Wake up hearing the rooster crowing and a few kids from the orphanage downstairs asking if you’ll take them to the beach today — an afternoon splashing in nearby Caribbean waters with an armful of your favorite kids is something you can’t say no to.
Haiti’s bright culture and friendly attitude certainly pairs well with the warm sunny weather in this country, all but covering up the poverty-stricken and natural-disaster-ravaged nation. Not that you’d be able to tell based on the massive smiles of the kids you’re teaching from both the orphanage and local families in the area. You’ll have a hard time saying goodbye to sipping out of fresh coconuts, tropical weather and impromptu dance parties with the kids you live with in the orphanage, that’s for sure.
EXPLORING THE CARIBBEAN —
While traveling throughout Haiti is a bit limited because of a lack of infrastructure and roadways, there are several spots that volunteers love to see during their semester – you actually live so close to the turquoise blue coast that you can visit any weekend! We also recommend heading over to neighboring Dominican Republic for a week long vacation.
Cap-Haitien, Haiti — Make your way to the northern coast to visit one of the most popular spots in Haiti. Ride horses up to the Citadelle on the hill before taking a boat to a secluded beach on the coastline (close to where cruise ships come!).
Les Cayes, Haiti — Head southwest to get away from the city noise and relax on the much less crowded beaches, play in waterfalls, and discover a more tropical part of Haiti.
The Western coast, Haiti — Have a stay-cation! You live 20-30 minutes from a gorgeous coastline, so why not stay and enjoy it? There’s a particular resort resting on a beautiful beach that volunteers love spending a few days of living the high life, lounging around, and splashing in the waves at.
Jarabacoa, Dominican Republic — A favorite destination tucked away in the lush green central part of the D.R. full of plenty of options for adventure. Ride horses to a waterfall, go white water rafting, paragliding, ATVs and more!
Punta Cana, Dominican Republic — Take your vacation in style as this is one of the most popular getaways on the island for tourists, full of resorts and pristine beaches. It’s also the perfect jumping off point for other popular day trips that we love like Isla Saona and Santo Domingo.
Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic — Check out this city where another ILP group calls home! Relax on a number of beaches along the coastline (or even head out to Paradise Island which is just as beautiful as it sounds), take a cable car ride up the mountain to get a view and visit the towering Christ statue, and slide your way through a natural pool system known as “27 Waterfalls”.
Samana, Dominican Republic — Stay in an actual tree house for your vacation which ends up being a major highlight for just about every volunteer that comes! Ride bikes the beach, swing from rope swings at the base of a waterfall, go snorkeling and island hopping, zip lining, and visit Los Haitises National Park.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic — Don’t skip the country’s capital, which is bursting full of so much Spanish influence in the town’s center that you might wonder if you stepped right into Europe for the day. Ride bikes around the town before heading out for a boat tour around caverns at Los Tres Ojos National Park.
Barahona, Dominican Republic — Ready to break free of the touristy spots? Head southwest to this remote (but just as beautiful) surfer’s paradise. Go zip lining over the tropical forest, swim and enjoy the beach, and hike through the rainforest to emerald pools.
PROGRAM DETAILS —
Live in the orphanage compound with your fellow volunteers, your coordinator, and of course the kids! There is usually around 10 volunteers in your group and it’s like a big family here, so it gives you a chance to get really close to everyone. Fill up on fresh local dishes like rice, beans, plantains, pasta (even spaghetti!), and the juiciest fruits. Creole is spoken here, but you’ll also encounter some French as well if you want to practice that.
Check out what a typical day looks like for an ILP volunteer and can’t miss experiences in Haiti here.
Spring Semester: Depart early January — return home the end of April.
Summer Semester: Depart the end of April or early May — return home the middle of August.
Fall Semester: Depart the end of August — return home the middle of December, just in time for Christmas.
You’ll be making a difference by helping children (both the kids in the orphanage and children from families in the neighborhood who come from limited means) learn English through our Humanitarian Program up to 20 hours per week. No experience is needed, we provide training on our teaching method.
$3,720 — Includes your roundtrip airfare to Haiti, visa, housing, meals, language and culture classes, and training and support throughout the entire experience.
ILP volunteers live in Saint-Marc, a city on the western coast of the country.
... it has been the thing I have loved most about being here.
“We have the unique opportunity of living with a number of the kids that we teach. We get to have dance parties with them, give lots of hugs and snuggles, often time the younger kids will fall asleep while you hold them, the older girls like to FaceTime your family and one of the students has become so close with my family because of that opportunity.
You want to give EVERYTHING to these kids because they have so little. But the thing I have realized, is that the best thing I can give each of them is my time and my love. ALL the time. We get so close to these kids because of the time we get to spend with them and it has been the thing I have loved most about being here.”