VOLUNTEER IN MEXICO

Risk falling head over heels in love with the Mexico you can’t see on a cruise stop or a spring break trip. Come for cascading waterfalls, and deep emerald pools you can swim in … and stay for the vibrant culture. Mexico is full of new adventures like ziplines through the jungles and old adventures, like soaking in natural hot springs.

This country envelopes all of your senses the minute you get off the plane; Hear music spill out from the city square, taste spicy cinnamon in your iced horchata, juicy sweet strawberry agua fresca and settle the battle of who has the best tacos el pastor between neighboring taco carts. It’s easy to see why volunteers don’t want to leave.

THE EXPERIENCE

Forget about what you think a semester in Mexico is all about, and get ready for adventures on adventures in this country. Volunteers are living in Central Mexico, away from the crowded cruise-port beaches, but right in the center of what we think is the best part of the country. Weekend trips to a dozen colorful cities are just a $5 bus ride away. You’ll be living in quiet cities, just a walk away from your favorite taco stand. Here, it’s easy to stay totally in touch with the local culture. There’s plenty of vacation time to explore the dreamy beaches and crumbling Aztec ruins, but your day to day adventures look a little bit like this …

Glimpse a day in Mexico

Wake up to your ILP group getting ready for the day. Your whole group lives in a house or an apartment in a local neighborhood, so it’s like one big sleepover every night. Groups here are small, about 4-7 volunteers who all live, teach, and travel together.  It makes for a tight-knit group experience that’s for sure. Breakfast is yogurt and cereal today (you get a stipend and shop at local markets), but don’t worry, you’ll also have some local food, too! All three meals will be provided to you whether that’s by a stipend or by a cook.  Plan on a mix of local dishes and meals you cook yourself during your semester. Your ILP semester is focused on experiencing the culture and the food is definitely a part of that. You’ll have authentic Mexican food cooked for you for lunch (and maybe dinner) and we’re guessing you probably recognize at least a few dishes. Plan on things like tacos, sopas, aztec cake, thick tortillas, soups filled with potatoes and corn, plates of rice, and spicy sauces. Volunteers also love trying out their favorite dishes around their city. Finding the best churro stand, taco place, and elote cart is something you have to do before coming home! 

After cleaning up breakfast, it’s time for teaching. Depending on your schedule you may teach in the morning, have lunch, and head back home. Or you may have a couple of hours before walking to school for lunch then teaching. You’ll want comfortable shoes to wear for all the walking you’ll do during your semester! Since teaching is only part time, you have quite a bit of free time … maybe more than you anticipated. It’s easy to work on your Spanish and pick up the language which is one of the definite highlights of this country. You’ll be so proud of yourself after ordering a meal or being able to make new local friends when you’re out exploring your city.

One huge perk of this country is the affordability and all the travel opportunities. You’re welcome to explore places in Central America (like Costa Rica, Nicaragua or even Peru) but there is so much to be seen in Mexico, at such a low cost. From where you’re living, buses are just a few dollars to get to you a dozen cities, close enough for any weekend. Explore a set of turquoise hot springs set in a jungly canyon or wake up early for sunrise hot air balloon festival in Leon.  Next, head to the mecca of leather shoes in Leon. And of course, you can’t forget the beaches! Come to spots tourists miss on a classic cruise and hang out on sandy shores all to yourself. 

Here, you can find some of the same adventures you can have in our Humanitarian Programs like Costa Rica and Nicaragua, but with Mexico, you get our most budget-friendly program price.

TEACH ENGLISH TO KIDS IN MEXICO

You’ll be making a difference by helping children learn English through our Exchange Program up to 20 hours per week. No experience is needed, we provide training on our teaching method!

Volunteering and Costs

$2,520 — Includes your roundtrip airfare to Mexico, visa, housing, meals, language and cultural experiences, and training and support throughout the entire experience. 

This country is probably our most budget friendly to live in, especially since you can also earn a discount for referring a friend to come to Mexico with you!

Mexico is one of our Exchange Programs which is the affordable option while still giving you all the perks of a classic ILP experience. We’re able to keep your costs so low because your student’s family helps subsidize the program for you by paying a fee to have their child attend ILP classes.

