The first bit of advice is be flexible. Not all things will be as you expect it to be but the experience can be great if you go with few expectations. I was a little nervous because I do not speak the language, but working with the kids taught me the basics of what I need to know to be able to perform my tasks.
Youth Support Volunteer Project in Puerto Rico - San Juan
Eager to be a Youth Support volunteer in Puerto Rico? International Volunteer HQ’s Youth Support project enables volunteers to assist in community centres, daycare centres and after school programs. Volunteers gain youth work experience by providing personalised attention, mentoring and educational support to young people and opening their minds to new cultures and possibilities.
- Programs start every Monday
- Affordable fees from £518 for 1 week
- Includes accommodation, airport pick up, orientation and 24/7 support
Mentor young people by helping with education, playing games and setting a positive example
Visit one of Puerto Rico’s breathtaking bioluminescent bays
Stay in a modern hostel in a lively, vibrant area of San Juan
This program is ideal for:
What to expect and how you'll make an impact
The future of Puerto Rico lies in the hands of its young people - and youth-focused initiatives are doing great work across the island to build and harness the potential of the country’s next generation. Despite being under-resourced, they cater to a large number of young people each day, so rely heavily on the support of volunteers.
As a Youth Support volunteer, you’ll be helping these initiatives to provide a variety of opportunities for children and young people, enabling them to thrive. The Youth Support project in Puerto Rico takes place in community centres and after-school programs. Volunteer work is led by local placement staff and your tasks each day will vary depending on your specific placement, but often include:
- Providing personalized attention to young people
- Educational support with homework
- Tutoring young people
- Assistance with running games and sports
- Workshop activities such as yoga or music
- General daily operations
- Cooking and cleaning
Why do Youth Support volunteering in San Juan with IVHQ?
When you volunteer with young people in Puerto Rico you’ll be adding value to the local community, while also developing personally and professionally by:
- Providing extracurricular opportunities for young people
- Helping students develop life skills in a safe place
- Developing your communication skills
- Gaining youth work experience
- Immersing yourself in Puerto Rican culture
- Exploring Puerto Rico’s stunning beaches
- Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to participate in this program
- This program requires all volunteers to be over the age of 14, even when accompanied by a parent or guardian
- All volunteers aged 14+ are required to provide a criminal background check to IVHQ prior to departure. Those aged 14-17, if unable to obtain a criminal background check, can provide two character reference letters instead
- All volunteers are required to have adequate volunteer travel insurance
- All volunteers must speak fluent English.
Puerto Rico photo gallery
What recent volunteers said about their IVHQ experience
Working with the children in Puerto Rico was amazing! This was an absolutely wonderful week and I'm very glad I got to experience it and make a difference. It's worth your time and you will not regret your decision. The other volunteers are friendly and everyone wants to work together.
It was so important for me to be able to connect with the children and to learn about the culture of Puerto Rico from the locals. If I would have decided to travel to Puerto Rico without volunteering with IVHQ, I would have missed out on the experiences with the local children and adults. It is a beautiful thing to be able to experience life as a local would in order to understand what is important to each individual and the society based on individual and cultural values. At least from my experience, I was greeted by wonderful volunteers as soon as I got to my destination. With the support of the other volunteers, I never felt alone or like I was incapable of doing everything I wanted to do during the experience. This is the perfect opportunity to get out of the culture you are used to and go explore a new one with locals proudly sharing their culture with you. If you want to grow as an independent person, volunteer abroad.
The project made me realize how accepting and friendly other cultures can be and also gave me a greater appreciation for other cultures. It is an opportunity to grow as a person and perhaps get rid of implicit bias's you may have and make you a more well-rounded person.
Do not hesitate and take this opportunity to grow and explore while helping others.
I loved my placement. It's an amazing place in the heart of the projects. It is a great safe haven for the kids. I am so impressed by the facility and program but most importantly the staff and support team. Their dedication, enthusiasm and love for the kids is felt at the heart. I am so glad that me and my daughter got a chance to experience this and give a modest contribution of our time, energy and love.
To read all reviews, visit our reviews page.
Academic course credit
Gain course credit from your college or university and meet your academic requirements when completing a volunteer abroad program with International Volunteer HQ!Learn about course credit
Recommended online TEFL course
We encourage volunteers on IVHQ’s Teaching and Childcare projects to come prepared by completing some relevant training, such as a Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) course. Although formal teaching qualifications are not required on these projects as volunteers are supported by local staff, taking a TEFL course enables you to gain more from the experience. Visit our Online TEFL Course page to learn how to gain an internationally recognized TEFL certification at a discounted rate.Get TEFL certified online
The IVHQ Puerto Rico volunteer program is based in and around the region of the island’s coastal capital of San Juan, renowned for its beautiful beaches and vivid history. Set on the outer edge of the Caribbean, San Juan has long been an important international port and remains so to this day. As a result it is also a hub for industry, finance, culture and tourism.
The city is also home to around 80 percent of Puerto Rico’s population, and took a serious hit when Hurricane Maria ripped through the region in 2017.
While huge recovery efforts have returned much of the city to a habitable state, there are still many people and parts of the region feeling the longer-term effects of the crisis. Volunteers can have a meaningful impact on these communities by choosing to give their time and energy to projects which aim to give people a hand up in the ways they most need it.
