Affordable Volunteer Programs in Guatemala from $310
94% Rating
(24 Reviews)

Affordable Volunteer Programs in Guatemala from $310

Volunteer abroad in Guatemala with IVHQ! Every year, hundreds of volunteers join IVHQ's highly affordable volunteer projects in Guatemala assisting on a range of community-driven projects including teaching, construction work and also animal care. Volunteers can choose to participate on projects for periods ranging from 1 week to 24 weeks are accommodated in either local home-stays or volunteer houses alongside other international volunteers. While Spanish is not required in order to participate on the program, volunteers can enjoy taking discounted Spanish lessons during their time on the program.

IVHQ Volunteer Projects Available in Guatemala:

  • Teaching English
  • Childcare
  • Construction and Renovation
  • Lake Conservation
  • Medical
  • Elderly Care
  • Animal Care/Animal Rights
  • Eco Agriculture Conservation
  • Spanish Learning Course

Highlights

  • Programs available year-round, starting every Monday
  • Program fees include airport pick-up, orientation, accommodation, meals and 24/7 in-country support
  • Highly affordable program fees from $310 for 1 week
  • Community-driven projects focused on supporting local needs and delivering sustainable positive impacts
  • Superior support services both pre-departure and while volunteering
  • Free online volunteer training for all IVHQ volunteers
  • Affordable Spanish language lessons available in Guatemala
  • Between 20 and 50 IVHQ volunteers start in Guatemala each month
  • Weekends are free to explore Guatemala with fellow volunteers - visit Pacaya Volcano, Iximche and more!
Locations
North America » Guatemala » Antigua
Length
1-2 Weeks
2-4 Weeks
1-3 Months
3-6 Months
Language
English
Housing
Host Family
Hostel
Starting Price
$310.00
Currency
USD
Price Details
Guatemala Program Fee includes airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation, breakfast and dinner during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs.

Questions & Answers

Hi Henry, The program fee for two weeks is $515, add to that either $50 - $55 a week (depending on if you want a 2 hour small group language class or a 1 hour private one) which bring the total to around $625. Hope this helps!

Program Reviews

  • Impact
    90%
  • Support
    96%
  • Fun
    97%
  • Value
    90%
  • Safety
    89%

Program Reviews (24)

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Michael
Male
19 years old
Encinitas, CA
Other

Had a Blast in Antigua!

10/10

In the summer of 2017, I volunteered in Antigua, Guatemala with the construction group. The work was enjoyable and I felt like what I did had a positive impact on the community. I met a lot of cool people and made new friends. I did quite a few excursions which I enjoyed. The staff was extremely helpful, friendly, and accommodating. Being a vegetarian, I was worried that it would be an inconvenience, but it didn't turn out to be that way. I would definitely volunteer with IVHQ again.

How can this program be improved?

Everything was fine.

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Taylor
Female
20 years old
Ontario, Canada
University of Toronto

Simply Amazing

10/10

The program was simply amazing! Couldn't ask for more. As someone that has been abroad with other volunteer organizations I can tell you that IVHQ is the best. From the freindly staff, affordable prices and the unique range of projects to work on. You feel welcomed from the begining. You may arrive there on your own but you will quickly meet amazing people that will become life long friends. I would recomend this trip to anyone from new travel to the most experienced, the views and experience are spectacular and you wont regret it!

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Gustavo
Male
30 years old
Mexicali, Baja California, Mexico
Other

What are you looking for?

10/10

I had the opportunity to connect with my firefighters students, noble people, nice and eager to learn useful tools for their work. And I also have been fortunate to meet other volunteers, who dedicate their vacations, or their entire lives, to work for those who need it most.

I met Wally, a young Canadian, who came to Guatemala to teach English as a volunteer for four weeks. At the end of this period he decided that he did not want to leave, he telephoned his girlfriend in Canada to inform him he was staying, and asked him to take a flight to live with him in La Antigua. They have lived together for a year in Guatemalan lands.