Here, volunteers will be teaching kids who are range of ages: older kids who speak well enough to answer your questions with some sass, and younger students who’d rather chatter with their friends in Spanish (but are oh so cute). The program here is growing, with neighborhoods who are really interested in the English classes and your service of teaching. Some teaching days may include “trial classes” where students come for the day to see what classes are like.

In typical Mexico style, the teaching schedule fluctuates and changes a bit. Teachers need to be ready to adjust to several changes. These changes aren’t just in the school; even buses don’t stick to a strict schedule! If you’re not a huge planner who loves a set schedule, you’d be a great fit for the laidback culture found in this country.

WHERE
Volunteers live in central Mexico, in the state of Guanajuato: Irapuato and San Jose Iturbide

WHEN
—Spring: Depart early to mid January – return end of April
—Summer: Depart end of April or early May – return middle of August
—Fall: Depart end of August – return middle of December, just in time for Christmas

WHO
—4-7 volunteers in a group
—Single males/females and married couples
—18-about 25ish years old
—US and Canadian volunteers
—No experience needed!

EXPLORING CENTRAL AMERICA

The best part about Mexico is all the travel. So many of our favorite spots are just hours away from your home, meaning you can take a trip just about every weekend if you want to! During your vacations you can explore a bit further and see other parts of Mexico or you could even take a flight down to Costa Rica, Nicaragua, or Panama. Mexico is definitely the place to go if you want see and do as much as you can on a budget.

Puerto Vallarta — Beaches, snorkeling, fresh fruit smoothies, ancient ruins, and more? This place has all that vacation life has to offer.

Grutas de Tolantongo — Head to this favorite spot and go ziplining, hike to waterfalls, swim in hot springs overlooking the canyon, and explore caves. So. Fun.

Querétaro — The streets of Querétaro are filled with colorful walls and picture perfect views. Come see creamy yellows, sherbet oranges and dreamy pinks, plus towering cathedrals.

Leon — See a hot air balloon festival at sunrise! Or visit the central market and bring home a suitcase of those famous leather shoes we all love. After all, Leon is called the shoe capital of the world.

Cancun — Head to world famous Cancun. Swim with dolphins and around coral reefs and visit an underwater museum. Take a day trip to visit the Chichen Itza ruins to check a World Wonder off your bucket list!

Tulum — Dive into pools of crystal clear water in Tulum’s cenotes, or lounge on pristine beaches … Tulum has both! This getaway is also home to one of the most famous (and gorgeous) set of Mayan ruins. It’s a favorite vacation spot, that’s for sure.

Guanajuato — One of the most colorful cities in Mexico and so close to where volunteers are living. Visit on any weekend, easily. Bring your pesos because shopping is a dream here. It’s a volunteer favorite.

Puerto Escondido — This is one of our most favorite beachy vacations! Head south to release baby sea turtles, go paddle boarding in the bluest of waters, and at night, swim with glowing plankton.

Guadalajara — Get a feel for the culture by visiting this historic city. See the sights, the buildings, the murals, and a show at the opera. Guadalajara is one of the quintessential cities to experience while in Mexico.

The San Luis Potosi Waterfalls — Come splash in a series of waterfalls in this part of the country. You can take a canoe tour through a deep canyon to see the thundering Tamul waterfall or rope swing into a hidden oasis … but we recommend making time for both!

San Miguel De Allende — It’s called “the prettiest city in Mexico” for a reason. Hang out in the big city square sipping horchata and watch the sun set over the impressively gorgeous Parroquia de San Miguel Arcangel. Did we mention this gem is close enough to visit on the weekend?

Monteverde, Costa Rica — Cloud Forests are iconic in Costa Rica and this is one-top spot for experiencing these dense jungles. Hike across bridges suspended over the treetops and get views of the thick green jungles from the clouds.

Granada, Nicaragua — Wander colorfully painted streets, kayak through a nearby island chain … and don’t forget to meet up with the other ILP volunteers who call this city home.

Mexico has been so good to me ...

“Mexico has been so good to me. Since the moment I stepped foot off the plane, I have felt nothing but welcome in this country. The open-armed warmth and kindness of the people I have met here is something I will never forget. Thank you, Mexico.”

— Aubrey