Guatemala

Global Crossroad

I had been hoping to volunteer for quite some time, but it took me ages to find a cheap program that accepted people under 18. Then I stumbled upon GC and I am really glad I did.
This has been one of the best life experiences I've had, the projects were amazing and fun, the host family was great( and they nade some really great food) and I learned so much.
My coordinator Jonathan was great and helpful as was my host family.
There was however an incident in which they tried to charge us more money than what us advertised, but the people at the main offices were glad to help and the issue was resolved.
I would really recommend this because the projects are incredible and GC is totally legit. Also volunteering is probably the best thing anyone could ever do.Getting to experience a different way of life and help out, makes you a better person in more ways than one. I had the best time and everything was awesome!!!!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Jul 28, 2017
Overall:
9
Support:
7
Value:
9

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

I would not recommend signing on with IFRE. My daughter is currently an IFRE volunteer in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala.. She was supposed to start her medical volunteer work today. However, the IFRE worker in Quetzaltenango told her she could not start today because of some cleaning work being done in the hospital! She is very disappointed, and we are wondering if a volunteer position was ever even arranged. IFRE stated that volunteers will live with local families who are respected members of the community. However, my daughter's "home stay" is in a boarding house run by an older woman. No family members are there. There is no shared living room, just individual rooms for rent. Her room has torn bedding and blankets. In addition, no towel or toilet paper is provided. If the situation is improved, I will post a follow-up review.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Jul 17, 2017
Overall:
2
Support:
2
Value:
1

Global Leadership Adventures (GLA)

My name is Lori Burgess. My daughter Brooke went on a GLA trip to Guatemala last summer. She had an extraordinary experience, was well taken care of by the GLA staff and gave back to an underprivileged society. It was a growing experience for a impressionable 15-year-old who learned to put others before herself.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Mar 30, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

My volunteering work at an orphanage in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala through Institute for Field Research Expeditions was an enriching, smooth and amazing experience. The demeanor of the personnel at IFRE from the first point of contact to the completion of the program was very professional and good.

I was working at an orphanage that had around 27 babies and kids and was accountable for taking care of the kids by organizing games, teaching them songs, playing with them, etc. IFRE gave utmost care to my comfort in settling into a new responsibility and made sure that their personnel (Carla, in my case) was there with me all the time to help out in my interactions and work. The place was very safe and a brief orientation given at the beginning of the program went a long way in acquainting myself with the culture and practices of the country.

Special accolades to Oscar Gomez, the IFRE counterpart in Guatemala. He is a thorough gentleman who meticulously planned my pick-up, accommodation, placement and subsequent follow-ups. There was an instance where the banks in Quetzaltenango would not exchange USDs for Quetzals. Oscar went out of his way to help me out in the dire situation.

I will highly recommend the IFRE volunteering program not only to US citizens but to everybody across the globe.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Jan 4, 2017
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Discover Corps

The Discover Corps trip to Guatemala was more than I could have hoped for. The guide, driver, home base, volunteer experiences, and the additional sights we visited were beyond my expectations. The food was remarkable and I felt safe, taken care of, and informed every step of the way.

Program:
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Dec 6, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Crossroad

I traveled to Xela, Guatemala to volunteer with Global Crossroads for 2 weeks in August 2016. I am a public school English as a Second Language (ESL) teacher and I traveled with 2 other ESL teachers to improve our Spanish speaking abilities and to gain a better understanding of the backgrounds of our students from Guatemala. Our experience was very authentic and valuable to our profession as teachers.

We stayed with a sweet host family in downtown Xela. Everyday, we took the chicken bus 45 minutes through the mountains and volcanoes to Santa Maria de Jesus, a small village on the side of a volcano where we volunteered at a wonderful elementary school. The principal, Edgar, only speaks Spanish but was so incredibly warm and welcoming. He even recognized our work in front of the entire school during a ceremony which was really meaningful and unexpected. The kids were thrilled to see us everyday, and we taught basic English lessons with materials we brought from the United States.

