Mexico

Projects Abroad

My time spent in Guadalajara, Mexico was a very rewarding experience. I traveled through Projects Abroad which arranged everything for me, from Hotel pickup, to housing, to a city tour. In addition, staff was always available to help organize weekend trips we volunteers may be interested in. I arrived in Mexico in the middle of March 2013 and stayed in Guadalajara on dental assignment for five weeks. My first two weeks were spent working alongside a private practice dentist. A typical day in the private practice entailed a 30 minute bus ride in the morning to the clinic, followed by an intensive 4 hour Spanish medical terminology and anatomy review. The review was interspersed with patient visits, which permitted opportunity to observe. At 2 PM or so, I would head home for lunch. Following lunch I would study dental articles and magazines to further my knowledge of the vocabulary and procedures. This required a lot of self motivating, especially after a big meal, but was my efforts quickly proved worthwhile. After my first two weeks I headed north for a long weekend in Mazatlan. I quickly made Mexican friends and was invited to stay in a friend's home not far from the beach. My time in Mazatlan was awesome. The weather was perfect, the beaches were packed and the festivities were abundant. It was impressive. The younger party goers would line the street the runs parallel to the beach and dance til sunrise. It was a beautiful sight. And, I had the opportunity to learn a dance native to Mexico. Upon my return to Guadalajara, I began working in a free hospital clinic. For me, this was much more fun. As previously addressed, the first two weeks required a lot of studying. The last two were a reward for all the hard work I had put in. The hospital clinic had 5 chairs with five to eight doctors (some of which were students). One chair was mostly dedicated to oral surgery. The others were for routine visits. The variety of cases I had the opportunity to observe was awesome. I also had the opportunity to assist on multiple oral surgeries. There was no typical day at the hospital, but this made it more enjoyable. There was, however, typically at least one oral surgery for me to observe or assist. While in the clinic, I learned to develop and interpret x-rays. I typically spent between 4 and 5 hours at the clinic, all before lunch. The clinic was a lot of fun, but it was definitely more enjoyable because of my two week introduction to medical terminology and Mexican Spanish in general in the private practice. My fifth and final week, my parents came to visit. We traveled to Puerto Vallarta, an exotic beach destination, for 3 nights, took the Jose Cuervo Tequila Express Tour (highly recommend) and toured the city of Guadalajara. My time in Guadalajara had the potential to be a truly tremendous, life altering experience. I simply needed more time there. I speak of its potential in this manner because I spent 5 months abroad in Spain as an undergraduate student and I can attest to the power of a trip of this length. A five-month period is long enough to significantly impact you as a person. Five weeks, on the other hand, permits you to make many acquaintances, one or two good friends, and an improved ability to communicate in the foreign language. My advice, wherever you travel, stay twice as long as I did. Cheers and good luck.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: May 22, 2013
Overall:
7
Support:
10
Value:
7

Global Vision International (GVI)

I recently embarked upon an incredible and life-changing two-week journey in the beautiful city of Playa Del Carmen, Mexico participating in the Childcare and Arts program. To start my week off I met up with my fellow volunteers, Josie, Christie and Tom who are also from Australia, and Camilla and Josh who are from the Isle of Mann and Canada.
Instantly I can’t believe how lucky I am to be spending two weeks in this fascinating place with such awesome people! Everybody has such amazing stories to tell, and I’ve had such a great time getting to know everybody. As this is my first volunteer trip abroad I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but everybody has been so welcoming. Mexican people are all very friendly and the culture here is so vastly different to the one I am accustomed to back home in Australia!
Family and love form a very strong basis of the values shared by the people here.
There is so much happening I almost don’t know where to look first! The streets are alive and buzzing with people selling everything from intricate little trinkets to the most delicious authentic Mexican cuisines!
In my first week we also began Spanish lessons at the local Spanish school. It has been an incredible learning curve trying to master a whole new language in the space of two weeks!
The highlight has been spending my time at the local Ludoteca (toy libraries) with the children and Ludotecarias. It is customary for both students and Ludotecarias (teachers) to greet visitors with a hug and a kiss! It is lovely to be immersed in a culture that is so affectionate and promote such strong values such as family, love and peace. The children are all so beautiful and friendly, and so enthusiastic to get to know us and where we come from. It is certainly a different world, coming from a highly industrialized country and working facilities into a place that is still growing and expanding. The Ludotecarias do an amazing job, and the children are all keen to learn and have such amazingly bright and positive attitudes! Their beautiful smiles are infectious and you can’t help but feel so happy to be there! It’s truly an incredible feeling to know you are making a difference. This has by far been the best, most rewarding and fulfilling experience of my life to date and I wish I didn’t have to leave! To anybody who is considering volunteering – DO IT! It will change your life in more ways than you can imagine!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: May 8, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Vision International (GVI)

