FAQs About Volunteering
Which season of the year are volunteers most needed?
Volunteers are needed twelve months a year. During the summers when U.S. schools are out is the time when volunteers are most plentiful, so please consider that when planning your time to volunteer. No classes are held during Christmas week or Easter week however Christmas is the middle of coffee harvest and all extra hands are welcomed during that time.
Can I really volunteer and be useful at the college or organic farm without speaking Spanish?
Absolutely. On campus, English is the official language. If the students are to become fluent in English, they need to be immersed in English. Therefore many English-speaking volunteers are needed on campus year-round.
What will the teaching schedule be like for the long-term volunteers?
We are of a flexible nature and the circumstances require flexibility. Because visas expire each 3 to 4 months, long term volunteers will need to leave the country for at least 72 hours. We assume some will want to visit other countries for weeks or months before returning to teach again. Some teachers may want to teach for 3 or 4 days a week and then travel to see Honduras 3 or 4 days a week. In other words, we expect teachers to be coming and going. As best we can, we will accommodate those kinds of desires and necessities. This will require a spirit of flexibility on the part of both the permanent staff and the volunteers. So, if you are considering volunteering long term, only do so if you have a flexible attitude. At the bottom of this page is addition information specifically for Long Term volunteers.
How many hours a day do the teachers teach?
This somewhat depends how many teachers are on site on any given day. While there may be times where a schedule is more demanding, typically a teacher teaches about 3 hours a day to give them have sufficient time for class prep and personal interests.
The goal of the college is for learning to take place all day from early morning until bedtime. Much of that learning time will not be in the classroom but in group conversations, on hikes or while helping on the farm exercising, enjoying movies, music, etc.
What is the preferred teaching style?
Education in Honduras is normally based on rote memorization. Because of this, students are weak on analytical thinking and problem solving. To facilitate the development of those skills, tutors and discussion leaders are encouraged to use discussion as a part of their teaching. An example lesson scenario is dividing the class into two segments: roughly 30 minutes of teaching followed by facilitated small group discussions.
The goal of small groups is twofold: to promote understanding of the material presented and to analyze the ideas presented and applicability of the lesson. Regardless of the subject, each lecture should typically end by asking a question similar to “How does this lesson apply to your life?”
Volunteer teachers and tutors are encouraged to spend time mentoring students after class and to use the opportunity of informal times in the dining room, dormitory, hiking, biking and working on the farm.
What are the living conditions like on campus?
The location is very remote and very rustic. Dormitory rooms are small, have concrete floors, tin roofs, and single beds. Showers and toilets are clean but not always in the same building. Showers may not always have hot water. Electricity is supplied by solar panels and windmill so conservation is encouraged. The food is simple but nutritious – beans, rice, soup, pasta, eggs, tortillas, seasonal fruit and vegetables, coffee, tea, purified water and beef or chicken once or twice a week.
The Teacher’s Lodge has a large indoor restroom with shower and four private rooms with double beds. Couples volunteering long-term have priority preference for the Teacher’s Lodge.
What are the seasons?
The temperatures are always springtime and it is never very hot nor very cold. There is a rainy season and a dry season. Generally, the dry season runs from January through May. The rainiest months are June through October. The driest months are January, February, March and April. Unless there is a tropical storm in the Caribbean, during the rainy season, the rain is normally intermittent with sun and clouds exchanging places during the day. Seldom does it rain all day. Much of the rain is at night. The coolest months are November through January when the nights are about 50 to 55 and the days are 65 to 75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Should I get shots before coming?
That is a topic to discuss with your doctor. Our general observation is that few short-term visitors to Honduras get shots before coming but most long-term visitors do.
Are there many insects?
There are about the same number of mosquitoes as in most places in the States. The climate is cool enough that long sleeves and pants can be worn comfortably helping to repel the few insects.
Are there snakes?
The campus is in a remote rural area with many types of wildlife but it is rare to see a snake. Most of the locals report rarely seeing a snake even though they work outdoors every day.
How far will I be from civilization?
Tegucigalpa and Comayagua are both approximately a two-hour drive from campus. Tegucigalpa, the capital, has the U.S. Embassy and two hospitals. Comayagua has a U.S. military base and a hospital built and sometimes staffed by U.S. volunteer medical personnel. In addition, there are many private clinics owned and operated by a Honduran doctor.
What should I bring?
We recommend you pack very lightly. One backpack is all that most volunteers bring.
If you need clothing washed, there are facilities for hand washing. Wear your hiking boots on the plane because they are too bulky to pack and also bring a pair of tennis shoes and a pair of flip-flops. If you are coming during the coldest months bring a jacket, hat and warmer clothing. If you are coming during the hottest months, consider shorts and tee shirts. When you leave campus to return home, we would very much appreciate any shoes and clothing you choose to leave behind for us to give to those in need.
Because of the remote area and very limited electricity, you will not need any electric appliances — no hair dryer, or iron. Plan for an experience in simplicity. A camera is recommended.
If you want to bring insect repellant, the wipes type are easier to bring in your carry-on baggage. Additionally, it would be good to bring some gardening type of gloves. If you come during the rainy season, a light weight rain jacket or umbrellas could be useful if you plan to leave campus. Here is a more complete list of Things To Bring.
Are meals and housing provided for volunteers?
Yes, all volunteers will be invited to eat and sleep on campus as our guest. Once returning home, those who are able to make a financial donation to help cover those expenses are encouraged to do so.
How can I be contacted in an emergency?
Before you leave home, we will give you a phone number for your family to call in an emergency.
What about liability?
All volunteers need to sign a Liability Waiver Form prior to volunteering in Honduras.
Are there people who should not come?
People who would be uncomfortable in a wilderness environment or those not in excellent health should consider an alternative way to support this mission.
