If you want to make a difference while experiencing life in the tropics, consider volunteering in Belize. Spend a week, a season, or even a year putting your talents to work making the world a better place. Programs could be available short and long-term, in a variety of areas. You could work with animals or the environment, help children learn, support community development and more. And you could do all that while getting an unmatched international experience.
Why Volunteer in Belize?
Volunteer programs in Belize could be an opportunity not just to affect somebody else’s life, but also to change your own. How so? You could put yourself to the test helping others while learning about the world and your place in it. After all, volunteering abroad is more than just a vacation. Volunteering means getting your hands dirty, either literally or metaphorically, to do something that really matters.
But why choose Belize for your volunteer experience? For one, it could be an opportunity to live and work in Central America without a language barrier. The official language of Belize, after all, is English. It’s also diverse, in more ways than one. The local population is a blend of Maya, Creoles, Garinagu, Mestizos, and a variety of other international cultures. And that’s not all. From cities to jungles to pristine coastlines, the Belize landscape is as diverse as its people. With all that in mind, it’s no wonder you could find so many unique and fulfilling volunteer opportunities here.
Volunteer Opportunities in Belize
Volunteering in Belize isn’t only about the destination. It’s about using your time and skills to make an impact. And potentially getting useful real world experience in an area that interests you. Choosing an opportunity that matches your goals is an important part of that. Whether you want to play to your strengths, expand your horizons, or both, a variety of projects could be out there for you to work with.
Here are a few examples of how you might volunteer in Belize:
- Economic Development: If you’re looking for projects to make an impact on a community-wide scale, economic development could be the path for you. Projects could range from helping local businesses thrive to helping people get job training. You might even be able to assist with infrastructure development. A variety of unique opportunities may be available. The specifics for you might depend on your background, experience, and education.
- Education: Love helping people learn? Education volunteering could be one way to make a real impact on people’s lives. You could help provide childcare services to young children. You might also help adults learn to speak a new language, provide assistance in a real classroom, and more! Some projects might need you to have a background in education. Others might provide the training you need, even if you’ve never taught before.
- Environment & Conservation: Passionate about nature? A variety of unique environmental volunteering opportunities may be available in Belize. You could explore the jungles and help protect natural plant and animal habitats. You might help sustain Belize's beautiful coral reefs. Or you could help educate people on the importance of protecting the natural world. And these are only a few examples of the many ways you could make an impact on the environment as a volunteer in Belize.
- Healthcare: Healthcare volunteer projects in Belize could be a unique way to get experience. This could be the case whether you're new to healthcare, exploring your options, or an experienced professional. You might be able to help provide essential health services in remote areas, educate people about how to stay healthy, and more. Some projects might need specific experience and education, especially if you’ll be treating patients directly. Follow up with the program you’re looking at for details.
- Social Services: If you love making an impact in individual people’s lives in your community, social services projects could be up your alley. This could include working with children in an orphanage, helping improve access to important health, safety, education, and employment services, and more. This might be a great way to gain exposure to the many different cultural groups in Belize. The specifics depend on the project you choose to work with.
- Translation: Have a flair for language? Consider volunteering your services with translation projects in Belize! While English is the official language, in such a diverse country, it’s hardly the only language. Languages you could work with include Spanish, Belizean Creole (or Kriol), and a variety of indigenous languages.
This is just a sampling of possible volunteer in Belize opportunities. When choosing your program, remember that volunteer projects could be offered on a variety of schedules. You could opt to stay and volunteer in Belize anywhere from a week to a full year. Additionally, each project might require certain skills or experience, while others might provide all the training you need. So check all the prerequisites before you apply, and make sure you ask them questions! Follow up with individual programs for more details.
Belize is a culturally, ethnically, and geographically diverse country in Central America. It shares borders with both Mexico and Guatemala, and is the only Central American country not to have a coastline on the Pacific Ocean.
Like its neighbors, Belize’s cultural heritage was heavily influenced by the Maya, who lived there for centuries before the arrival of the Spanish Empire, and later the British. Today, the influences of indigenous cultures, Caribbean, British, and Spanish, all come together to form a fascinating and diverse local culture. That includes a variety of religious traditions and languages for you to explore.
Belize is also known for its beautiful natural resources. From the Belize barrier reefs off the coast, to mountains, jungles, and rivers, it’s no wonder eco-tourism draws international travelers here. (And plenty of environmentally minded volunteers.) In fact, the Belize Barrier Reef is a UNESCO World Heritage site, home to one of the most diverse ecosystems in the world.
But that’s not all Belize has to offer. Many volunteer in Belize programs may be anchored in and around cities and towns. If you’re looking for a more urban lifestyle, here are a few of the cities you might volunteer in.
- Belize City: This is the largest city in Belize. It also used to be the capital. Belize City is located right on the Caribbean coast, on a peninsula.
- Belmopan: The current capital of Belize, Belmopan is located near the center of the country, farther inland. With a variety of historic and eco-tourism options, not to mention shops, markets, and museums, there might be a lot to do in Belmopan in your down time. And as the capital, it’s also where a number of international embassies are located.
- Dangriga: One of the most notable places to visit (or volunteer!) in Dangriga is the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary, which protects a variety of wildlife including jaguars and tapirs. Dangriga has also been referred to as “The Culture Capital,” because of its unique Garifuna culture and punta music traditions.
- San Ignacio: Referred to locally as Cayo, San Ignaicio is an inland city on the Macal river. It boasts a variety of ecological, historical, and cultural attractions that draw visitors from all over. San Ignacio actually used to be two towns: San Ignacio and Santa Elena. That’s why sometimes the area is referred to as “The Twin Towns.” Now, the two are more or less contiguous.
Find Volunteer in Belize Programs Today
Want to get started working in Belize to make a difference? Now that you know a bit more about your potential options, it's time to search for programs with StudyAbroad.com. You can narrow down your options by selecting your preferred project duration (ranging from a week to a year), city, or work type from the menu. Then read about each program that matches your criteria. Once you find some that might be a good fit, click on the program names to learn more and get in touch.