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Guatemala, the land of eternal spring, is an enchanting and magical country. The landscape is incredibly diverse and breathtakingly beautiful. Guatemala's highlands are blanketed in tropical rain forest, pine forests, and cloud forests with lakes scattered among the forest covered volcanoes. Guatemala is home to 33 active and inactive volcanoes, a dazzling array of plant and animal life, and a vibrant indigenous culture. The people of the highlands are predominantly Mayan and practice traditions that have been passed down for thousands of years. Ancient Mayan ruins are scattered throughout the country, reminders of Guatemala's legendary and mysterious past.

ELI works with community organizations throughout Guatemala to create opportunities for volunteers and interns to live within a Guatemalan community and experience the family and community oriented culture which has shaped modern Guatemala.

Each placement starts with intensive Spanish classes either in colonial Antigua or a small town outside the city. Participants in these programs will experience the warmth and hospitality of Guatemalans, the cultural richness, and the contrast in development in Guatemala.

Volunteer and Internship Programs

  • Youth


    Volunteer with Hogares Comunitarios

    The Guatemalan government sponsors the hogares comunitarios project aimed at helping the children from very poor neighborhoods by providing day care and meals. The day care centers are in the homes of women throughout the country. Each project has an average of 12 children from infants to six years old. The children are either from single parent households or households affected by alcohol or drug abuse.

    The children are provided with breakfast, lunch, and snacks each day along with educational activities and a safe place to spend the day. Volunteers with this program will help with meals, play with the children and are welcome to introduce early development activities such as simple English, basic math and more.

    Participants need to be flexible, take initiative, and be creative. Placements can be arranged in a variety of rural and city locations. Volunteers should have a high-beginner level of Spanish language and be comfortable in a 100% Spanish-speaking environment. Questions? Click here

    Apply Now

    After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

  • Women's Programs


    Woman Empowerment Programs

    ELI partners with women’s offices in the Highland region of Guatemala that advocate for women’s and children’s rights and provide services such as training, support and advice. These organizations focus on education, self-esteem, and other initiatives which give women the proper tools to improve themselves and their family's economic and social conditions. Programs center on issues such as domestic violence, women's rights, women's health, and economics/ entrepreneurial projects. Participants may help with different projects which strive to improve the living conditions of women including: training workshops on handicrafts, clothing, cooking, ceramics etc.; business training; presentations and forum discussions on home violence, leadership, women’s rights and health consultations. Questions? Click here

    Participants for this placement must be able to speak Spanish at an intermediate level and commit to at least 4 weeks.

    Apply Now

    After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

  • Teaching


    Education Programs

    ELI works with primary and secondary schools throughout the highlands region. Participants can help with teaching English or computer basics. Volunteers can either assist or take the lead with classes, and extra-curricular activities. Importantly, international volunteers provide the students with the unique experience of getting to know a foreigner and serve as mentors and role models to the students.

    Volunteers teaching English should have an intermediate level of Spanish. In some schools you will act as assistant to the teacher and once your confidence and ability have grown, you may be allowed to take classes on your own. In many of these schools, however, you will immediately begin as the primary instructor for a class. Aside from working with the students, participants may be asked to help train teachers and staff so that they can properly instruct students in the future.

    Life Skills Education Program

    Participants in this program will help create, teach and evaluate a variety of life skills classes aimed at high school students. Participants can be involved with subject matter that he/she feels most comfortable with, and wants to teach. In most situations, participants will be working with limited resources, and overworked & underfunded organizations. Participants need to be flexible, creative and resourceful. A good sense of humor can also come in handy.

    Volunteers and Interns must have a high-intermediate level of Spanish to teach computer classes and know computer-specific terminology. Volunteers and Interns with the life-skills program must have an advanced level of Spanish. This program has an 8 week minimum time commitment. The school year in Guatemala runs from February through November. Questions? Click here

    Apply Now

    After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

  • Microfinance


    Microfinance Internship

    ELI works with a variety of microfinance institutions (MFIs) that provide micro credits, training and business advice at a community level in Guatemala and have changed the lives of many small scale entrepreneurs.
    Interns work with Savings and Credit Cooperatives in Sololá and Quetzaltenango helping educate and train small businesses to identify, prioritize, program, execute, and evaluate development projects. Additionally, participants focus on increasing income, improving the environment for businesses, and helping businesses find new markets to work with.
    Experience within the fields of accounting, business administration, marketing, or finance is very helpful.

    This placement requires a minimum of 4 week commitment and an intermediate to advanced level of Spanish. Questions? Click here

    Apply Now

    After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

  • Health and Medical


    Public Health

    Work with government Health Posts that provide curative and preventative medicine. There are approximately 800 government & military sponsored health posts throughout the country. Participants will travel with a team of medical professionals to different posts in the Highlands region. Participants will not only help with patient visits, but will also engage in education outreach programs, teaching the community about healthy living.

    Medical Programs

    Volunteers with these programs can work on a variety of issues including: education, promotion, prevention and treatment. Participants will assist staff both in and out of the clinic. Tasks are assigned by the local staff based on what they feel is appropriate given a volunteer's background.This is a great opportunity for doctors, nurses, PAs, and medical students to learn about Guatemala health system while also giving back to the community in a very appreciated way.