Are those from outside the U.S.A. permitted to volunteer?
Anyone who speaks English clearly, has a gift for teaching and is interested in serving others is welcomed without regard to nationality. The international make-up of our volunteer team is one of our ways of shaping young minds and showing the people of Honduras how wonderful it is to be part of a global family. Being part of the team gives you the opportunity to be an ambassador of your country and culture. This is much more than just another teaching job.
Could I volunteer on the farm and not teach?
Yes! An extra pair of hands to help on the farm is always welcome.
What will I experience while being on campus?
While volunteering, you will experience life as it is lived by many Hondurans. While the campus is rustic by U.S. standards, it is somewhat luxurious by the standards of many of our students as the food and housing are better than what much of the population of Honduras have. Because the campus is very rural with no public electricity, you will experience quiet evenings away from city noise and light pollution. The nights are filled with the sounds of nature and stars are abundant.
People typically go to bed by 9:00 p.m. and get up with the sun around 5:30 a.m. Your schedule depends on what you have volunteered to do, but you will have the opportunity to do some hiking in the beautiful mountainous area. There are several beautiful mountain waterfalls near campus.
Do I need to be physically fit to visit the campus?
It is certainly helpful and recommended to be physically fit before visiting but it is not absolutely essential. In addition to volunteering at the college, if you plan on working on the organic farm or hiking in the mountains, good health and fitness would be essential.
Is visiting Honduras dangerous?
Like most of Latin America, Honduras has abundant crime. The U.S. State Department rates Honduras as a very dangerous place. However because of the extreme remoteness of the campus, our area is considered safe. Unlike much of Honduras, the entire region around the campus is peaceful. The college is located within a large national forest and one of the responsibilities of the Honduran military is to guard the forest. There is only one small dirt road leading in and out of the entire vast region. Both the military and the national police often have checkpoints on that road as well as daily patrols into the mountains to prevent illegal harvesting of the forest. The forest is one of the largest income sources to the government so they guard it carefully. With the military patrolling the area, it is not a place where criminals want to come, nor is there anything to attract criminal interests.
In our opinion, petty street crime and thievery is much more prevalent in Honduras than in the U.S., but violent crime is similar in Honduras to that of many urban areas of the U.S. The victims of violent crime in Honduras are similar to those in the U.S. with drug involvement accounting for most of the violent crimes. Stay away from drugs and drug related people and you will avoid the largest source of violence. For their security, we recommend volunteers to stay on or near campus as much as possible. We strongly discourage volunteers from going to La Ceiba, San Pedro Sula or Tegucigalpa for night life. For more info on the topic see Safety In Honduras
Because of all the safety warnings, we highly recommend that volunteers stay on or near campus as much as possible and we highly discourage volunteers to being out at night in bars and night clubs or on the streets.
What will be my total expenses?
There is only one major cost and that is your plane ticket which normally ranges between $350 and $800 roundtrip. You will buy that ticket as we do not make any arrangements regarding ticket purchases. We will provide your room and meals on campus but in turn we ask you to consider making a financial donation to Art For Humanity to help offset those costs. The amount of your donation is your choice.
The expenses mentioned above only include your work at the college. It does not include any side excursions or travel you decide to do apart from your volunteering with us. If you choose to rent a car or travel by bus and visit other parts of Honduras, those expenses are entirely your responsibility.
How do I prepare for personal expenses?
If you are planning to tour Honduras with a portion of your time, you must prepare for those expenses. You will be able to use your credit card for car rental, in some gas stations in the cities, and in U.S.-owned hotels, which are only in the large cities. Everywhere else, you will need cash. We recommend bringing a credit card, a debit card for the ATM machine and some cash.
Some places will accept U.S. dollars, but not everywhere. Change will only be available in the local currency, which is the Lemperia. There are ATM machines in the airports, at some banks and tourist centers. The ATMs dispense Lemperias and normally only accept bank checking cards not credit cards.
Traveler’s checks are generally not recognized and only a few banks will exchange them for you. The application to exchange them is somewhat similar to making a mortgage application in the U.S.
Will there be any opportunity to learn Spanish?
There will much opportunity to learn Spanish as well as to practice and improve your Spanish. On campus, there will be Spanish classes so students will know their language as well as possible. Volunteers are welcome to participate in those classes. Anytime you leave campus, you will be in a Spanish-only world with abundant opportunity to learn and practice the language.
Could I send some of my personal things to the campus ahead of me?
We are glad to ship and deliver to the campus anything you want in our shipping containers at no cost to you.
What surprises should I expect?
Schedules and the lifestyle in Honduras are quite flexible. In this culture, being on time is not critical so be prepared to “go with the flow”. In Honduras, you will be much happier if you do not expect perfection as the pace is very different than in the U.S.
Additionally, do not believe everything you are told. For Hondurans, there is a strong desire to please. Answering your question is a sign of hospitality. For Hondurans, it is far more important to answer your question than it is to provide accurate information.
You will see many armed individuals. There are many police and military checkpoints where personnel are heavily armed. In addition, you will normally see two armed guards at most gas stations and businesses as well as on delivery trucks. Banks normally have a minimum of six armed guards.
What about liability?
All volunteers need to sign a Liability Waiver Form prior to volunteering in Honduras. Click here then print, sign and mail to Art For Humanity, 635 S. 25th St. Arlington, Va. 22202-2529 at least two weeks before departure to Honduras.
Is there a Volunteer Application?
Click here to download a Volunteer Application and Code Of Conduct.
If you are interested in WWOOFing, you will find info and an application on that link.
Where can I get more information?
For a List Of Things To Bring.
For info on long term volunteering, click here.
For more details about the info on this page, email Glen Evans.
To join our mailing list, click here.
To see Brief Video of some volunteers. The first one shows some of the scenery of the area.