Mexico

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

DON’T VOLUNTEER WITH IVHQ! We were taken in by their slick website and lists of testimonials but the truth is these people are only interested in your money. If you have a disruption in your plans or need to cancel for some reason you can kiss your cash good-bye. They informed us 2 weeks before we were scheduled to arrive conditions at the volunteer house where we would be accommodated might be "unhealthy". They told us we could upgrade the accommodation for an additional $220 US. This was AFTER we had paid them the balance of the $550 US they requested we pay them to volunteer for a week. We had previously submitted health information (requested by them) outlining special health requirements so they were well aware of that BEFORE we submitted our balance payment. The condition at the volunteer house forced my friend to cancel. My friend and I wanted to volunteer together. They also knew that. When we both asked for a full refund and they refused stating we were not within their 60 day guideline for cancellation despite the fact they gave us ONLY a 2 week notice of the situation at the house. IVHQ could not justify a reason for withholding a refund (they said it was for “preparation for arrival” which is total BS). To add to that my friend wanted to teach Spanish and they told her she couldn’t volunteer in that role unless she took 2 courses from them at a price of over $400 US. Her parents are from Peru and she speaks fluent Spanish. We have both volunteered around the world and are over qualified for this kind of service. Bottom line is: IVHQ has no interest in your volunteer passion. They are business not a charity and they only want your money.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Sep 20, 2017
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1

Projects Abroad

I like to volunteer with Projects Abroad! It was a really fun experience to volunteer in Cuyutlan, Mexico. I joined the Sea Turtle Conservation program, which aimed to take care of the sea turtles. The most interesting part was to pick up the baby turtle eggs near the sea in the morning. You can see the most beautiful view of the world near by the sea in Cuyutlan. Also, picking up the eggs, seeing the small turtles growing up and putting them back to the sea was meaningful to me. It made me feel that I did help them live. Anyways, it was a special and enjoyable experience to live and take care of the sea turtles and other animals. It was a great volunteer program to join to get close to sea turtles and know more about their behaviors or features.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Sep 11, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

Visiting Mexico and participating in the medical internship through Projects Abroad was probably one of the best experiences I have ever had! As a high school student, I was able to see and do things I never thought I would be able to. During my stay, not only was I given the opportunity to tour the city of Guadalajara, I was able to work alongside doctors and nurses at local hospitals and observe several patients. In regards to the program itself, Projects Abroad provides the best service; I had a wonderful project coordinator who made sure I was always safe and getting the resources I needed in order to get the most out of this once in a lifetime experience!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Aug 18, 2017
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
9

Projects Abroad

My experience as a volunteer in Mexico is something I will never forget. It being my first time traveling alone and not knowing exactly what to expect, I was very nervous, but mostly excited, leading up to my departure. As soon as I landed in Guadalajara and was met by a Projects Abroad staff member I knew everything was going to be fine. All my transportation was very organized and I felt safe the whole time. Once we arrived in Cuyutlán where I would be staying for the next two weeks, I received a tour of the town, camp, and place where I would be volunteering, called El Tortugario. I also met the other staff and volunteers that I would be working with. Over the next two weeks, I got to meet people from all over the world, work with amazing animals, practice my Spanish, and eat some really good authentic Mexican food. I came back home a more independent, open-minded, and compassionate person, and I am forever grateful for the awesome experience I had as a Projects Abroad volunteer in Mexico.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Aug 16, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

After spending months trying to decide which summer program to participate in, I chose Projects Abroad for the summer of 2017 because I wanted a program that really needed volunteers and would not just have us do busy work. The turtle conservation program in Mexico was the perfect fit!

All of the staff spoke both English and Spanish and were incredibly helpful! We started learning about our work at the Tortugario Ecologico (the nature reserve) as soon as we got there. The activities ranged from washing the adult and baby turtles to cleaning turtle tanks, feeding the iguanas, planting mangroves, completing a bird census, etc. The ther volunteers I was working with were super friendly. The majority of us were from the United States but there were also a few people from places all over the world, including as far away as Norway. We all got along extremely well and I am still in contact with a few of them today.

We spent the next two weeks doing hard but rewarding work with a small weekend trip to a beautiful beach town called Melake. The entire trip was amazing and passed in the blink of an eye. I was genuinely sad to be leaving both the other volunteers and the staff behind and I definitely want to go back next summer!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Jul 8, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Frontier

The central america trail was excellent and i thoroughly enjoyed myself. It all ran smoothly and there were no problems. The camp in Costa rica was also run incredibly well, and the store, showers, running water and toilet were all pleasant surprises.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Mexico
Posted: Jun 21, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Frontier

The project was a new experience. A lot of hard work but I think it's something that builds character. I'm hapy I did it, I feel a lot more world wise. After this I can do anything and eat anything! Thanks you Chloe for all the hard work you put in to the trail.

