Gap Year Program: Merida, Mexico


Gap Year Program in Merida, Mexico

About the Location

Merida’s strong recent growth mirrors that of the rest of the country, and it has brought improvements in areas like education and health. However, Merida reflects Mexico’s significant gap between rich and poor. Serious poverty exists, and chances to advance are limited for young people from disadvantaged backgrounds. When you volunteer in Mexico with UBELONG you have many opportunities, including teaching, caring for children, helping at a food bank and working in conservation.




What do volunteers do?

Volunteers work five to seven hours a day in a local food bank, which receives food donations from throughout the area and then distributes it to partner charities. Volunteer partake in all facets of the organization, including receiving, controlling, organizing and handing out food that comes in. They also help on business related work like public relations, fundraising and internet marketing. Typical tasks may include translating between Spanish and English; working on the food bank’s social media and email outreach; researching what other food banks in Mexico and beyond are doing; and taking promotional pictures and/or videos. Additionally, depending on local need volunteers occasionally have the opportunity to accompany local staff on visits into the community, as well as to lead educational workshops around stopping hunger and fighting food waste.

Requirements  to participate:

-At least an intermediate level of Spanish.
-The flexibility to participate in many different tasks depending on the ever-changing needs of the organization.
-The creativity and initiative to work in an environment with limited resources.
-The cultural sensitivity to engage visitors and clients in a professional manner.
-Education and/or professional experience in a relevant field like business, marketing or public relations.





What do volunteers do?

Volunteers work four to six hours a day with a local environmental group dedicated to local reforestation and environmental education. Depending on the planting season, volunteers work across the reforestation process, from helping in the seed bank and nursery to planting trees when the seedlings have sufficiently sprouted. There is physical work, like preparing the land for planting, as well as office work like seed inventory control and recording. Depending on the season and local need, volunteers may also have the opportunity to participate in outreach initiatives with the local community, ecotourism projects and bird monitoring.

Requirements  to participate:

-The health and physical capability to do manual work in a tropical environment with few amenities.
-The flexibility to participate in many different activities depending on the season and ever-changing needs of the reserve.
-Education and/or professional experience in an environment-related field is not required.



What do volunteers do?

Volunteers work four to six hours a day in either an orphanage or daycare for disadvantaged children. Some children have been emotionally, physically and/or sexually abused, while others are children of working mothers who cannot afford normal daycare. Most of the children do not have physical ailments, although a few have disabilities. They range from infants to toddlers. Volunteers partake in a range of daily activities, which may include homework help, playing sports and making art. As needed, volunteers also help the local staff with household chores like cleaning up, preparing meals and planning activities.

Requirements  to participate:

-A very caring and open attitude.
-Spanish is not required, although at least a basic level is helpful.
-Education and/or professional experience in a caregiving-related field is not required.





What do volunteers do?

Volunteers work four to six hours a day in a local school or a community center serving children from disadvantaged backgrounds. The children range from 6 to18 years old. In the school, volunteers work alongside local teachers to create and deliver English lessons. They may be in front of the class presenting or they may work individually with children who are falling behind. As needed and depending on a volunteer’s Spanish speaking ability, opportunities may come up to help on other subjects, for example history, math and writing. Volunteers in the community center teach alone or with other volunteers, and they help children on reading, writing and listening. Volunteers are encouraged to bring new ideas, including different types of lesson plans and topics for group conversations.

Requirements  to participate:

-At least an advanced level of English.
-At least an intermediate level of Spanish.
-The creativity and initiative to lead classes with limited resources.
-Teaching experience and/or certifications are not required.



$980 for 4 weeks
$1920 for 12 weeks
$3360 for 24 weeks


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