Jass, a young American, volunteer at an orphanage. Originally from Indiana, it is not the first time she performs this kind of noble work. Just a few years ago, Jass was working as a volunteer in Africa; since then, every time she takes some time off work visits a new country, and, at the same time, works for the community wherever she is.

Amanda, a young Australian, came to work as a volunteer five years ago. She returned to Australia for a while, saved some money, and moved to Guatemala. She now volunteers, on her own, with local institutions that require help; in addition, has begun to plan starting a business in La Antigua.

While we were eating in a terrace restaurant, overlooking the famous 'Fuego' Volcano, Jass, the young American, who, by the way, works in an NGO that is responsible for promoting organ donation, asked me: What are you looking for?

She explained to me those who volunteer logically seek to use their skills and/or knowledge to help others. But equally, they do not seek only to help, but also to get help: some kind of response, meaning, or purpose that they do not yet find in their lives.

After finishing my volunteer program I think I can answer that question. I think we are trying to achieve something for our own development, we are trying to become the very best version of ourselves.

How can this program be improved?

I think the program was really amazing, can't think of anything to be improved.

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Heather
Female
24 years old
Canada
University of Chichester

Eco-Agricultural Conservation in Guatemala

10/10

I had an incredible time in Guatemala. My host family was incredibly kind and caring, and incorporated me totally into their family. I got the opportunity to work with De La Gente, a coffee cooperative that facilitates direct trade opportunities with local coffee farmers. Every two days we would work with a new farmer, helping him out with whatever he needed done that day: hiking into the mountains to pick coffee cherries, sorting beans at the farmers houses, or washing and drying the cherries. It was a great opportunity to see into the lives of these farmers, and I really felt like we were helping them, as you could see the effects of our work immediately. I had a fantastic time learning Spanish as well, with the farmers in the morning, but I also took classes in the afternoons, and my host family was always happy to converse with me and help me if I needed it! I also got to live with some incredible other volunteers, and they truly made the experience unforgettable.

How can this program be improved?

I honestly didn't find there to be anything wrong with the program. For other volunteers, some intro Spanish classes might be beneficial before arrival, as I was the one volunteer who knew the most Spanish, so was translating for everyone while I was there, and I was fairly comfortable with it, but think it would have been a shame if I hadn't been there and there would have been little communication possible between the farmers and the volunteers!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Heather, Thanks for sharing! We are so glad to hear that you had an incredible time in Guatemala and found working on the Eco-Agriculture project worthwhile. It has been awesome to have you join us and hope to see you again in the future.
Charlotte – IVHQ Guatemala Program Manager

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Mercedes
Female
23 years old
Usa
Rutgers University

My Experience in Antigua

9/10

I could not say enough amazing things about this program! The staff was so friendly and accommodating, and made sure our experience was worthwhile and smooth sailing. I always felt safe and the homestay was homey and comfortable. The most rewarding part of my trip were the amazing children that I volunteered with. They were so loving and so kind and They truly did more for me than I did for them. I made many amazing memories during this experience. This is my second trip with IVHQ and they didn’t disappoint!

How can this program be improved?

Perhaps we could have been given more food option but overall I wouldn’t complain

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Mercedes, We are delighted to hear that you had a worthwhile and smooth sailing trip to Guatemala! Thanks for joining IVHQ for a second time and we would love to have you join us again.
Charlotte – IVHQ Guatemala Program Manager

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Mitika
Female
25 years old
Belgique
Other

Life changing discovery

10/10

It was my first volunteer experience abroad, and especially on the (Latin) American continent and I loved it ! Contrary to what I expected, I wasn't really stressed out about leaving because I was well prepared and the IVHQ staff helped me so much during the process.
I stayed in Antigua for 3 weeks and I worked in an exotic animals shelter which was 10 minutes away by bus. I could have never imagined working with so many reptilians, deal with snakes, feed crocodiles (at the Pacific coast) and so on. It made the whole experience even more surreal !
I also took part in Spanish classes 2 hours a day and it helped me so much (even though you can make yourself understood easily with basic words or in English).
The week-ends allow you to take part in bigger activities such as volcano's hiking and visiting further places (Lake Atitlan and Semuc Champey are amazing). If I had stayed longer, I would have definitely went to Tikal though.
The main point is that I felt welcomed everywhere I went and I miss the house and the other volunteers so much, Antigua is magnificent and really felt like home. I intend to go back there but I hope I'll enjoy it as much without this whole volunteer atmosphere which made it so unforgettable!