5 weeks in Mexico were 5 of the best weeks of my life! I can't imagine how this trip could have been any better! Except maybe not having to wake up at 6am some mornings would have been good but once you set eyes on the sunrise across the ocean it all seems worth waking up for. In order to take part in this trip you can be anybody, it suits every type of person, you just have to be passionate about the outdoors and good at working with a team. It is adventurous and thrilling due to the diving and the creatures you see. But it is also relaxing because you always have time to enjoy the scenery and hammocks in the sun! The great thing about this trip is that if you can already dive it doesn't matter! You still get just as much out of it as people who can't dive. Meeting new people and the staff was one of the highlights amongst learning to dive, taking on duties and seeing incredible sea creatures. We were never short of a few laughs! I recommend this to everyone! Just remember to take mosquito repellent if your going in the summer!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Oct 4, 2011
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Original Volunteers

I don't want to write common phrases but unfortunately I can't write anything new: you'll love volunteering and you'll love Mexico Puerto Vallarta. It's a very different world out there and you really have to jump in and taste it. I knew I wanted to give back and help others but wasn't sure exactly how. This was my first trip and I enjoyed every minute of it. The kids and the OV coordinators were fantastic. The kids were a joy and OV gave me the opportunity to be part of something special. Try to smile to everyone and you'll get much more back for sure. The lack of resources in some centers and the poverty the children come from makes you realises how lucky we are. I had an incredible time and wonderful memories.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: May 21, 2011
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Vision International (GVI)

Before the trip, all of the office staff were very helpful. They answered all my questions as promptly and throughly as possible. The accommodations were basic, but nothing we hadn't been prepared for. The dive instructors were experienced and really helped me to become confident underwater. All the staff were very patient with teaching us and taught us all sorts of things about reefs and the ocean.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Jan 12, 2011
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Vision International (GVI)

I went away for five weeks to join GVI´s Marine conservation project. I been traveling quite a lot around the world, and this experience was really something special. The trip and the pre-departure preparations went smoothly and when arriving on the expedition base in the Sian Ka´an Biosphere reserve it felt like home. Great people and staff members. Interesting lesson, really good and interesting diving and all this just a few meters from the beach. This is a short story about how one of my days looked like in the Pez Maya expedition;
Epic day in Pez Maya!
Wednesday morning started as usually at 6 o´clock, but instead of doing my ordinary duties together with my hut roomies I went bird watching with Jaen. We saw this amazing sunrise while we did our transect along the mangroves and then we took a quick look over the bridge and saw a crocodile soaking up the morning sun, what a great start on this day.
After breakfast and boat push it was time for some diving! Me and Amy started to kitting up for our first actual monitoring dive (supervised by Stu..) So I, Amy, and some coral people, Alex boy and Renée jumped in the boat and captain Jaen headed towards our dive site of the day. After a few minutes we all heard Renée shouting Dolphins Dolphins!! And a couples of metros in front of us we saw them swimming around. Jaen slows down and the dolphins disappear, but before we know it they are back swimming along the sides of the boat!
The dolphins say goodbye and all of us are totally stoked from the encounter. We geared up, ready to jump in the water and start ´monitoring at the dive site called Punta Yuyum. It was a really good dive and we completed our monitoring transect with great success.
Then it was time to head back to the surface with our first collected data in our hands, and one of the main goals of this trip has been achieved. Before we reached the beach we were lucky to see two turtles having fun in the ocean so hopefully in a couple of weeks there will be baby turtles running down the Pez Maya beach!
Back to base I spent most of my time in the kitchen preparing todays dinner. We took a break from kitchen duties to help out with the boat push and take a swim in the beautiful turquoise warm water.
The rest of the day just fly by so quick, we had dinner, listen to the fun and interesting briefing about tomorrow´s dive, after that some people went straight to bed, others went on a scorpion hunt in Hut two, Laurie was running around like a mad dog and the rest just chilled ´out in the common area. Bedtime was just around the corner and when I was brushing my teeth, seeing all the fireflies’ sparks in the dark and the starry sky smiling at me, you realize that this is truly paradise!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Aug 29, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

Projects Abroad

Unlike my peers, I had not traveled all over the world. This was my first abroad trip and it was amazing. The two guys that pickied me up at the airport were kind and spoke great english. I stayed overnight at a hostel in Guadalajara. There I met three of my peers that would be going to the turtle camp. The staff was fun and took us out to eat at an Outback Steakhouse! I thought it was hilarious that my first night in a foreign country we went American!
The next day we set out early for Tecoman. The bus ride was approx 5 hours but the scenery was great. When we got to the camp after stopping in town, i was blown away by the ocean and the two Black turtles. I affectionatly dubbed them Gimpy and Peaches. Even though they only provided lunch there was stuff for dinner and breakfast. Even though the showers were saltwater, no one was really trying to bathe everyday anyway. :)
I absolutly got what I paid for. Everyone on staff was funny and personable. One favorite past time is to get together and play Volleyball. They are nice even if you do suck. lol.
I would recommend anybody travel through Projects Abroad, especially parents worried about their 17 year old girl traveling alone. This was absolutly an experience I will never forget!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Jul 29, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
7
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

