A good way to engage with and contribute to Mexican communities is to do some volunteer work. Many organizations can use your services for periods from a few hours to a year or more. Work ranges from protecting sea turtles to WWOOFing. Some organizations are looking for people with relevant experience and/or Spanish-language skills, while others can use almost any willing hand.
Many language schools offer part-time local volunteering opportunities to complement the classes you take.
Go Abroad (www.goabroad.com)
Go Overseas (www.gooverseas.com)
The Mexico Report (http://themexicoreport.com/non-profits-in-mexico)
Volunteer Oaxaca (http://volunteer-oaxaca.com)
Global Vision International (www.gviusa.com) Anything from marine conservation to teaching projects.
Los Médicos Voladores (www.flyingdocs.org) Lend your medical skills to communities throughout Mexico and Central America.
Projects Abroad (www.projects-abroad.org) Volunteer projects involving teaching, conservation, agriculture and more.
Casa de los Amigos (www.casadelosamigos.org) Mexico City-based, with volunteer programs to assist refugees and migrants.
Centro de Esperanza Infantil (www.oaxacastreetchildrengrassroots.org) Center for street kids in Oaxaca.
Entre Amigos (www.entreamigos.org.mx) Nayarit-based project that arranges educational projects and workshops for the children of San Pancho.
Feed the Hungry (www.feedthehungrysma.org) Offers nutricious meals to several thousand disadvantaged children in San Miguel de Allende.
Fundación En Vía Oaxaca-based nonprofit organization providing micro-finance loans to help village women develop small businesses.
Junax (www.junax.org.mx) Offers information and lodging in San Cristóbal de las Casas for people wanting to volunteer with indigenous communities in Chiapas; Spanish-language skills needed.
Misión México (www.lovelifehope.com) A children's refuge and surf school in Tapachula.
Piña Palmera (www.pinapalmera.org) Work with physically and intellectually disabled people at Zipolite on the Oaxaca coast.
Campamento Majahuas Excellent turtle conservation project in Costalegre (with short-term volunteering options).
Centro Ecológico Akumal (www.ceakumal.org) Environmental work, including coastal management and turtle protection.
Flora, Fauna y Cultura de México Conservation volunteering with turtles on the Caribbean coast.
Grupo Ecologista Vida Milenaria (www.vidamilenaria.org.mx) Excellent turtle project at Tecolutla.
Nataté (www.natate.org.mx) Turtle conservation and other projects in Chiapas and elsewhere.
Nomad Republic (www.nomadrepublic.net) Assisting with local cooperatives throughout Mexico in agriculture, education, tourism, health, water, energy and other fields.
Pronatura (www.pronatura-ppy.org.mx) Marine conservation and other projects in the Yucatán.
Tortugueros Las Playitas (www.todostortugueros.org) Sea-turtle hatchery in Todos Santos, Baja.
WWOOF Mexico (www.wwoofmexico.org) Volunteering on organic farms around Mexico. Suitable for families.
Mexico's economy is the 15th largest in the world and there are work opportunities for foreigners, particularly in the service industry. A helpful website detailing how to get a work visa in Mexico is https://transferwise.com/gb/blog/mexico-work-visa, while www.mexperience.com/lifestyle/working-in-mexico/ and www.internations.org/mexico-expats/guide provide useful insights into working in Mexico.
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