How can this program be improved?

I can't seem to find anything to improve because my experience was literally perfect! From the IVHQ's and the shelter's staff to the house's staff, everything was handled with professionalism and kindness.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Mitika, Thanks for sharing! We are so happy to hear that you had a positive first volunteer experience abroad. It is great that you took advantage of the Spanish language lessons and it sounds like your placement was perfect for you. Thanks for being an IVHQer!
Charlotte – IVHQ Guatemala Program Manager

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Margot
Female
58 years old
CORTE MADERA
Syracuse University

Great Experience with IVHQ in Guatemala

9/10

My daughter and I loved our trip to Guatemala through IVHQ. They made the entire process easy; from learning about the country and preparation, to the Animal Care Project we worked on through follow up, everything went smoothly. We were thrilled with the opportunity to spend a week in such a beautiful place with an amazing group of people. The week couldn't have been better. Thank you to everyone involved. We've already been texting with the family we stayed with and can't wait to go back.

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Hannah
Female
21 years old
Fort Colllins, Colorado
Colorado State University

AMAZING VOLUNTEER PROGRAM

8/10

Volunteering in Guatemala was a life changing opportunity. IVHQ made sure that my safety was put first which was extremely important to me. Being in a developing country there are going to be things that happen, things can happen anywhere really, but IVHQ made sure my safety was top priority. From the program guide to my in- country support I felt they always had my best interests at heart while still making sure I had the most enjoyable time I could while in Guatemala. I visited some the prettiest places I've ever been and saw some breathtaking views of the jungle. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm SO glad I went!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Hannah, Thanks for sharing! We are so happy to hear that you had an amazing time in Guatemala and always felt safe and supported. Thanks for being a great volunteer and we are so glad that you joined us too!
Charlotte – IVHQ Guatemala Program Manager

Joshua
Male

Medical Volunteer Experience -- Guatemala

10/10

You don't understand the meaning of the phrase, "Take only what you need," until you are in a distribution center in Antigua, Guatemala counting out four pencils, one eraser, and thirty pieces of paper. Although this example may seem minuscule, the theme holds true for many aspects of daily operations at the clinic I was volunteering at, and it left a lasting impact on my life. My awareness has broadened, as I have witnessed first hand the struggles, others go through every day. Everyone has seen pictures or thirty-second videos on the internet, but when a homeless man takes the last few crumbs of your lunch from the trash and eats it, you know the deepest feeling of compassion.

International Volunteer Headquarters and Maximo Nivel provided me the key necessary to unlock a door into the world of compassion through service to others in a village clinic outside of Antigua. The foundation they provided for other volunteers and me to build experiences and memories on is unimaginable unless you have already tried it yourself. I say they provide the key because it is truly up to you to open the door and take a step through and explore, that is, it is up to take the initiative, find meaning in the work you are doing, and arrive at your own conclusions. You can open the door and see an empty room, or you can open the door and discover a whole new world.

How can this program be improved?

Specifically for the medical projects, it would be helpful for current and past volunteers to make a list of supplies or ideas that would be particularly useful, that would be hard to find in the local. With the knowledge of real-time needs, I think I would have chosen more wisely what donations to bring with me. I know when I left, there were things I wish I could have mailed, but I knew that wasn't really an option.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Joshua, Thanks for your wonderful review! It is heartwarming to hear that the Medical project in Antigua, Guatemala helped you to become a more compassionate individual. It has been awesome to have you volunteer with us and we hope that you will join us again in the future.
Charlotte – IVHQ Guatemala Program Manager

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Michael
Male
25 years old
United States
Howard University

Changing lives, mine most of all.

