When You Want to Learn Spanish...


Guatemala owns the bragging rights for being the best in Central America, if learning Spanish is among your top goals. Our local partners in Xela are experts at helping participants develop and sharpen their language skills as well as connecting them with local community projects that are in need of knowledgeable, helping hands. 


In your free time, hike to one of the many volcanoes or soak in the springs of Aguas Calientes. Engage with the myriad of indigenous Mayan cultures. Visit the villages that line Lake Atitlan. Learn how to make chocolate. Explore the vast mysteries of Ancient Mayan civilizations.

Choose from SIX (6) community-based projects in and near Xela (Quetzaltenango), beginning the first and third Monday of each Month.

Volunteer Placement Options Include:

Women's Rights

This project is a collaborative effort between the Guatemalan government and various local organizations that are committed to women’s empowerment. Together, they work to educate rural Guatemalan women concerning their rights, health and gender issues; teach them English and how to produce crafts (food, chocolate, pastries, costume jewelry, etc.) The skills and knowledge that the women obtain are applied in their everyday world. For example, goods that they make, are sold so that they can become financially self-sufficient and further their independence.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities:

  • Conduct lectures and workshops concerning the following topics: gender, women’s rights, women’s health. Note: The women served by this project work to support themselves and their families so this activity depends on their work schedules and availability.
  • Help the women to develop life-skills or observe life-skill courses centered around handicrafts, cooking, and pastry making.
  • Teach English
  • Provide administrative support


Must be female 18 years or older. Intermediate Spanish level required.

Medical Clinic

The major causes of death in Guatemala are heart disease, bronchitis, and influenza – conditions that are treatable and preventable in more developed countries. Trained doctors, nurses, and midwives are needed to help support an understaffed and underfunded healthcare system.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities:

  • Provide preventative health education
  • Conduct routine patient intake
  • Observe medical cases
  • More substantive responsibilities may be assigned at the medical supervisor’s discretion


Must be a trained and licensed healthcare professional and have an intermediate Spanish level. Documentation of medical credentials and career vitae must be provided prior to arrival.

Orphanage / Daycare

Children are left at home with older siblings or grandparents for long periods of time while parents work multiple jobs or shifts to afford the family’s basic needs. In other situations, the children travel to work with their parents because there is no family support system to help care for them. Worse yet, some children are forced to work to bring additional income into the household, only to end up homeless or orphaned.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities:

  • Assist project staff with caring for and nurturing the children
  • Help children with homework
  • Organize games and recreational activities – dance, music, soccer, and similar activities
  • Help with facility maintenance and upkeep, and meal preparation


Must be at least 18 years of age and have an intermediate Spanish level.

Special Needs Care for Children

This project provides a stimulating learning and therapeutic environment for children living with disabilities so that each child can achieve their maximum physical, cognitive, and emotional development potential.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities:

  • Observe and assist with therapeutic modules
  • Organize educational and recreational activities
  • Administer physical and speech therapies, provided you have the necessary skills and qualifications
  • Provide psychological counseling assistance, if you have a degree in psychology or a related field, and can communicate effectively in Spanish
  • Provide social work services, if the volunteer has a relevant degree


Must be and least 18 years of age, possess substantive and relevant experience working with children living with disabilities, and an intermediate Spanish level. Documentation of experience and credentials must be provided prior to arrival.

Street / At-Risk Children

This project conducts outreach to street children living in Guatemala’s back alleys, garbage dumps, parks, and cemeteries. Children receive the tnecessary tools to live healthy, positive, and productive lives.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities:

  • Help provide life and job skills training to older children
  • Participate and help conduct group counseling/therapy sessions
  • Teach core subjects, health and hygiene to elementary school children
  • Help with facility maintenance and upkeep, and meal preparation


Must be at least 18 years of age and have an intermediate Spanish level.

Teaching English in Local Schools

Because there are over twenty spoken languages, and a limited curriculum only 31 percent of individuals age 15 years and older cannot read and write. The aim of this project is to help undergird Guatemala’s poorly funded, understaffed school system so that better learning outcomes can be achieved.

Here are some possible volunteer responsibilities:

  • Teach English and other core subjects
  • Assist teacher’s with developing lesson plans
  • Help teachers to learn English
  • Assist children with homework
  • Organize constructive learning activities and games


Must be at least 18 years of age and have an intermediate Spanish level. While not required, a teaching background, TEFL, or similar experience are beneficial.

NOTE: Alternate start dates can be accommodated.



Because flights are usually late,  you should arrive at La Aurora International Airport in Guatemala City on Saturday where a local host family member(s) will meet you. If necessary – and it will most likely be necessary – the family provides volunteers with an overnight stay. The next morning the host family escorts you to the bus station and assists assists you with purchasing your bus ticket to Xela, which is 5-6 hours from Guatemala City.


On the first day of classes, in-country staff provide you with an orientation that covers information about Spanish classes, activities, excursions, and general information about Guatemala. A separate orientation addresses safety tips.


Host family only.

Note: There is a nominal fee for the host family services in Guatemala City, about $40, which includes the cost of the bus ticket to Xela. The fee for the host family’s services is not included in the program fee. Participants make direct payment to the Guatemala City host family when they arrive in-country.




Weekends and evenings are usually designated as free time for volunteers to explore the country, and to spend time with their host families.



  • Registration/application fee

  • Airport pick-up

  • Orientation

  • Host family accommodations and 3 meals/day in Xela

  • Spanish lessons (20 hours/week)

  • Laundry service

  • 24/7 emergency in-country support

Longer stays can be accommodated for an additional fee.



  • Must be at least 18 years of age.


  • Additionally, participants must provide an official "Certificate of Good Conduct " or official proof of "Lack of a Criminal Record". This documentation (with an official seal and signature) can be obtained for a nominal fee from the local police department, county district clerk's office, or equivalent law enforcement or governmental body. Background checks conducted through online services will not be accepted.