Volunteer in Guatemala

 

Volunteer in the ancient land of the Mayan civilization in a variety of quality projects. Work with endangered turtles or neglected animals, participate in conservation efforts on a beautiful lake, work alongside locals in a coffee cooperative project or care for children or the elderly. Programs are based in and around the beautiful city of Antigua.

I truly fell in love with that place. It was terribly hard to say goodbye. Hopefully I will see them soon again. Guatemala is a beautiful country with such kind people. I overall had a phenomenal experience.

Corinne | Guatemala Volunteer

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Programs were modified and or revised constantly to ensure volunteers and most importantly the schools, clinics etc were happy and benefiting. This meant that volunteers got a genuine experience full of challenges but with the comfort of experience and understanding.

Nicole | Guatemala Volunteer

 

Just Choose a Project and Apply!

 

You have a unique opportunity to learn a different way of living in a new culture, and to experience the traditional Guatemalan diet. Accommodation in a homestay has been selected to ensure volunteer well-being and comfort, to maintain safety and security, and to give an insight into life in Guatemala.

GVN Projects: Only $250 application fee + $500 per week (1-4 weeks), and $200 per week after this. (This includes accommodation, meals, coordination, supervision, training, airport pick up)

Childcare and Orphanages

Childcare and Orphanages

Are you driven to help the world's most vulnerable citizens? Do you love kids and want to help them thrive? In the Childcare and Orphanage Project volunteers assist the children with basic hygiene education, homework, organising games and activities, organising workshops and provide the children with love and attention. There are many different childcare placements available in Guatemala, including day care centres, school and orphanages, and many of the children suffer from poor domestic lifestyles and substance abuse in their families.

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Teaching English

Teaching English

Did you know you have a great wealth which if you share you lose nothing? In the Teaching English Project, volunteers will be assisting teachers in educating local students in English. Volunteers will assist with workshops, organising educational games and activities and tutoring. Volunteers may also participate in fundraising and the collection of educational materials, and will be placed in either poor public schools, community centres or libraries.

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Construction

Construction

Are you handy with a hammer? Proficient with a paint brush? Savvy with a saw? At our Construction Projects volunteers assist with the construction and/or renovation of schools and orphanages and the surrounding grounds. Volunteers will typically be involved with laying bricks, carpentry, painting, laying tiles, landscaping and gardening. The building projects are to help the community improve their schools and orphanages. Be prepared to be patient and flexible, and to get your hands and clothes very dirty.

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Healthcare (clinic)

Healthcare (clinic)

Are you a Spanish speaking doctor, nurse or med student? We need volunteers to work at either one of the rural clinics surrounding La Antigua, or in clinics for mentally and physically disabled children. There are roles for licensed professionals, medical students and pre-med students, however volunteers require at least intermediate Spanish as the staff they will work with have limited English. Volunteers should be aware that the range of activities available to them will depend on their experience as well. Notarized documentation of your medical school, nursing school, or other medical credentials will be required.

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Coffee Cooperative

Coffee Cooperative

Are you a coffee fiend? A java junkie? In the Coffee Cooperative Project, volunteers will assist with the sustainable production of coffee in a coffee-farming community in the Guatemalan highlands. Volunteers may be involved with coffee-picking in the fields, roasting the beans and packaging the final product, alongside wider agricultural activities, such as helping in the nursery. As well as various agricultural activities, volunteers will also be involved in marketing of the coffee product to the wider market and with support of the community by helping in reforestation and possible construction projects.

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Healthcare (working with the elderly)

Healthcare (working with the elderly)

Are you the compassionate type? Are you kind and patient and comforting? Volunteers are needed to work in the nursing homes and senior centres in and around La Antigua, with the aim of creating a compassionate and friendly atmosphere for the vulnerable elderly population. Volunteers will provide one-on-one attention, basic healthcare, assist with meal and medicine distribution and organising recreational activities. Volunteers are encouraged to bring their own ideas to this placement as well.

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Lake Clean Up and Conservation

Lake Clean Up and Conservation

Are you committed to conservation issues? Want to help build a cleaner, greener future?  In the Lake Clean Up and Conservation program, volunteers will assist to preserve the lake's natural resources by raising awareness and educating the population on the proper use of the lake and its basin. The three main areas that volunteers will be involved in are environmental education, natural resources management and environmental cleanup.

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Animal Care and Animal Rights

Animal Care and Animal Rights

Are you passionate about animal rights? Want to help make life better for neglected animals? Volunteers in this program assist in the protection of domestic animals such as cats and dogs who do not enjoy the family status as their counterparts in the West. These animals are often neglected and abandoned, and volunteers will provide medical treatment, recreational activity and human contact for the animals. In addition, volunteers may have the opportunity to participate in educational programs for local schools, spay neuter programs, rabies vaccinations, and the construction of dog runs and fencing.

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Guatemala Application Form

 

Apply Now: Step 1 of 3



 

 

Why GVN?

 

Our vision is to connect people with communities in need, with a particular focus on vulnerable women and children. We do this by supporting the work of local community organizations in countries through the placement of international volunteers.