    This internship requires at least a 4 week time commitment. Questions? Click here

    HIV/AIDS Programs

    ELI works with local groups that promote open communication, aimed at educating the public about HIV/AIDs. Participants in this program will learn about their host communities’ needs and from that help design and implement activities and workshops, awareness and education campaigns, and assist with documentation and evaluation of the campaigns. Questions? Click here

    Physical Therapy and Psychology

    Participants with an appropriate background in psychology can assist the staff in administering psychological tests to mentally handicapped children, work to create proper treatment strategies, and help provide counseling and support to the children and their families.

    Participants in physical therapy school can shadow and assist the two trained physiotherapists who work in the clinic. Tasks vary greatly depending on the intern’s skill level, language abilities, and the needs of the physiotherapists and the patients.

    Volunteer opportunities are open to health professionals and medical students on their last year of school. Internship opportunities are open to students who have completed their first year in medical school, nursing school or physical therapy school. Participants must have strong Spanish language skills and have a good grasp of medical vocabulary. Pre-meds may not apply for this program. Questions? Click here

    Apply Now

    After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

  • Conservation


    Sea Turtle Conservation

    Guatemala’s Pacific coast is the nesting ground of several species of sea turtles, including the Olive Ridley, Leatherback, Hawksbill, and Eastern Pacific Green. These turtles are keystone species in the health and function of marine and coastal habitats. However, threats from egg poaching, pollution, habitat destruction, and fishing bi-catch have put Guatemala’s turtle population at great risk. ELI works with local organizations in the conservation and protection of this ancient reptile. Volunteers will be able to contribute to this project through hands-on work and research at the local hatchery and throughout the costal villages. Duties will range from egg collecting to promoting environmental and conservation education to the surrounding communities. Volunteering with the turtle project will provide a unique opportunity to live along Guatemala’s beautiful Pacific coast while perfecting your Spanish in this small rural comunity. Questions? Click here


    Sustainable Farming

    ELI works with a variety of programs to help address the country’s agricultural and environmental challenges. ELI’s programs strive to assist poor communities in rural regions throughout the country through education and vocational training. In both aspects we work with local groups who teach responsible practices and sustainability. Volunteers may help at large education centers, or work with small local eco-communities. Locals receive education and assistance to improve their personal lives as well as better their communities. Educational centers train local farmers to improve their techniques, produce, and market their product. While the emphasis is on agriculture, these programs realize that the well-being of the farmers is just as important, and many institutions offer classes on basic hygiene, health, and literacy.

    Volunteers with this program must speak Spanish at a high intermediate level. Questions? Click here

    Apply Now

    After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

Guatemala - Programs

Cost and Details

  • Cost - Guatemala

    See our off-season discounts! Click here for a complete list.

    Length of Program Volunteer Medical Spanish
    2 Weeks US$836 US$895
    3 Weeks US$959  
    4 Weeks US$1145  
    5 Weeks US$1263  
    6 Weeks US$1382  
    7 Weeks US$1500  
    8 Weeks US$1618  
    9 Weeks US$1731  
    10 Weeks US$1839  
    11 Weeks US$1929  
    12 Weeks US$2012  

    Application Fee: $200
    The application fee is a separate administrative charge for all programs. It does not apply to the program fee. (Please see our application fee refund policy here

    Credit card payments: Payment by credit card will be assessed a 3.5% surcharge. This is the fee that we will be charged for the transaction. Contact us about alternative forms of payment.

    **Wildlife programs require an additional US$60 for every week.

    Apply Now

    After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

  • What's Included/What's Not

    Program Includes:

    *Airport Pickup in Guatemala City
    *Volunteer Placement
    *Accommodation With a Host Family
    *Breakfast and Dinner Each Day
    *24/7 In-country support

    Program Does Not Include:

    *Round-trip Airfare
    *Return trip to Airport
    *Required Travel and Medical Insurance

    Apply Now

    After you fill out the Application Form on our website, our Application Advisor will be in touch to help you with the next steps.

  • Spanish Classes

    Spanish Classes

    Classes are available for US$121 per week (20 hrs)

    Classes take place at a local language school in Santa Lucia Milpas Altas (15 minutes outside Antigua). Classes will take place the first week before you start your volunteer work. Special setups available upon request and availability

  • Accommodations


    Volunteers in Guatemala stay with local host families. ELI truly believes that this is the best way to fully immerse in another culture and get the most from an international experience. All families are carefully screened and are well-respected members of the community. Participants will have either a private or shared bedroom with secure storage (volunteer must provide own padlock). Bathrooms are shared with the host family. Volunteers will be provided with breakfast and dinner daily.

  • Start Dates

    Arrival Dates

    Start Dates: Should arrive on a Sunday.

    Arrival Airport: Guatemala City (Aurora International Airport). Code: GUA

    Airport pickup is available from 8 am-10:30 pm on Sundays.

    School Year: Mid January- Last week of October. Two-week break in mid July.

Guatemala - Cost and Details
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