10/10

My time in Guatemala was nothing short of the most amazing experience of my life to date. If you want to get a new perspective on the world and become a better person go volunteer abroad. Everything was perfect from IVHQ and the Maximo Nivel team on the ground in Antigua. From all the experience I gained working in the medical clinic at Puesto de Salud in Ciudad Vieja to climbing to the summit of a volcano the only regret I have is not having more time. The people are amazing, the culture is vibrant, and the opportunity is life changing. Go live it!

How can this program be improved?

Send me again!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Michael, Thanks for your beautiful review! It has been our pleasure to have you volunteer with us in Antigua and we are so happy to hear that you had an amazing experience. We would love to have you back!
Charlotte – IVHQ Guatemala Program Manager

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Chantal
Female
22 years old
Canada
University of British Columbia

I'll miss you, Antigua!

9/10

Seeking medical experience for med school applications, I hopped on a plane headed to Antigua, Guatemala to volunteer with the medical team with Maximo Nivel through IVHQ. I was nervous and overwhelmed at the thought of traveling alone and forcing myself to meet new people and speak a foreign language, so I kept telling myself to push forward because I seriously needed the clinical experience. Honestly though, my two weeks there ended up being WAY more than I ever expected. Yes, I gained invaluable clinical experience working at El Centro de Salud Santiago (about 45min away from Antigua via chicken bus), but my heart and eyes were opened in ways I never would have imagined. The onsite clinical team didn't have much, but their hearts were bigger than their lack of resources and they helped each patient out to the best of their abilities. I made innumerable friends from all over the world, I was able to communicate at a surprisingly proficient level of Spanish in the clinic and around town (granted, Maximo Nivel's Spanish lessons were AMAZING and I highly recommend them!), and I explored so many places and did so many things that were outside of my comfort zone. I signed up just to check off an item on my med school list, but I walked away with an unreal amount of joy and excitement from the experience overall. Definitely almost cried when saying goodbye to my housemates at the volunteer house. Volunteering abroad has certainly been one of the most humbling and incredible experiences I've ever had in my entire life. If you're scared, it's okay -- just jump in and see where it takes you!

How can this program be improved?

Orientation at my placement was really vague -- I was introduced to the doctors and some nurses, and that was it. Next thing I knew, they were handing me a needle and asked me to vaccinate a patient! As a pre-med student, I did not have the educational nor professional experience to do so. Having a more thorough and specific orientation would be better for next time, so I (as a volunteer) know what to do, and the onsite team knows what I'm capable of!

Also, as a student, it would always be nice if the prices for these things were lower. Then again, I chose IVHQ for their better prices compared to other volunteer organizations.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Chantal, Thanks for sharing. We are so happy to hear that the program in Antigua, Guatemala, turned out to be more that you imagined. Thanks for pushing through your initial feelings of being nervous and overwhelmed - it sounds like you embraced the challenges of your experience and had an incredible time. Thanks for your constructive feedback and we wish you all the best!
Charlotte – IVHQ Guatemala Program Manager

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Madeline
Female
22 years old
Akron, OH
University of Dayton

Guatemala May 2016

10/10

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to Antigua, Guatemala for 10 days earlier this May with IVHQ. I was placed in a clinic in San Antonio, which is about a 25 minute bus ride from Antigua. One day, the dentist I was volunteering with took me to a school to distribute fluoride to first grade students. Even though I did not speak much Spanish, the school kids showed me that love is universal. They were the happiest people that I have ever met, with the biggest smiles and heartiest laughter. It was an experience that I will never forget. The people of Guatemala are the most giving, selfless people that I have ever met. Even though I was only there for a short time, Guatemala felt like a home away from home.

How can this program be improved?

This program could be improved if there was a little bit more structure. Yes, it was nice to be able to self-structure my stay in Guatemala (outside of volunteering), but I wish there had been more organized activities to help us get to know the other volunteers better.

Joanne
Female
26 years old
Rocky Mountain House
University of Alberta

Hola & Hasta Luego, never Adios.

