#DMUglobal volunteering in Merida, Mexico

Opportunity type:

Ref: 10003059


All students are eligible to participate in this opportunity. The minimum number of students for this trip to go ahead will be 12.

DMU students are only eligible to receive one extra-curricular trip bursary per year. Please check our eligibility criteria for further details. If you have already received a bursary for an extra-curricular trip in 2018-189 you are still able to participate, but without the #DMUglobal bursary.


DMU students will be participating in the International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ) Mexico – Merida volunteer programme.Volunteer placements will be located in Mérida, the capital of the Yucatán state on Mexico’s Caribbean Coast. As part of the programme students will have the opportunity to engage in one of the following projects:

Teaching English

Volunteers work in orphanages, foster care institutions, community centers, as well as in alternative and traditional schools. Volunteers’ lesson builds upon the work of previous volunteers and are structured as weekly themed English workshops. This involves planning activities to reinforce the weekly theme, preparing worksheets, playing educational games, helping with homework and reviewing previous lessons. Classes are taught in the morning or afternoon, depending on the placement. The volunteer workday generally consists of 3 to 4 hours of English class in addition to other recreational activities.

This program requires volunteers to speak an intermediate level of Spanish.


Volunteers are always in high demand to provide support to economically disadvantaged children in Mexico. Volunteers on the Childcare project in Mexico offer support to children in a wide variety of different settings; including a family crèche at children’s therapy centers, day care centers for single mothers, as well as shelters for adolescent children who are victims of domestic abuse. The role of the volunteer is to help these programs animate, educate and support young children and adolescents from many different backgrounds. Day to day tasks may include arranging small group activities, games and arts and crafts to activate the children’s mental development, creativity, and physical coordination. Some placements may also require day to day care of younger children including feeding and nap time.

Volunteers on this project must be prepared to travel longer distances to their placement each day.

Special Needs Care

Working alongside local staff in a residence for abandoned adolescents and adults with Special Needs, volunteers assist with physical, medical and therapeutic attention.  Day to day work includes aiding teachers, helping patients with physical therapy and exercise, arts and crafts, and assisting with other occupational activities, as well as daily operations such as preparing food, serving meals and cleaning. Most homes are run by religious orders and volunteer work can also involve assisting with fundraising efforts and general maintenance work.

Animal Care/Animal Rights

Although the attitude towards providing proper care to domestic animals is slowly changing in Mexico, there is still a major problem with cats and dogs being abandoned on the streets. The city of Mérida does not have the resources needed to take care of these animals and they are often euthanized as a result. In response, a number of non-profit organizations have taken over the responsibility and care for these animals with the ultimate goal of finding people to adopt them. Volunteers work alongside the limited staff to bathe, brush, train, walk, and play with the cats and dogs to prepare them for adoption. Cleaning cages and providing maintenance to their facilities is also important work. A vital part of the work of these organizations is public education and fundraising. These organizations provide free or low-cost mass spay/neuter clinics periodically throughout the year. Many helpers are needed when these clinics are offered, as well as for large-scale fund raising events. While basic Spanish language skills are helpful on this project, volunteers with minimal language experience should feel confident to participate.

Cultural activities

During the weekends, volunteers have spare time and usually just relax or take the opportunity to explore other parts of Vietnam. Long weekends can be taken to travel further afield to engage in tourist activities, such as trekking, joining Vietnamese history tours and visits to temples and visiting the Mekong Delta.

Travel and accommodation

Flights for this opportunity will be booked independently by students and accommodation will be included in programme fee.

Contact details

Visa information

British and EU nationals who are going to undertake voluntary work in Mexico for less than six months are exempt of Visa.

To enter the country visitors must fulfil the following requirements:

  • A valid Passport at the time of the intended date of entry to Mexico
  • Visitors must obtain a landing card (FMM form) from the airline or at any port of entry in Mexico and complete this form with his/her individual information. PLEASE KEEP IT IN A SAFE PLACE AND DO NOT LOSE IT. YOU WILL BE ASKED FOR THIS DOCUMENT AT YOUR DEPARTURE FROM MEXICO
  • Immigration authorities may request additional information such as: main destination, hotel accommodation, return ticket, proof of financial means (international credit cards, debit cards or traveller’s cheques),  head letter (copy) from the Institution requesting the services of the applicant

Students of other nationalities should check the entry requirements on the National Institute of Immigration website.

Further information will be provided to all accepted students who require a visa, regarding the type of visa required and how to apply for it, at the pre-departure session. If you have any specific questions about this please email dmuglobal@dmu.ac.uk for advice. If a visa is required, you are responsible for applying for one and ensuring that you do so with sufficient time to receive the visa prior to departure. Please be aware that immigration decisions are made by individual embassies.

Key Information

  • Departure date: Sunday 9 June 2019
  • Return date: Saturday 22 June 2019
  • Overall estimated cost of travel, registration fee and programme fee (which includes accommodation and meals): £1100
  • Students will also be required to pay for UK transfers, visa (applicable for international students), travel insurance (mandatory), vaccinations, DBS check, transport to and from your placement if required: £150-200
  • #DMUglobal bursary: £400
  • Deadline for application: Monday 18 February 2019 9am