We are excited to get your placement under way where you will:

  • Be a part of GVN's efforts to inspire learning, innovation and action to unlock the potential of vulnerable communities around the world. Work with exceptional grassroots projects in community development, conservation and wildlife, personal development, fundraising and physical challenges.
  • Have the 24/7 support of a non profit with 12 years experience in placing 19661 volunteers that will provide you with an affordable and rewarding placement.
  • Volunteer with a world-class organization which is recommended by Bill Gates and CNN.
  • Be a part of progressive non profit that has raised over $2 million to help women and children in need.
  • Have the comfort of knowing that GVN staff have collectively flown over 1 million miles to ensure you get a quality placement.
  • Make a long-term impact in your community of choice - it's not just a vacation.

 

Verifications

 

How GVN works...

 

The first step is to fill out an application to see if we have a place for you. Then if your application is successful you will be accepted and we will then get to work organizing your placement.

GVN is a registered Charitable Trust, so volunteers finance themselves, or can fundraise online with our unique GVN platform, with US donors receiving tax receipts. The Program Package provides you with all that is listed below, along with personalized support from our expert staff and the knowledge that you'll be working with a reputable and registered charity with over 12 years experience in the field.

At the heart of our work is the communities our volunteers work to support - we ensure that these communities truly benefit from your time in Guatemala and that the Program Package fully supports you financially while you're volunteering.

Program Package

GVN Projects: Only $250 application fee + $500 per week (1-4 weeks), and $200 per week after this. (This includes accommodation, meals, coordination, supervision, training, airport pick up)

The Program Package also includes a project donation, which supports the work the GVN Foundation does in addressing nutrition, education and healthcare needs, as well as supporting longer-term development approaches, including income generation activities and microfinance.

Your program package includes:

Pre-trip

  • Personal support from your Program Specialist throughout the preparation process.
  • Your Program Guide, with all the details on Guatemala and your placement.
  • Fundraising strategies and access to our crowd funding platform where you can raise up to 100% of the cost your trip, with tax receipts for your US based donors.
  • Access to Your Own Online Journal: which helps you to communicate effectively and easily with your family and friends back home.
  • Opportunities for Preferred Pricing and Personalized Service when booking Airfares: through our travel partner GYT Flight Centre who go the extra mile to support GVN volunteers.

In-country

  • Accommodation: Home stay.
  • Meals: 3 meals daily. (In 2015 this will change to two meals, breakfast and dinner)
  • Project Donation: Included.
  • Airport pickup: On arrival date.
  • Training: In-country orientation and training.
  • Supervision: In-country staff supervision.
  • Support: Pre-departure personal support from your volunteer coordinator, 24/7 in-country support from partner, and 24hr emergency line.
  • Spanish lessons (one week), weekly Salsa lessons, internet usage at our partner's headquarters, a monthly volunteer party, and a certificate of completion from our partner organisation.

Post-trip

  • An opportunity to debrief and provide feedback
  • Free access to GVN Changemakers program which alerts you to future internship/job opportunities at GVN.
  • A Letter of Completion in Volunteer Service.
  • The opportunity to stay connected with your project.
  • Global advocacy and fundraising campaigns to continue your part of the movement for social change with an international non-profit that has granted over $2 million to our partner organizations.

The program package does not include: Flights, insurance, visas, vaccinations, project transportation, departure from the program.

We recommend you allow a weekly budget of US $25 for your other expenses such as bottled water, personal items, beverages, transportation, and entertainment.

 

FAQs

 

What kind of volunteer work is available?

Childcare - including orphanage, school and day-care centres

Teaching - including public schools, community centres and public libraries

Construction - renovating in schools in and around La Antigua

Healthcare - medical support in rural clinics or clinics for mentally and physically disabled children, as well as working with the elderly

Animal Care & Animal Rights - working with neglected and abandoned animals in La Antigua

Conservation - working on lake clean-up and restoration or with a turtle conservation program.

What hours am I expected to take part in the program?

The schedule for each project will vary, but most volunteers will work for 4 hours either in the morning or in the afternoon. Those working in the orphanages may find their busiest period is early in the morning, whereas those working in the clinics may be busiest in the afternoon for example.

What is the climate like in Guatemala?

The climate of Guatemala is broadly divided into 3 sections, reflecting the changes in altitude across the country.

Tropical coastal zone – includes the coastal areas and lowlands up to 1,000m altitude. The climate here is hot and humid throughout the year, with temperatures ranging from 20˚C (68˚F) to 37˚C (99˚F).

Temperate zone – Guatemala cools slightly as you reach heights up to 2,000m, in the more moderate climatic zone. Here temperatures, whilst still warm, rarely rise above 30˚C (85˚F), and can cool rapidly at night. La Antigua is situated in this climatic zone, and where volunteers will be based, along with the capital, Guatemala City.

Mountainous zone – This includes the areas of Guatemala above 2,000m. Whilst temperatures are frequently in their 20˚Cs during the day, temperatures drop sharply at night, and can go below freezing.