8/10

One day, I packed my backpack, left the comfort of my little bubble in Canada, and traveled 6200 kilometers away to a land that spoke an unfamiliar language and worked in a clinic that is far too underfunded for the services it provides. I spent 3 of the most memorable weeks of my life so far volunteering and exploring Antigua and surrounding areas and I have to thank IVHQ for setting me up with the local team in Guatemala. They supported me all along the way with emails checking in with my progress and experiences. The local volunteer company they set me up with in Guatemala was fantastic. While I was in Guatemala I did so many things way out of my comfort zone. I volunteered in a unfamiliar environment, I hiked and camped on a volcano, I hopped in a van and rode to the black sand beaches, and I met so many new and interesting people along the way. I've made new life long friends from many different countries and grown immensely both personally and professionally.

Jetricia
Female
23 years old
Atlanta, Ga
Georgia State University

Guatemala Volunteer Experience

10/10

Having never been out of the country before or never even gone on an airplane before this trip was a bit intimidating for me, especially since I was going by myself. I braved myself and got on that plane anyways and I am so so glad that I did. This trip made such an impact in my life and even though I was only there for 2 1/2 weeks I feel as if it changed my life. I was about to get a new perspective on things and be immersed in a culture while also helping out. The children that I got the chance to meet were nothing short of amazing. They were kind and sweet and so eager to learn and play. They teachers and day care staff were so thankful that we were there that it made volunteering truly worthwhile. I also got the chance to work at an animal clinic and to work on coffee farms and these experiences were just as fulfilling. Guatemala is a beautiful place and the local team there was so supportive and helpful. There are also tons of things to do in your off time, like hiking one of he many amazing volcanoes, jet skiing at Lake Atitlan, viewing Tikal, or taking an awesome journey at Semunc Champey, whatever you do it will be an amazing experience. Of course there were times That I was scared out of my mind and wanted to just go home to my mom lol. I was stuck at the airport for a few hours because of flight changes and traffic so at this point I was ready to check into a hotel and turn right back around the next day and go home but I'm so thankful I decided to stick it out. Traveling or volunteering solo can seem very intimidating and scary but it is so worth it. It's something I will recommend to any and everyone and I can't wait to go on my next IVHQ trip.

How can this program be improved?

The airport pickups could be a little more structured. Or the drivers should account more for traffic when leaving to pick up volunteers.

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Sydney
Female
22 years old
Ann Arbor, MI
University of Michigan

IVHQ in Guatemala

10/10

I absolutely loved my time in La Antigua! I went for my spring break during my sophomore year of college, and I really, truly enjoyed every second of my time there. I volunteered each day in a nonprofit school for kids with disabilities called Vida in a nearby town (Dueñas) and the children were absolutely incredible! So sweet and welcoming! I highly recommend this program to new travelers, high school and college students and even older individuals! Antigua is honestly such a beautiful ciudad! I went during La Semana Santa, which was an absolutely amazing experience as well!

How can this program be improved?

As a university student, I am obviously short on money, so making things more affordable is always a lovely option. Máximo Nivel is really incredible though and I loved the location!

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sydney, Thanks for sharing your thoughts and a few photos from your time in volunteering in Guatemala. It's great to hear you had such an amazing experience. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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Natalie
Female
29 years old
Boston
Emmanuel College

Animal care in Guate

10/10

I absolutely loved volunteering in Guatemala. Having volunteered abroad before in other places, I know that sometimes it can be difficult to adjust to a new environment, but I felt at home the second I got to my home stay with Marta. To start, the home stay is in the heart of Antigua, which is a beautiful colonial town full of culture, markets, shops, restaurants, cafes and bars. There is always something going on, whether it be ladies night at the club (free massages and manicures), free salsa and cooking lessons through Maximo Nivel, movie night at a cafe, bike tours, coffee plantation tours, live music...the list is endless! My home stay mom, Marta, made incredible meals (and there was always more if you wanted seconds) and the house was spacious and clean.

