Maximo Nivel
97% Rating
(708 Reviews)

Maximo Nivel

Máximo Nivel (Maximum Level)—The Intercultural Center of Latin America

Máximo Nivel is a family-owned, social enterprise founded in 2003. Our three intercultural centers are locally-based organizations focused on international education and cross-cultural experiences. Our programs include: Volunteer Abroad, International Internships, TEFL Certification, and Spanish Language Immersion in three countries — Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru.

Our programs are internationally accredited and are recognized worldwide. Our success is based on our commitment to quality and the highest level of client service. We have an excellent, professional staff and great home-base facilities to ensure your overall experience with us is nothing short of excellent!

Most Recent Program Reviews

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RONAN
Male
27 years old
Ireland
St Mary's University College

Two week class in Antigua

2/10

The time I had at Maximo Nivel was spoiled by the unprofessionalism of the staff when I arrived. I was not informed of the meeting on the first day for induction at 7.30am, so when I arrived at 9am the staff were confused and asked me to come back for induction at 5.30pm. At this induction I was asked to complete a reading, writing, listening and speaking exam. After I completed the reading, writing and listening exam, the staff decided that I was at the most basic level of spanish, and due to the time of day, or their overall generall lack of effort, they did not even ask for a speaking exam. This meant I was given a book and a class for a basic learner, even though I have been studying spanish for 2 years.

My teachers during the classes were good and I have no complaints about them. But the people who run the program need to be a lot more professional. I would not recommend Maximo Nivel to any of my friends. To me, they seem more like a business, and less about the welfare or learning of theirm students.

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Adelaide
Female
24 years old
Australia

The negatives outweighs the positives....I will never recommend Maximo Nivel Guatemala

2/10

I am torn as I write this,
There are many positive aspects to Maximo Nivel Guatemala, it is just a shame that a few of their practices and some staff ruin it completely. It has been made clear to me that while some lovely people work for Maximo Nivel, they are predominantly looking out for themselves while taking advantage of dedicated volunteers.

I have travelled to 23 different countries and volunteered locally in Australia, and internationally in India, Bali, Vietnam, Cambodia and Guatemala to name a few. I have had almost exclusively positive experiences, some of the best times of my life have been volunteering overseas.
I do understand that no where is perfect, however I have never been disappointed until my trip to Guatemala.
I have never received such disgusting treatment as I did from some of the staff at Maximo Nivel, Antigua Guatemala.

I am epileptic, and had the unfortunate, very rare incident of having a seizure in the volunteer accomodation prior to heading off to my program assisting with disabled people in an orphanage.
Maximo Nivel, to its credit arranged to have their doctor visit me, observe me and make sure I was okay.
The following day, I came into the Maximo Nivel office to apologise for any inconvenience caused by my medical condition. It was a rare occurrence that startled me as I had been cleared to travel by my doctor. Instead of receiving a gracious acceptance, I was dragged into the office of their director of International Programs and told that I was a liability and were I to go out at night again, I would be exited from the program.
She made an assumption that I was a rowdy irrational person and made me out to be irresponsible, even though there was nothing to suggest that my socialising with volunteers was what made me sick. I had not got drunk that night, and even if I had, she had no right to treat me in such a disgusting manner. I had not been subjected to discrimination of such a degree since I was in my early teenage years.
I shudder to think of how she has treated other volunteers in the past.

I reported the incident to the country manager who could not have been kinder about it. He apologised for her and said he would have a chat with the woman I am referring to, however even then, I never received so much as an apology from her. To me, though I may be supposing a bit much here, this is indicative of her not seeing the wrongful manner in which she treated me. The risk here is that she may continue to treat future volunteers in the same hostile and discriminative manner.

Not only this, but I noticed that the volunteer shifts were only 3 hours long. I requested to engage in some longer shifts, perhaps take on some afternoon shifts volunteering also. I noticed the orphanage I was placed at was quite understaffed and if I was going to work there, I wanted to help to the very best of my ability. I was told that I could do that, however I would be charged a significant amount of extra money.

Given that the initial set up costs had already been paid, and it would not cost the organisation anything for me to volunteer at a very needy facility a few extra hours, I thought this a pretty disgusting practice. It was doing nothing but taking advantage of dedicated volunteers.
I asked one of the ladies at the front desk where that money was going, and she lied to me, saying that 100% of it went toward their humanitarian budget.
Later, I asked the country manager where the money went. At least he was a decent enough human being to tell me that the money did go to administration staff, although I still think this an appalling practice.

In saying this, many of the staff are very friendly. They are well organised and take the safety of volunteers very seriously. Living is basic, but I felt well looked after at the volunteer house.

Maximo Nivel certainly has some good qualities, but those two incidences are things that simply cannot be overlooked. I am torn as I write this, as some people there are incredibly kind and hard working. It is true that some really do try to help, where as others are selfish, cruel and only trying to scam volunteers.

How can this program be improved?

Maximo Nivel should not scam dedicated volunteers out of money. If volunteers request to work a few extra hours each day at their placement in a needed area, they should be allowed to and not charged extra money. Especially given that initial set up costs would have already been covered.

If such disgusting discrimination and victim blaming is still occurring at Maximo Nivel, an end should be put to it immediately, and the staff should be apologising or be let go.

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Pasquale
Male
21 years old
United Kingdom
University of Nottingham

Internship in San Jose, Costa Rica

10/10

I spent 15 weeks doing an internship in San Jose through Maximo Nivel.

The internship was at a relatively small NGO in the centre of San Pedro called 'Fundacion Mujer' and I believe I have gained valuable experience during my stay here. Not only will my experience at Fundacion Mujer help me with any future employment but I was able to practice my Spanish on a day-to-day basis. The work was also very rewarding as I worked on a project that aimed to aid the integration of refugees in Costa Rica.

The internship providers, Maximo Nivel, played a big role in making my 15-week-stay stress-free and enjoyable. After each day of my internship, I would return to the Maximo Nivel centre where the kind staff would show genuine interest in my day and provide any necessary help. The help would extend beyond any internship or project enquires as they would also offer advice on how to make the most of my stay by suggesting places to visit during the evenings and weekends.

Maximo Nivel did an excellent job of organising my internship and visiting me several times to ensure everything was going well. I thoroughly enjoyed my stay and feel like I grew thanks to the internship and a lot of this came down to the work done at Maximo Nivel.

How can this program be improved?

I thoroughly enjoyed my experience and Maximo Nivel made it very easy for me to settle in. I had no negative experiences and as of this moment, I have no suggestions that I believe would help to improve this program.

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Deborah
Female
21 years old
United States
Loma Linda University

Medical Volunteering in Guatemala

10/10

My time here in Guatemala has been amazing. Although I was only here for one week I have learned a lot throughout my time here. I enjoyed my time working at my placement in the clinic and got to experience how the medical field operates in Guatemala. The food is amazing and the staff is very supportive. I would highly recommend coming to Guatemala through IVHQ. You will make memories that last a lifetime.

Sandy
Female

Antigua, Guatemala

10/10

Spent 2 weeks here as a medical volunteer, and it was an amazing experience. Everything from wonderful host family to the amount of support and resources provided. It´s very well organized and takes care to ensure that I could get to my volunteer site safely. Everyone at the clinic where I volunteered were very welcoming and accepting. I joined Maximo Nivel with hopes to participate in medical volunteer, learn Spanish, and just to have fun. And Maximo Nivel made it all happen!

How can this program be improved?

I´ve had no negative experience with this program in my 2 weeks here :)

Program Listings

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Costa Rica

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Peru

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Costa Rica

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Online

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