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Volunteer Programs in North America

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North America is a beautiful continent that is home to the USA, Canada, Mexico and 21 other countries in the Caribbean Sea. From the fast paced, technologically advanced countries of the USA and Canada to the beautiful, tropical environments of Cuba, North America offers versatile environments in living styles, weather and governments.

North America’s countries face challenges just like any other continent. There are many programs available to help improve the lives of both humans and animals.

Conservation

With the increase of human population and its needs, many natural ecosystems have suffered. From loss of space and introduction of non native species, the United States has seen a dramatic decrease in the population of native species. Volunteers are needed for surveying land, tagging animals, park upkeep and educational promotions.To help out with conservation efforts there are many programs available. For example, Mexico's sea turtle conservation efforts include helping to run hatcheries, beach clean up and helping newborn sea turtles to the ocean after hatching.

Community Development

In the southern parts of North America several countries, including Costa Rica, El Salvador and Nicaragua, are in need of community development volunteers. Members of indigenous tribes and poorer villages are striving to become sustainable communities. Volunteers can help grass-root communities by educating them on agricultural methods, construction and fostering education for the younger generations. The Peace Corps website is a great resource tool to learn about the different areas you can help community development. For volunteers looking for shorter term opportunities, there are several organizations that can help coordinate a volunteer opportunity with local grassroots projects.

Teaching

Throughout the southern part of North America, there is a growing need for English teachers. By volunteering to teach English at a public school, orphanage or through an exchange program, individuals can help empower young students and adults. The chances for career success and stability are enhanced when citizens become bilingual. This allows them to communicate with people from other countries, attend universities in other countries and build global relationships between other businesses and foundations.

Many volunteer opportunities do not require a TEFL certificate. There are programs available with fees that include the cost of housing and daily needs during the duration. Otherwise, perhaps you will find an opportunity during your travels.

United States

The USA's wide landscape offers volunteers the ability to choose from volunteering with land or sea mammals. While your volunteer efforts might take place in the great wilderness, you could also find yourself in a city to help present data to a foundation. The USA is home to a diverse ethnic population in large cities. The southern states have been influenced by the Spanish and French cultures and you can enjoy hearing the Creole language in New Orleans.

Mexico

Mexico is the most populated Spanish speaking country in the world. It is known for its traditional songs and dances, such as the Jarabe Tapatio. With Mexico’s beautiful beaches you can enjoy the ocean and the beauty of Mexico that helped to establish many of its resorts. Mexican food is popular and can be found in several other countries at established restaurants. Holy Week takes place between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday and schools and government offices close. The most famous Passion play during this week takes place in Iztapalapa in the east of Mexico City. Arriving before this major religious event will take preparation as many hotels quickly fill up.

Cuba

With the new travel bans recently lifted, Cuba has become a huge country of interest. With it's rich culture and delicious food, it's clear why people are excited to visit. Also, because it's borders have been shut for so long, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities that people can become involved in, including teaching English and community development.

Helpful Tips

The cost to volunteer in North America varies greatly between countries. The United States and Canada are expensive countries to live in comparison to Costa Rica or Guatemala. Costs for living in the USA or Canada can be kept to a minimum by adequately packing proper clothing, finding shared housing and learning to shop for items on sale.

Other countries might offer hostels, cheap hotels and careful preparation may include finding an apartment share. If you truly want to embrace a cheaper lifestyle and the culture, live life a local. The differences in costs of living between your home country and your volunteer destination should be researched before making a final decision.

Vaccinations and travel alerts will be different between the USA/Canada and other parts of North America. You can generally find recommended vaccinations and alerts on government websites.

Contributed by Heidi Cruz

Showing 15 Programs

Mexico

International Volunteer HQ - IVHQ
Volunteer abroad in Mexico with IVHQ! Every year, hundreds of volunteers join IVHQ's highly affordable volunteer projects in...

Costa Rica

Global Vision International (GVI)
You can make a difference and volunteer with GVI in Costa Rica! From helping the local wildlife to working with underprivileg...

Mexico

Love Volunteers
Join Love Volunteers in Mexico for the volunteer experience of a lifetime! Love Volunteers offers several volunteer projects...

Costa Rica

Frontier
Located in Central America, Costa Rica is nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Pacific Ocean and is home to over 500,000...

Bahamas

GapForce
In the teaming waters around Andros island Gapforce groups work with the Bahamas National Trust to survey the Island’s valuab...

Jamaica

Projects Abroad
Join a Projects Abroad volunteer program in Jamaica! This is a unique opportunity to experience a side of Jamaica rarely seen...

Mexico

UBELONG
UBELONG offers 1-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in Merida, Mexico. Volunteer in one of these world-class projects...

Mexico

Adelante Abroad
Volunteer in Colonial Oaxaca, Mexico for complete language, community and cultural immersion. Oaxaca is one of the most biodi...

Mexico

GoEco
GoEco was created by experienced volunteers for people who are eager to travel and contribute to the community, wildlife and...

Mexico

The Shark Odyssey
Our volunteer program is open to world citizens with a passion for sharks and the marine environment. During the 2 week progr...

Mexico

International Service Learning (ISL)
ISL’s Baja Mexico program is an on-going humanitarian project that takes place in Puerto Peñasco, situated along the beautifu...

Cuba

Global Volunteers
Experience Cuba hand-in-hand in service and partnership with the Cuban people - for one to two weeks. Our affordable, tax-ded...

United States of America

Global Volunteers
Join Global Volunteers for one week in helping and understanding the Blackfeet culture as a volunteer. Your help is wanted to...

Guatemala

ELI Abroad
Guatemala is an enchanting and magical country - the landscape is incredibly diverse and breathtakingly beautiful! Volunteers...

United States of America

Westcoast Connection
This program was designed by the American Red Cross at its headquarters in Washington D.C. in partnership with Westcoast Conn...