all the must-see sites in Guatemala while you are in-country - the Mini Adventure combines the major hot spots in Guatemala into a one-week excursion that can be added at the beginning or end of your volunteer program. You will be accompanied by a certified, bilingual tour guide for each trip, using Antigua as your home base between tours. The 6-day program compliments your volunteer experience, without the stress of trip planning! If you would like to add a Mini Adventure to your trip, you can arrange this directly with our local staff once you are in Antigua. The cost is $1095 and includes the following:

Pacaya Volcano hike
3 days/2 nights on the beach in El Salvador (surf lessons included)
2 days/1 night in Tikal (return airfare to Tikal included)
Zip-line tour

How to get started

Pick a destination + project and apply for free
Meet your personal volunteer travel expert
Pay the registration fee to secure your place and upgrade your MyIVHQ account
Get ready to volunteer abroad, we’ll support you every step of the way!