The first stop on my round the world trip is Merida, Mexico. I will be starting this program on May 1, 2016 and it will be the first time I’ll really be experiencing another country. A couple friends of mine are from Mexico and have been giving me advice already on that area. One of them is a Spanish teacher and gave me a bunch of supplies to help me re-learn a little Spanish before I leave.
So what exactly will I be doing there!? IVHQ offers several different volunteer programs for Mexico, most of which are based in Merida. The programs offered are: Teaching English, Child Care, Special Needs, Environmental Research, Animal Care/Animal Rights, and Maya Agriculture. The program I choose to volunteer for is Environmental Research.
The Environmental Research program is based out of two local research centers in the Yucatan Peninsula. Volunteer work here can be a combination of assisting with laboratory work and day trips to research sites or sole focuses in either of these roles. Some tasks can include working in research gardens, planting, watering, measuring and labeling plants, and assistance in collecting, labeling, sorting, measuring and classifying biological samples. The amount of fieldwork assigned to volunteers depends on what initiatives are being undertaken at that time, what your current experience is, and the duration length of your program.
I will be staying in a volunteer house that is located in a quiet neighborhood of Merida, which has dormitory style lodging. IVHQ also provides meals, three meals a day during the week and two meals a day on weekends. The main thing I will have to worry about while I am there is buying water since the water in Mexico is not safe to drink. If I decide to do any weekend trips or afternoon trips during the week, I will have to pay for transportation or whatever it is I plan on doing, but other than that, once I get to Mexico I don’t have to worry too much on spending money.
I don’t really know what my placement will be like yet, and won’t find out until closer to my departure date. The time of the year I plan on going is the hottest time of the year, so it’s a good thing I love the heat!