After volunteering, we took Spanish lessons from Oscar and Mario, the Global Crossroads liasons in Xela. Our friendships with Oscar and Mario were a highlight of the trip. We got private one-on-one Spanish lessons, laughed and joked, learned about Guatemalan culture, and it was very affordable. I am incredibly grateful to them for making our experience so rich. Overall, this was a very humbling and realistic way to experience Guatemala and the rural, Mayan culture.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Nov 27, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Crossroad

Our experience in Guatemala was incredible and so impactful! We had the opportunity to work in an 'orphanage' (truly a shelter for girls) with teenage moms and their babies - victims of rape or abuse. We held babies, changed babies' diapers, consoled mothers and in all ways helped these young women with their babies. They needed our help and we greatly appreciated the opportunity to be of assistance. The second week we made 2 cookstoves for two impoverished families who now can cook safely for their families. (One family was cooking all meals in the rim of a wheel and had previously scarred/burned a child from the cooking method). The work was very labor intensive and involved mixing cement, laying bricks and cement and filling the cookstove with dirt and adobe bricks under the direction and with the help of a local contractor/coordinator. While in Guatemala, Global Crossroad also placed us with a host family and we had the opportunity to 'live like a local' and see firsthand what the living conditions are in Guatemala (this is not a shack like some Guatemalans live in, but a home with electricity and water and a family who provided us with meals in addition to our rooms). Global Crossroad also provided us with immersion spanish lessons for two hours each day which greatly helped us communicate while working on our projects. Global Crossroad was great to work with as we prepared for the trip (Kim and Customer Service) and was very helpful in identifying and lining up options for excursions over the weekend (we hiked a volcano and went to a hot springs). Oscar, the in country coordinator, was also very critical in organizing our activities and providing us with all the opportunities to make a difference.
This is not the 'volunteer tourism' that many people worry isn't really helping others - it is truly volunteering that makes a difference in the lives of the people in Guatemala. They NEED your help and while this is a 3rd world country and you will sacrifice the comforts of home in order to participate, it is affordable and the work you do will make a difference. I highly recommend Global Crossroad. I also appreciate that there were no hidden fees or additional costs sprung upon us once we got to Guatemala. We felt and were safe the entire time we were in the country. We had free time in the evenings and were able to take advantage of modern options (i.e., McDonalds) near the main central park in order to have wifi and share pictures with our family/friends back home.
The office is located close to the host family and projects and we were able to safely walk between most activities which further enabled us to see the people and the culture and further enriched our experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Apr 16, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

This was my first volunteer trip therefore I was very nervous and had no clue what to expect. The program set everything up very well and I had no issues. While volunteering, I had an incredible time building a stove in Xela, Guatemala, and helping out at risk kids. I am so thankful for this program. It was an awesome catalyst for helping me help others! I had a great experience thanks to this program!!

Program:
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Apr 14, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

This was the first time I had done a volunteer trip. In the past I had gone to resorts, but wanted to try something different. I have to admit I was nervous. I didn't know if I would be comfortable and safe, if I would be able to reach my destination, or even if this was a scam. After going through the program it was the most memorable and rewarding thing I had ever done in my life.

The assistance your receive is phenomenal. Everyone is happy to see you and happy to help. They lay out everything from your living arrangements to travel and are more than happy to answer any questions you have.

We donated and helped build a stove for a needy family and helped out at-risk children. I made friends that I will never forget and helped change the world. This is a great program and you will not think same when you are done. I could not recommend it more.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Apr 6, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Crossroad

My name is Winnie Mangeni. I am a Kenyan student studying in the United States at the University of Notre Dame. I was looking for something to do over spring break that was connected to my passion,Women Empowernment. I found Global Crossroads online and I thought it would not be possible to work with them for only 10 days of spring break. However,to my surprise,they made it possible with my visa application (as a foreigner) and also my stay in Guatemala. The program director, Oscar Gomez made my stay very comfortable and I am really thankfull that I met a person like hiim.This included my stay and my communication abilities. I spoke no Spanish at all! The only word I knew was Ola! By the end of the 10 days, I was able to hold a conversaton in Spanish! My host family was welcoming and the food was absolutely amazing and new from what I am used to. Moreover, I volunteered at the Municipal Council for Women in Quetzaltenango,Guatemala. This gave me a good perspective on the rights of women in other parts of the world. We were able to march in solidarity for women during International Womens Day where I got to see more women the organisation worked with. Also, they profided psycology services to the women as well as organised different activities to participate in. Everyday was an adventure to explore Guatemala in the evening to see the beautiful landforms,architecture,hot springs,horse rides and also the lakes and beaches. I would highly recommend anyone for this project. Its an eye opener and pushes you outside your comfortzone.I never expected to do this in only 10 days but guess what! Anything is possible! One advise to all volunteers is that they should be patient and open-minded with a zeal to explore.I cannot wait to work with Global Crossroads again!.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Mar 10, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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