Looking to volunteer in Central America? Then Guatemala might be a great choice for you! Volunteering abroad in Guatemala pairs your helpful contribution to a community with an opportunity to immerse yourself in the country’s native cultures, traditions, and cuisine. The combination of Volunteer in Guatemala service and fun could leave you with an enhanced resume, a new language, unforgettable life experiences, or all of the above. To sum it up, volunteering abroad in Guatemala could be a trip bursting with adventure!
Why Volunteer in Guatemala?
There are so many potential options when it comes to volunteering in Guatemala – lucky you! Programs in teaching, healthcare services, environmental protection, construction, and special needs could all possibly benefit from your help. And you could learn so much from Guatemala in return! You could immerse yourself in the Spanish language or delve into the welcoming culture. Simultaneously, you may be enhancing your own professional and academic skills. It’s a potential win-win situation.
What Might Life Be Like When I Volunteer Abroad in Guatemala?
Volunteering abroad in Guatemala has another benefit. That’s right, you get to live in Guatemala! With the Guatemalan culture right outside your front door, you could have a unique chance to submerse yourself into the local community – all while you use your skills to lend a helping hand. Perhaps you’ll enjoy sightseeing in the national parks. Or maybe the regional food will catch your interest! You could even have the opportunity to visit neighboring countries (or their beaches!) during your free time.
Here a few things you could experience on your journey through Guatemala:
It’s food: Guatemala’s food is known for being hearty and warm. Many of Guatemala’s signature dishes originated from native Mayan cuisine and have Spanish influences. Dishes often feature staples such as maize (corn), chilies, and black beans as key ingredients. Stews are also popular among Guatemalans: they often contain meats like beef, chicken, turkey, or root vegetables. Seafood stews are more common along the coast where the ingredients are more plentiful. Fruits and vegetables such as yucca, carrots, plantains, celery, cucumbers, and radishes are common healthy additions to their diet. Popular Guatemalan dishes include:
- Tamales: sweet corn dough filled with roasted meat and then steamed inside dry corn husks. This is popular with people who need a quick meal that travels well. They’re also a special meal to have during certain holidays.
- Guacamole: mashed avocado combined with onions, tomatoes, and spices. This is usually served with tortilla chips or with an entrée as a sauce.
- Pepián: a spicy, thick stew the combines a whole chicken with vegetables. It is a common meal in Antigua, a city located just outside of the country’s capital.
- Frijoles con arroz: better known as rice and beans. This side-dish usually accompanies main courses – no matter the time of day!
You could enjoy all these savory dishes alongside a cup of Guatemala’s popular drink: coffee. Locals typically drink their coffee sweet and with a little milk.
It’s Culture: Located in Central America, Guatemala is influenced greatly by its Mayan and Spanish history, as well as its neighbors: Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and El Salvador. The evidence of these cultures can be seen in its cuisine, architecture, and religious affiliations. Guatemala’s major religion is Roman Catholicism and many celebrate holidays like Advent, Christmas, Easter, and patron saint feast days. The Day of the Dead is another popular holiday, where Guatemalans honor their deceased relatives.
It’s Sights: There are many interesting sights throughout Guatemala. Some popular ones include:
- Lake Atitlan, located in the Guatemalan highlands, is an expansive volcanic lake. From the surrounding local towns, you may be able to glimpse the Indian’s Nose, one the large surrounding mountains.
- Pacaya Volcano is one of Guatemala’s most active volcanoes, with many hiking trails to explore.
- Tikal National Park is great place to view Mayan ruins full of ancient history.
In addition to these sights, Guatemala has city monuments, national parks, and other UNESCO World Heritage sites to explore.
How Do I Find a Perfect Volunteer Abroad Program in Guatemala?
If you’re looking for a program that could help a community in need, volunteering abroad in Guatemala could be the opportunity for you. To take the next step to finding a perfect program, browse the list of programs below. When you find one that matches your interests, either click on the program name or “LEARN MORE” to view relevant Volunteer in Guatemala program information. Ready to Volunteer in Guatemala? Sign up directly through the program’s site. Best of luck as you continue your journey to finding a volunteer abroad program in Guatemala!