My volunteer placement was through Maximo Nivel, at a reptile rescue sanctuary, Antigua Exotic. Originally I had thought I would be working with cats and dogs, but I'm happy I got to do this instead. When else in my life would I have gotten the opportunity to wrestle an crocodile and hold a rattlesnake! I don't have a bad thing to say about my volunteer project. The project director, Danny, was full of interesting information on amphibians, reptiles, snakes and wildlife in general. Everything was super hands on, but you weren't made to do anything you weren't comfortable with. Really, there isn't a bad thing to say about my volunteer placement.

In terms of travel outside of Antigua, there are so many options. My suggestion to new volunteers would be to shop around and bargain before settling on prices for travel packages and shuttle buses. Travel can be really cheap if you are smart about it. During my five weeks, I went to Semuc Champey (beautiful limestone lagoons and waterfalls), Tikal (Mayan pyramids), did surf lessons in El Peredon, spent the weekend at Lake Atitlan, hiked the Pacayan Volcano, and visited 4 different zones of Guatemala.

Overall, this was an awesome experience, and I'm looking forward to volunteering through IVHQ again (which I am now in Peru!) and hopefully visiting Guatemala again!

How can this program be improved?

I would suggest telling future volunteers to budget a little more for lunches and outside travel. There is a very large time gap between breakfast and dinner, and the restaurants are a little more expensive than what IVHQ suggests.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Natalie, Thanks for sharing your photos and thoughts about your time volunteering in Guatemala. It’s great to hear that you had such a positive experience. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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Sheri
Female
41 years old
Canada

Childcare guatemala abroad

10/10

This was my first time volunteer travelling abroad so I was very skeptical and approached with caution. I found the IVHQ team to have the informative and best reviewed available with the best prices that went were the funds went to the most appropriate places so I decided to go with them. When I arrived in guatemala city they were there to pick me up with no wait time which immediately calmed my nerves some.They brought me right to my home stay which I was pleasantly surprised with that my family and I had our own quarters (like a mini apartment minus a kitchen) and we would meet at her home for meals. The meals were a nice social event every time as others were staying there as well from all parts of the world for different opportunities in the area. The following day we did orientation where a member from the team came with us the first day and showed us the best transportation options to the placement and introduced us to our placement facility. The workers were very accepting and the children were very loving. We stayed 1 week which barely scratches the surface for this area as there is so much to experience. We spoke very little spanish upon arriving (which is not required) however I wish I had the opportunity to learn more so that I could have taken place in more personal conversations. We brought our 5 year old with us and everything worked out perfect. The travel canada reviews are much more harsh for this area then required. It makes you wonder if the reviewer has been to the area. I recommend travelling smart and safe of course but I didn't feel anywhere like what the reviews advise. I would like to go back again and again and experience more. I truley fell in love. The IVHQ TEAM and the local team Maximo Nivel that handled us in country did a marvelous job together and the staff support is very strong. I highly recommend this experience for anyone wishing to try for whatever reasons your going.

How can this program be improved?

Maybe provide a bit more info as per placement info and home stay info prior to arriving. Bring a first timer it was a little scarey arriving in a country like that not knowing any.after experiencing I would do it again however it was daunting

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Sheri, Thanks for taking the time to share a little from your experience volunteering in Guatemala. We are glad to hear that you felt so supported by IVHQ and our local team in Antigua. It's great to have you as an IVHQer and we hope to welcome you back on another program again in the future.

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Kaylee
Female
24 years old
Kent, Ohio
Kent State University

Literally perfect

10/10

I had a ridiculous amount of fun. I'm honestly just upset that i didn't stay longer than i did. I got to meet a ton of wonderful people and go on a whole bunch of little adventures! Always ride the chicken bus because it's super fun! Just don't ride it to the airport!!! I was so humbled to have worked with young children and babies with HIV. I got to see how the nuns in the school/orphanage cooked and clean and got to help them with that as well as the child care!

How can this program be improved?

Maybe just get wifi for all of the housing spots; it's hard to be away from family without any contact at all. My cell provider had no service whatsoever.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Kaylee, Thanks for your review. We are so glad to hear that you had such a positive and fun experience volunteering with IVHQ in Guatemala. Thanks for being an IVHQer.

