Volunteers seeking a perfect blend of humanitarian work, pristine beaches, clear waters, a chocolate museum, and a population welcoming of your efforts need not look any further than Granada. Choosing Granada as your volunteer destination is a ticket to a tropical environment — complete with spider monkeys which you can actually work with! Volunteering in Granada is an amazing opportunity for anyone wishing to improve their Spanish while working closely with the local population to improve a wide range of problems. Are you ready to spend the next few weeks growing as a person and helping others grow with you? ¡Vamos!
Popular Ways to Volunteer in Granada
Whether it’s helping children in school, the ecosystem, or to empower women, there are programs that help you get the most out of your experience. Think about how you want to make the most difference in Granada and choose the program that accomplishes this.
Popular causes/projects when you volunteer in Granada. Spend a few weeks or longer volunteering in Granada on a medical project. Days are filled helping the underdeveloped parts of the city receive the care that is desperately needed. Providing what is considered basic care in most western countries, like dental cleanings and vaccinations, are luxuries to many Nicaraguans. Choosing to spend your gap year or vacation time helping these urban and rural communities is an opportunity to travel with meaning.
If children are our future, then what better way to spend some time then by ensuring that Granada’s future is well educated and prepared for what comes next? Education programs are always looking for kind-hearted and passionate people who would like to spend their time working in primary and secondary schools with English and Spanish lessons. After school programs to help struggling students are usually paired with these education programs.
Granada, like many parts of the world, have lack of equality between men and women. Women empowerment programs help elevate and advocate for the fairness between men and women. In order to accomplish this, programs work towards helping women become self-sufficient and understand their basic human and employment rights. To help women have a greater chance for success, micro-credit programs are facilitated to get small business loans.
Duration. Consider volunteering abroad for longer than a short term program; while a few weeks is enough time to have an impact, you can magnify the results (and your personal development) the longer you stay.
Requirements to volunteer in Granada. Volunteer programs in Granada are as diverse as their population. Some programs will require at least a basic amount of Spanish to ensure that you can communicate with the people you are trying to help. Other programs help you learn Spanish while volunteering. Deciding how much time to spend volunteering is also a big question for people, there are some programs that have a minimum or maximum time that one can volunteer. If you are making the most of the time there, weeks fly by and you’ll never be staying long enough.
Life in Granada for Volunteers
Choosing where to leave your humanitarian footprint can be difficult. Granada is a beautiful city located on the shores of Lake Nicaragua, with deep colonial roots where your efforts have lasting effects.
For volunteers, meaningful time spent there is split between working on project and filling your free time with all that the Nicaraguan culture has to offer. The Central Parque is a social hub for locals, with a market and a theater stage upon which performances can be seen throughout the year. Need to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city for a few hours? Try kayaking through the Islets of Granada, a group of 365 islands, or go hiking at one of the many (mostly dormant) volcanoes!
Customs while you volunteer in Granada are similar to most places. Be polite to others and they return it in kind. Don’t be surprised if people are often late for meetings; in fact, if you are going to meet or start at the exact time you say, then it’s called la hora gringa. Speaking of gringos... they are a common sight in Granada, but as soon as you step out of the city, you might start getting a lot more attention. Enjoy it and advocate yourself with tact!
GoAbroad Insider Tips
Spending time volunteering gives you a greater sense of what is important in the world. While in more developed countries, the latest fashion trend or pop music album might be your greatest concern, in Nicaragua and many countries like it, getting to see a doctor or being able to drink clean water is what people are most concerned with. Volunteering creates new priorities, and this, in turn, helps you become a more well-rounded individual.
Another great benefit of volunteering in Granada is the connections that are made when helping the local community. Spending mornings in local schools to help improve literacy and math skills, then working in the afternoon to provide clean water, puts you in touch with all sorts of community leaders. These influential people tend to have a big heart and desire to stay connected, offer future advice, and become your new friend. What is better than creating a humanitarian chain of friendships throughout the world?
One challenge that many people have when volunteering in places like Granada is dealing with poverty rates. Seeing homes that are partially built or people who don’t have a home at all can take a toll on anyone. The key to not letting this get to you is understanding the limitations; you can’t fix everything, but if you work hard with the time there, then you can make a meaningful impact that will last long after you’ve returned home.
Volunteering in Granada and devoting time to helping those less fortunate is not small task. In addition to perseverance, an open mind, and willingness to give, volunteering requires a sense of adventure that most people do not possess. If you have what it takes, jump on the next plane to this colonial gem and start making a positive difference in the world (and within yourself!).
Feeling inspired? Read more in our guide on volunteering in Nicaragua.