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WHAT TO
EXPECT

WHEN VOLUNTEERING ABROAD

Maximo Nivel is a local organization in Costa Rica, Guatemala, and Peru. We are locally-based and managed here in-country, which means we are already part of the communities we work with. We partner with other local organizations such as clinics, schools, social projects, NGOs, and government agencies. These placements and local projects are built up and supported by the international volunteers who come through our community service programs. Maximo Nivel’s role is to bring structure, organization, and quality service to your volunteer experience.

The Maximo Nivel team is multi-lingual, educated, and very well-traveled. Our team in each country is made up of approximately 65% local people and 35% international people. This means, we easily manage the cultural and language barriers that often get in the way, and at the same time we are familiar with both the local culture and your home country. We take you out of your comfort zone, while keeping you comfortable.

Volunteer abroad programs give globally-minded people access to international projects that need help—projects where you can learn to serve and make an impact. International service learning is an out-of-classroom  experience where you work, study, and travel to help benefit a local community and project site. Volunteering abroad pushes you beyond your comfort zone as you take part in a whole new way of life and giving back—it is a unique experience, both exciting and challenging!

Volunteer abroad programs are usually built around short- to mid-term itineraries  of 1 to 52 weeks, where you come to learn about the issues and the needs of the world. Where you learn how to make a difference and where you learn about yourself and what you have to offer the world. This is what we call “learning to serve.”

Things to Consider Before Volunteering Abroad:

– You are there to help and serve, on their terms, not yours.
– You might feel inadequate at times.
– You may experience culture shock.
– You may be shaken by some people’s living situations.
– The biggest impact is the impact the experience has on you.

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Life as an International Volunteer

Volunteer Service Philisophy

VOLUNTEER SERVICE PHILOSOPHY

At Maximo Nivel, we are strongly committed to the projects we work with and we expect the same level of commitment from our international volunteers. Being successful in your volunteer experience largely depends on the 8 points below. Please read about our philosophy and approach to international community service.

Mutual Benefit
Contribute to your project and learn from it! Do not be selective about the work you do—help is needed in many ways. Take responsibility and push yourself to learn, understand, and pitch in. Remember you need to serve on their terms, not yours.

Cross-Cultural Understanding
Learn about the local culture! Be curious, ask questions, and be respectful. People here have their own experiences, expectations, and beliefs. They expect you participate, dress appropriately, and abide by their rules.

Absolute Respect
Be respectful of your project’s ways of doing things. Accept that things may be done differently in this country and at this project. Understand the magic of your experience comes when you truly learn to enjoy the differences!

Continuity
Remember, you are here for a limited time. Be honest with yourself and the project regarding your time here. If you implement something, make sure you pass on the knowledge, so future volunteers can continue in your footsteps.

Gifts and Donations
The Maximo team can help you buy gifts and donations at the best places for the best prices. We DO NOT recommend showering projects and children with gifts as this may create dependency and hinder future service efforts.

Process
Be patient. Do not give up when things feel difficult or disorganized. Warm up to your project and the people working there. Remember, you need to take initiatives and to be very proactive in order to integrate into your project.

Dedication
It is very important you go to your project every day and that you are on time! You are expected to treat the project as a professional commitment. If you are sick, please notify Maximo Nivel and your project.

Flexibility
You must be flexible. Your project may change with little notice and it might feel disorganized sometimes. For example, a new Project Director is hired, work changes direction, or the project closes unexpectedly. Be prepared!

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Ready to work, study, travel? Complete your application online and get ready for an extraordinary experience abroad.

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