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Tara
Female
Calgary, Alberta

Best Trip of my Life.

9/10

My experience with IVHQ Guatemala was unlike anything else. It not only had an amazing impact on the communities in Guatemala, but on myself. Through my time across the continent I found my passion, had a meaningful impact on many peoples lives, as well achieved new found confidence.
The people that you work with here are so real, so down to earth. It gives you a sense of what life can really be like. A lot of these people have so little, but are willing to give and share so much. When I was volunteering at an afterschool program, I slipped and fell while playing tag with the kids. I scraped up my knee and immediately the kids and own ran up to me, patched me up, hugged me and made sure I was ok.
Some days it felt as though the kids were teaching me just as much as I was teaching them. I realized interacting with cultures all over the world is something I would like to continue for the rest of my life. IVHQ helped me achieve this.
Without their constant support embarking on a journey like this would have been so much more nerve wracking. They helped me a long every step of the planning process, and again whenever I had questions in Guatemala. As soon as I got there I was completely relaxed. I was placed with other people my age, and made many life-long friends.

How can this program be improved?

One problem I had was that I added on a week in El Salvador after my months volunteering. I had thought that I would need a visa extension but was assured by the local staff that it would be unnecessary. As a result I had a hefty fine of $150 USD at the border.
Also food accommodations for vegetarians could be improved. I had to live off of white carbs for 3 months, with little to no vegetables each night. Vegetarian protein was uncommon, which is strange considering how plentiful beans are in Guatemala.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Tara, thanks for sharing your amazing experience from Guatemala. We are so pleased that you found your passion and felt well supported by IVHQ throughout the process. Thanks for being an IVHQer!

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Kerbi
Female
24 years old
Madison, Wisconsin
University of Wisconsin- Madison

I would go again in a heart beat

10/10

My experience in Antigua was fantastic! I was in the medical placement group through IVHQ and my group. We volunteered with a doctor in free clinics and also we were able to shadow him the doctor for the two weeks. It was such a great opportunity to see the healthcare system in another country for insight. To be able to take what I learned from the doctor and experiences I had in Guatemala and apply it to my life as an undergraduate pre-medical student was so great. I also speak Spanish, so this program was a great way for myself to practice my Spanish, not only within the community and with the doctor, but also with my host family. The host family cooked incredible foods, but Antigua also has many restaurants which are incredible. I would love to go back to Guatemala through this program, I learned so much and the atmosphere was amazing.

How can this program be improved?

If I could change one thing, I would like to be able to shadow more doctors in different surrounding hospitals rather than only one doctor.

Response from International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ

Hi Kerbi, Thanks for sharing your thoughts on volunteering in Guatemala on the medical placement. Great photos as well! It seems like you and your group had a rewarding volunteer travel experience and we hope to have you volunteer with IVHQ again in the future.

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VeronicaRN
Female
42 years old
Los Angeles, CA

Guatemala- Medical Placement

8/10

I was placed in a homestay in a beautiful neighborhood in Antigua. Olga was my "house mother" and cooked 3 times a day for the 5 of us.

A typical day consisted of leaving the house around 7:15AM to walk & catch a "chicken bus." I would arrive at the clinic in Alotenango by 8:00AM.

My job consisted of calling patients back to the "pre-consulta" room, performing vitals and finding out their reason for presentation at the clinic. The patients would then wait to see the doctor.

I was usually done in the "pre-consulta" room by 10:30AM and spent the remainder of the afternoon in either the "Vaccination/Immunization" room or help around the clinic doing various tasks.

My shift was over at 12 noon and I would take the "chicken bus" back to Antigua and have lunch with the other volunteers at our house.

The late afternoons & evenings were spent sight-seeing with other volunteers and shopping.

Overall, I had a great time in Guatemala and look forward to volunteering abroad again.

How can this program be improved?

I would institute a "Buddy System" at the clinic which would involve pairing the volunteer nurse, like myself, with a clinic staff member. This would ensure that the volunteer had support and someone they could go to with any questions/concerns that might arise.

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Hilma
Female
57 years old
Ny

After school progm.