Program: Gap Year
Location: Mexico
Posted: Mar 14, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

This winter, I had the privilege of spending two weeks volunteering through Projects Abroad in Guadalajara, Mexico. As a student pursuing a career in medicine, I knew I wanted to do medically-related volunteer work abroad. After looking at what felt like hundreds of different programs, I decided to go with Projects Abroad. As my first solo international trip, I was a little nervous about accommodations and safety. The Projects Abroad staff were incredibly helpful and kind, and eased any worries my parents and I had.

Once I arrived in Mexico, a Projects Abroad staff member met me at the airport and took me directly to my host-family's house. The second I walked in the door, I felt like I was home. The next day, a staff member showed me around my work site (one of the hospitals in the city) and introduced me to the workers in the hospital. Then I was shown how to use the bus system and how to get to the city center, along with some of the popular sights of the city.

In the hospital, I shadowed the medical interns and doctors in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department. Though I had originally intended to work in Pediatrics, I found a new love in "Gine". Through general care and surgery, my eyes were opened to just how different healthcare is abroad.

Volunteering with Projects Abroad was an amazing opportunity and one that I will never forget!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Feb 3, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
10
Value:
8

Comments

Thank you for sharing your experience! Volunteering in a Medicine & Healthcare internship abroad in a developing country is indeed a great way for you to learn how differently Medicine is practiced in other cultures. It's good to hear you were exposed to a new department and that you enjoyed it so much! Our local staff is always happy to help make your experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. We are glad to hear you enjoyed your time in Guadalajara so much.

Sol Education Abroad

I had never been out of the country before going to Oaxaca, Mexico this winter. I can easily say now that it was the best adventure of my life. The food was great, the culture was different and exciting, the city was beautiful, and the classwork was actually interesting. I made some fantastic friends and I can't wait for my next adventure with Sol!

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Jan 25, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Original Volunteers

I spent one month in the Original Volunteers Project in Mexico, two in their project in Peru and six weeks in their project in Ecuador. The first thing I will say is that I had an incredible time. I met some amazing people, had some incredible experiences and overall thoroughly enjoyed the projects.

However, if you are looking into doing any of these projects I would recommend getting in touch with the coordinators in the countries rather than using Original Volunteers for the following reason:

If you book directly with the coordinators out there you will be working on the same projects however it will be much cheaper. For example, in the ELIM orphanage in Peru I was paying much more than volunteers who had come directly and were paying the rate that the coordinator was asking for. Not only that, but the volunteers who had come through Original Volunteers (myself included) had paid the organisation before arrival and this money had not reached the orphanage. I was also told when I arrived in Ecuador that the coordinators there had had the same issue in the past with Original Volunteers not sending them the money the volunteers had paid.

My other issue with Original Volunteers was the vagueness of the descriptions of the projects themselves. I went out to Mexico not really knowing what to expect but assuming I would be working with underprivileged children. This wasn't the case. We were working on three projects there; one in a kindergarten, the second with disabled teenagers and adults and the third in a women's home. The children we were working with three times a week in the kindergarten came from wealthy families and the center itself was well-staffed, clean and catered to the children's every need. It was clear that our help was not needed there and we spent most of our time just sitting in the classroom while the teachers taught the children. The other two projects were great and I would have liked to have spent more time working on those ones had there been a bit more structure.

My time in Peru was excellent and if you do choose that project be prepared to get totally attached to the children in the orphanage (they are so adorable!) I would highly suggest taking part in this project; accommodation is provided and they are happy for you to explore Machu Picchu and all the amazing sights nearby in your spare time. Again, I would suggest you book it directly via their website; I will put the links at the bottom of my review.

Lastly, the projects in Ecuador were fantastic- totally different from anything I had ever experienced. If you like a bit of adventure and being taken out of your comfort zone this would be the place for you. I was working in the jungle with rescued animals for one month and then spent two weeks living with a community and learning about their customs and traditions.

So overall, I would highly recommend the projects I took part in but I would not recommend using Original Volunteers to do them.

Here are the links to the projects themselves:

http://www.fairien.at/english/volunteer-peru/

https://www.ecuadorvolunteer.org/en/

Program: Gap Year
Location: Mexico
Posted: Aug 23, 2016
Overall:
6
Support:
5
Value:
6

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