Arrival and orientation
The Puerto Rico volunteer program begins every Monday. You need to arrive in San Juan for pickup on the Sunday before your chosen start date.
After you have registered for the program, please book your flights to arrive at Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU). Your airport pick-up is included in your Program Fee if you arrive on the Sunday before your program starts. The pick-up window is from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM so please ensure to arrive during this period.
When you arrive, you will be greeted at the airport by a member of the local team and transported to the volunteer accommodation, which is a 20-minute drive away. Your accommodation is covered by your Program Fee and includes the Sunday night prior to your program orientation.
If you are travelling in Puerto Rico prior to your volunteer program, we can arrange for you to be picked up from a meeting point in San Juan on the Sunday before your program start date. Alternatively, you can choose to make your own way to the volunteer accommodation.
On the first Monday of your program, orientation is hosted by our local team in San Juan and runs for a half day. Orientation covers everything you need to know for your volunteer program in Puerto Rico – introduction to Puerto Rico, Puerto Rican customs, rules and expectations, safety, travel opportunities in Puerto Rico, 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 socialising.
Volunteer schedule example
A volunteer day is subject to change depending on your specific project and your placement. A typical daily schedule might be as follows:
|Volunteer work begins
|Lunch breaks can vary depending on the working schedule, but all volunteers get time to have their own lunch and relax. After lunch you will have free time to explore the area, do some shopping or plan for your next day’s work. If your project calls for it, you may be involved in more afternoon volunteer activities.
|Volunteers have free time to spend as they wish. You’ll definitely want to head out to local restaurants for dinner, though volunteers who prefer to cook for themselves do have access to the hostel kitchen.
During the weekends, volunteers have spare time to relax or explore San Juan and other parts of Puerto Rico.
We recommend taking a walking tour of Old San Juan to absorb its vibrancy and colonial history, taking a trip to the tropical rainforest for hiking and waterfalls or enjoying the white sand beaches and soaking in the turquoise waters of the Caribbean.
It’s a great idea to do your own research before you go to get an idea of what you may want to see and do once you are in Puerto Rico. Volunteers often get together once they’re in the country and organising travel and tours together.
Accommodation and WiFi
You will be accommodated with other volunteers in one of two public hostels in San Juan. The hostels also cater for independent travellers who book rooms from time to time. The hostels are centrally located in San Juan, close to beaches, shops, restaurants and amenities.
You should expect basic dormitory style accommodation. Rooms are mixed gender and you could share a room with up to 16 other volunteers. Bedrooms are comprised of bunk beds with bedding provided but you will need to bring your own towel.
You can also expect to share a communal bathroom with toilets and showers. It is the responsibility of the volunteer to ensure their room and shared bathroom is kept tidy, although there are staff who clean the accommodation throughout the week.
Free WiFi is available at the volunteer accommodation, as well as at many cafes and restaurants in the area. A local SIM card with data can also be used in unlocked phones.
Private room upgrades are also possible for an additional cost, subject to availability. The cost varies according to the season and the upgrade and can be arranged with the local team directly, once you are registered.
Meals are not included in this program, so you will need to arrange your own breakfast, lunch and dinner. The hostel has cooking facilities to prepare meals and there are nearby shops and restaurants to purchase food from.
Due 30 days before you start, or within 48 hours if you register inside of 30 days. Covers the cost of hosting you.
|£518 Equivalent to £74/day
|£788 Equivalent to £56/day
|£1033 Equivalent to £49/day
|£1303 Equivalent to £47/day
|£1571 Equivalent to £45/day
|£1839 Equivalent to £44/day
|£2335 Equivalent to £42/day
|£2790 Equivalent to £40/day
|£3284 Equivalent to £39/day
- 24/7 in-country support
- In-country program orientation
- Pre-departure support from your Program Manager
- Airport pick-up
- Personalised preparation tools, guides and check lists
- Access to IVHQ’s preferred insurance and flights partners
- Certificate of International Volunteer Service
- All programs attract a Registration Fee of US$329 (approximately £273) in addition to the Program Fee. This covers all pre-departure support services. IVHQ fees are priced in USD but you may elect to pay in GBP.
- A 5% international banking fee is added at point of payment.
- Additional things to budget for include: Visa, flights, travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, criminal background check, meals, public transportation to and from your placement each day and return to the airport when your program finishes.
- Recommended spending money: Volunteers in Puerto Rico generally find US$300 - US$400 per week to be sufficient for expenses, such as meals, and in-country tours.
- Any cancellations or changes within 14 days of a volunteers start date is subject to a minimum 25% late change/cancellation fee.
Check what's required to visit Puerto Rico
Safety and support
IVHQ follows best practice and industry-leading health and safety procedures, which are regularly reviewed and optimized as part of the B Corporation recertification.
- All volunteers encouraged to complete our interactive pre-departure training.
- All local teams trained on best practice volunteer management & First Aid.
- All IVHQ programs are required to adhere to IVHQ's Risk Management Policy.
- All volunteers have access to 24/7 in-country support from our local team.
Essential country information
|US Dollar (USD)
Weather and climate
Puerto Rico has a tropical climate with warm to hot temperatures throughout the year. The average top temperature each day is around 85°F (29°C). Easterly trade winds can cross the island year round. Puerto Rico’s rainy season is from April to November, and the dry season is from December to March. The temperature in San Juan, where our program is based, varies very little throughout the year and can be very humid.