9/10

This is my first time volunteering away from home and moreso in a Spanish speaking country......2 weeks before leaving home for Guatemala I became apprehensive; a little afraid of the unknown ; I speak little or no English ,"I must be a fool" I thought. I soon learn that people are people everywhere you go in this world........You maybe a little different in physical appearance, the color of your skin and or hair color, yet if you have a true heart and a giving spirit, this will shine through. Thanks to the staff at Maximo Nivel I was able to improve my Spanish. The children in the after school programme were a delight to be with. "Buenos dias......ect" echoing from every class room welcoming the teachers. It was a great opportunity for me to share in an ongoing process of building a school that will change many lives for the betterment.

How can this program be improved?

NOTHING...........

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Coelfi
Female
24 years old
Chapel Hill, NC
University of North Carolina- Chapel Hill

IVHQ/Maximo Nivel in Antigua

7/10

I lived in Antigua for 8 weeks and taught English at an orphanage about 30 minutes outside of Antigua. I arranged my program through OVHQ, but worked directly through Maximo upon arriving in Guatemala.
Maximo was wonderful in terms of the support services they offered. I got to know the staff very quickly, and was always in regular communication with them throughout the duration of my stay. The orientation system was thorough, the coordination between the volunteer work and the Spanish school was excellent, and Maximo was always concerned about the quality of my homestay and volunteer experience. They taught me how to use the public transportation system and came out to check up on me at least once a week at my placement, all of which was very useful. They were also wonderful when helping us plan trips, and were very flexible in accommodating our needs.
Two things that I wish I had known about this IVHQ program before arriving were the natures of the homestay and social situations. While my host mom was wonderful and my homestay very comfortable (with excellent food), it should be noted that most homestays have multiple students living in them at any given time and are more like boarding houses than actual homes. During the first half of my trip, my home had up to 15 foreigners staying in it at once (not all through Maximo) which, while fun, hurt my ability to form relationships with my host family and improve my Spanish. During the second half of my stay, however, there were far less people, and I became much closer with my host mom.
Maximo Nivel did very little to stimulate social interaction among volunteers and students. Most of the friends I made were through my homestay, but once they all left I felt very alone and bored in Antigua. It was also very difficult for me as a female living in the outskirts of the city, as it was unsafe for me to walk after dark and taking a cab every night was very expensive. There is a vibrant social life among those staying in the volunteer house, but that tends to consist of kids just out of high school and is notorious for a lot of drama, so I never felt I had much in common with them.
In short, I had a wonderful experience with Maximo, but probably would not recommend staying there for more than 6 weeks, as it became exceedingly dull after a while. Antigua is a wonderful city, but there are only so many times you can clime Cerro de la Cruz, go to the markets, and eat at Monolocos until it begins to lose its appeal.

How can this program be improved?

Improve efforts to connect volunteers socially (besides having one party a month).

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jjs
Female
32 years old
Iowa City
JPY

More than expected!

9/10

From start to finish, my experience went very smoothly. The staff accomodated my request to arrive a couple days early. They picked me up from the airport and drove me to my home stay the first night. They even helped me arrange for a trip to El Salvador for some surfing before my volunteer work started. There was someone available 24/7 for problems or concerns, and opportunities for travel each weekend. The town of Antigua is full of cultural opportunities, night-life, great restaurants, and many other students, tourists, and volunteers.

My volunteer experience in the medical care of rural Guatemala provided exposure to the medical practices and care system of the country as well as opportunity to interact with local health care providers as well as rural Guatemalans. Having more than basic Spanish, would have been helpful however.

Speaking of Spanish, the language courses at Maximo Nivel were excellent. The teachers are very capable, understanding, and provide personalized Spanish education. I learned more in two weeks than in three years of previous language study.

Thank you!

About The Provider

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IVHQ (International Volunteer HQ) provides safe, unique, meaningful and extremely affordable volunteer programs in 35+ countries around the world, with a constantly expanding base. Programs are available in Asia, Africa, Europe, Central America, South America and the Pacific, where IVHQ works alongside local NGOs to

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