What are the differences between a volunteer position and an internship?
The main differences between volunteer work and internships are as follows:
• Volunteering costs slightly less than an internship.
• Volunteering is generally NOT eligible for higher-education credit, whereas internships can be completed for credit at many colleges and universities.
• Most employers and universities prefer people with internship experience over those with volunteering experience.
• Some volunteer positions can be done part-time, whereas internships require a full-time commitment.
• Volunteering can be done with a minimum of 4-6 weeks (see requirements for each position, or contact the volunteer and internship coordinator for specific information); internships require a minimum commitment of 8 weeks.
Other than the differences above, positions are identical regardless of whether you have volunteer or internship status (with the exception of our Proyecto La Pedrera). Preference will be given to interns over volunteers when they apply for the same position.
Part-time volunteer positions (Click here for a list of full-time volunteer positions)*
Asociación Chico Méndez
• Work in a forest replenishment program in Cantel, planting trees in the mountains around Xela and assisting in other programs.
Centro Infantil Bellota (mornings only)
• Take care of the basic needs of small children (feed, dress, play with, etc.).
• Create and realize educative and recreational activities.
• Work with people who are physically or mentally challenged.
• Assist with physical and occupational therapies.
• Help in special education programs.
Habitat for Humanity
(These jobs are available in the mornings or afternoons for groups)
• Construct houses in Xela and the surrounding towns of the Quetzaltenango district.
Hospital Rodolfo Robles**
• Lead recreational activities in the morning.
• Teach or assist in classes teaching literacy, handicrafts, nutrition, family planning, or first aid.
• Care for the children of women who have experienced domestic violence.
Proyecto La Pedrera**
(The office of La Pedrera is open Monday through Friday from 9am-1pm in Casa Xelajú; work in the community is Monday through Friday from 3pm-5pm)
• Tutor students in math, English, and Spanish grammar.
• Help students develop gross motor skills through outdoor recreational activities.
• Do art and handicrafts with the students to develop fine motor skills and creativity.
• Update the home page and linked web pages of Proyecto La Pedrera.
• Assist with office work, filing, correspondence, translation, and other needs of the La Pedrera office staff.
• Publicize planned events.
• Bathe, play with, and walk dogs.
• Create a fundraising activity for the organization.
• Clean the cages and bedding for the dogs.
• Translate Spanish and English in the organization's store and at conferences about the group.
• Create publicity for TRAMA in Xela and for the internet.
• Work on the website and take internet orders, translating all orders into Spanish.
*If you find a position/organization that interests you, please email the Volunteer and Internship Coordinator to confirm availability.
**Please see our Full-Time Volunteer Positions for other opportunities with this organization.
Most of the positions listed above require intermediate Spanish, prior experience related to the position, human relations skills, patience, an awareness of cultural differences, and a commitment of 4 to 6 weeks. Please email the Volunteer and Internship Coordinator for more information.