My 17 year old daughter and her friend thought this volunteer company and its turtel camp in mexico would be a great opportunity..how wrong they were. The problems started with their transfer to the camp from the airport in guadalahara. It was meant to take 3 hours but took almost sxi hours on a public bus with every other person going that way that day!!!
Once in camp they realised how basic things would be....hygiene was not high on the list, running water was limited and the camp was infested with mice. They were to be given one meal a day, not made at the camp but brought in from local village, and never warm.
Cereal was provided for the mornings but as you can imagine was not really a choice the girls considered due to the mice!!
Friends suitcase which had some dried food in it got ravaged by the mice...obviously they were hungry too!!
Although the trip was meant to let them experience protecting , rehoming and counting turtles and their eggs they actually only got ot see this happening once in the whole trip which was meant to be 13 days but they came back three days early because of the conditions.
My daughet got scratched by a local dog and only got medical attention 24 hours later as no one was equipped ( now as a nurse this really concerned me) and her friend fainted three times because of dehydration and lack of nutrition. It took my daughet who is only 5'3" some time to drag her friend who is 5' 9" inot the shade and 30 mins to get assistance as no adults were available.
When they decided to leave early the were taken to the local bus and advised that they would have to pay the bus fare as the camp had no money to pay it, no what if my daughet had had no money on her?? would they have had to walk?? ..thankfully she did but it took several calls from me to the camp to make sure she would get the money back.
All in all I would NEVER EVER...recommend this company Projects Abroad to anyone ever again. My daughter has travelled all over the world on her own to visit family, friends and to volunteer elsewhere including Russia, America the middle east and has never had such a disappointing trip.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Jul 28, 2010
Overall:
0
Support:
2
Value:
0

Global Vision International (GVI)

Initially, I was very nervous, a foreign country, a total change of lifestyle, and many new people to meet. But within hours I believe that everyone already felt at home. The GVI staff were so friendly and welcoming that we soon all felt like family!
Of course Pez Maya was completely different from anything I have ever come across, with bucket showers, the beach on your doorstep and no electricity during the day, but it was a challenge and surprisingly soon life on base became second nature to us all. Right from the start life in Pez Maya was exciting.
Each morning we pushed the boats into the sea and the first dive left at 7.30am.
I came to Pez Maya not having done any diving but instantly I loved it. You dive twice a day, if you are a non-diver firstly you get your PADI qualifications, then you move on to fish or coal spots, then sizing, then monitoring practices and soon your a fully fledged monitor.
One of the many activities we managed on our Saturday afternoons and Sundays off was a Cenote dive at Dos Ojos, this was easily my best dive, the light streaming in from the small entrance above lit up the cave in a magical blue light so that you could make out the stalagmite and stalactite formations perfectly. All in all an unbelievable experience. On other weekends we went to Chichen Itza (one of the 7 new wonders of the world,) Coba and Tulum runis, and even Salsa lessons at La Zebra.
Part of being a volunteer at Pez Maya means that you have the opportunity to go to Punta Allen, a nearby village to teach English, the children are very friendly and their English abilities range from none to fluent therefore teaching is a challenge. When I was there I was also lucky enough to participate in "Punta Allen Verde" a day in which we helped the village raise money for their new recycle scheme. This involved a beach clean, a cake stand and a fun filled video made by the volunteers at Pez Maya teaching the children how to recycle! Moreover we had one or two Spanish lessons, and there was always a phrase of the week "sin bolsa plastico por favor" "no plastic bag please."
The diet whilst living in Mexico is mostly vegetarian, during my time as a volunteer I learned how to make bread, meatless meatballs and many other dishes that before I would never had tried but found that I actually enjoyed.
Incredibly during my stay I saw many amazing creatures including; a spotted eagle ray, a nurse shark, remoras (shark suckers,) iguanas, manatees, barracudas, groupers, turtles (loggerhead and hawksbill, both swimming and coming up the beach at night to nest)
Watching nesting turtles was an incredible experience, each week 4 of the volunteers headed off to turtle camp, during the night we patrolled the beach, sometime we were lucky enough to relocate the nests if they were too close to the shore.
Most importantly the people I met were wonderful, and for me this was the best thing. The staff are full of knowledge and always willing to help and of course the other volunteers were so much fun.
Being at Pez Maya I learnt to recognise over 200 fish, more about Oceanography, and I had an insight into the Mexican culture. I am sure I ave missed a bunch of things but my Pez Maya experience was FANTASTIC!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Jul 13, 2010
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
6

Global Vision International (GVI)

I had a great time when I participated in the Marine Conservation Program in Mexico last summer. About 20 volunteers from all around the world were trained to scuba dive and then monitor coral and fish on the barrier reefs just off the beach where we were living. It was a great experience, learning new skills and helping to protect a fragile environment. In addition to collecting valuable data, we cleaned up the beaches, taught English to some local army soldiers, and taught local school children about the importance of coral reefs. The GVI staff were friendly, helpful, knowledgable, and safety-oriented. They were well-respected in the local community as well. The other volunteers were fun to get to know and we soon became a closely knit family. We worked hard during the week and then had most of the weekend off, during which we traveled to local Mayan ruins, went diving or snorkeling in cenotes, or hung out in Playa del Carmen. I would highly recommend any volunteer opportunity through Global Vision International.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Mexico
Posted: Feb 21, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
8

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