It is no secret that the vibrant islands of the Caribbean are some of the most beautiful places in the world. But the hidden waterfalls, musical history, and mysteries of its unexplored territories sets Jamaica in a league of its own. From volunteering with local families, scuba diving, or help build new homes for those in need, Jamaica is a great location for high school students to study and volunteer abroad.

In Jamaica, students can volunteer with local communities building houses and working with children, traveling all throughout the country, and living with host families allowing students to gain a first-hand experience of the Jamaican culture and don't forget all the exciting activities like scuba diving and zip lining you can do on the weekends.

Jamaica is great for students who are interested in getting involved within a community, volunteering, exploring and adventurous activities and first-time travelers.

Photo credit: Ricardo's Photography.

Volunteer Programs

If giving back is a passion of yours Jamaica is the place to be. Jamaica has so many opportunities to volunteer in local communities. Volunteer getting your hands dirty building new facilities or houses for local families, working with a summer camp, teaching, or taking a mission trip.

As a volunteer, students will typically live with host families who have opened their doors to high school students to teach them about the music, food, and Jamaican culture. Volunteering abroad is one of the most rewarding ways to spend your spring break or summer break.

Popular cities

Some of the most popular cities in Jamaica are Montegro Bay, Negril, Kingston, and Ocho Rios. These cities are action packed with things to do and places to see, be sure to plan a few trips into theses cities to experience modern city life of this beautiful island.


For shorter term programs, students from most countries (including the U.S. and Canada) will enter on a tourist visa. However, programs will assist with visa application and processing but the student will have to pay the fees. You can mail in your paperwork ahead of time to your closest embassy prior to your trip.


If going through a program, students will be provided room and board through all programs in Jamaica. You will stay with a Jamaican family and learn first-hand what it is like to truly live in Jamaica.


Like most countries, prices are much cheaper outside of the larger cities. Because most of he programs are located in more rural areas and meals are included in your program fees, Jamaica will be one of the more affordable places to travel.

However, students should budget around $40 - 50 per day to cover personal expenses. Jamaica is jam packed with adventure, trips to the beach, zip lining, exploring the major cities, so be sure to budget incase anything exciting comes your way.

Packing Tips

It probably comes as no surprise that Jamaica is hot and humid and that you should pack accordingly. Make sure you don't leave home without:

  • Mosquito repellent
  • Tank tops and shorts
  • Sunscreen
  • Sunglasses
  • Bathing suits
  • Light jacket for the cool evenings

4-6 weeks before traveling to Jamaica, students should have their Hepatitis A and Typhoid vaccinations (if they don't already). Jamaica has had cases of the Zika virus so be sure to use precaution to prevent mosquito bites like long sleeves and pants and mosquito repellent.


Like in most destinations, cities have more crime than rural areas. If you're planning on visiting or staying in one of the major cities in Jamaica, be sure to practice safe traveler strategies and avoid going anywhere on your own. Outside of the major cities, Jamaica is a fairly safe place to visit. Because most programs are operated in large groups students are in safe good hands for the duration of the time in Jamaica.

Contributed by Brittany Gibson

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