The rainy season (winter) lasts between May and October, and it usually only rains for a few hours a day during the afternoon during the rainy season. Guatemala enjoys a couple of dry weeks during July, to break up the winter. The dry season (summer) runs through the rest of the year, although there are some rainy periods interspersed.

Tell me more about Guatemala

Guatemala is one of the most bio-diverse and historically significant countries in Central America, and the country’s abundance of biologically unique ecosystems makes the entire region a biodiversity hotspot. The Classic period of Meso-American civilization corresponds to the height of Guatemala's Maya Civilization and is represented by countless sites throughout the country, and today "Guatemaltecos" are very proud of their indigenous cultures.

Guatemala has a predominantly mountainous landscape, with narrow coastal plains and limestone plateaus. There are several active volcanoes in the mountains, and Guatemala occasionally suffers from violent earthquakes. Whilst the Caribbean coast is particularly susceptible to hurricanes and tropical storms, Guatemala usually only suffers from increased rainfall rather than being directly hit by hurricanes.

Is there opportunity to take Spanish classes or participate in cultural activities whilst on the program?

All volunteers will receive two hours of group Spanish classes each day for the first week of their project. All the Spanish teachers are professional teachers - either certified in teaching Spanish as a foreign language or with a Masters in Education. Volunteers will also be provided with a course book. After their first week of classes, volunteers will switch to a Tandem Exchange Program, which involves being matched with a Peruvian who is studying English with our partner organisation. They will meet for one hour conservation practice each day. Volunteers may also opt to extend their Spanish classes for an extra charge.

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About Guatemala

 

Guatemala

Guatemala is one of the most bio-diverse and historically significant countries in Central America, and the country's abundance of biologically unique ecosystems makes the entire region a biodiverse hotspot. Guatemala is bordered by Mexico, El Salvador and Honduras, and has coastlines along the Pacific Ocean and Caribbean Sea.  Guatemala has a predominantly mountainous landscape, with narrow coastal plains and limestone plateaus.

Development in Guatemala

Guatemala’s economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, which accounts for nearly 15% of the GDP and half the work force. Key exports include coffee, sugar and bananas. Foreign Direct Investment is slowly trickling into the country since the signing of the 2006 Central American Free Trade Agreement; however this has been hampered by a combination of climate, poor infrastructure and a lack of skilled workforce.

Hampered by economic financial crisis in 1998 and the collapse of coffee prices, the economy has improved gradually and Guatemala enjoys a stable macroeconomic management, which has helped to mitigate the impact of the latest recession. The current government is continuing the policy of encouraging FDI and expanding the export and tourism industry. Despite this, Guatemala remains one of the poorer nations in Central America.

Volunteer Impact

Volunteers provide assistance to disadvantaged socio-economic groups within Guatemalan communities, focusing primarily on childcare, animals, health and education.

As a volunteer in Guatemala you can provide love, affection, education and support to children in need.  You will help to improve education in schools ensuring children learn and flourish.  As a volunteer you can practice and teach preventative healthcare, and hygiene.   Depending on your interests you can also contribute to building projects in impoverished communities, or in an animal rights project.  You will also provide education, inter-cultural exchange and understanding in Guatemalan communities.

What else can I do in Guatemala?

Visitors to Guatemala will be delighted by the cultural sights and natural treasures accesible to them.

Volunteers are based in La Antigua an extremely popular destination for both tourists and Guatemalans alike, famous for the preservation of its colonial architecture and a UNESCO world heritage site.

While you're in Guatemala visit a remote Mayan village in the mountains, or tour Mayan ruins dotted around the country.  Spend a little time relaxing in a hammock on one of the Pacific coast black sand beaches.

If shopping is your thing, you can't go past the Chichicastenango market where vendors come from around the country to sell their hand-made products.

Spanish Lessons and Tandem Exchange Program

For your first week you will take Spanish lessons provided by our partner. These are taught by professional teachers, either certified in teaching Spanish as a foreign language or with their Masters in Education, and you will have two hours of lessons per day, usually in the mornings, so that you spend the afternoons at your volunteer placement. Volunteers will also be provided with a Native Spanish Program book.

For the remainder of your stay you will take part in our partner's Tandem Exchange Program. This program pairs volunteers learning Spanish with a Guatemalan student who is learning English at their headquarters in La Antigua. This way you practise Spanish with your partner for one hour a day, as well as provide invaluable practice for the Guatemalan student learning English. It's also a great way to get to know local students in La Antigua. If you wish to extend your formal Spanish lessons beyond your first week, this can be arranged for an extra fee.

Online Spanish Lessons

Global Volunteer Network has established a partnership with the Spanish school Instituto Exclusivo, which offers GVN volunteers a 5% discount off their online Spanish lessons. This is not like other courses which give you pages of web material or recordings of various phrases to repeat. You will speak to, and see your instructor as he/she is giving you a private lesson, tailored to your level of Spanish. Learn spanish before you go

 

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