It may be attractive to have an international work assignment in your job application résumé.
In a tight job market recruiters often look beyond academic qualifications and those who have track record of working overseas can improve their chances or employment of promotion. If this intrigues you, then you may want to investigate volunteer job opportunities in Belize. For those seeking jobs in Belize, this article examines a little known technique, that of getting your foot into the door by volunteering for a job. Like most countries, Belize does its best to make employment opportunities for it citizens first. Foreigners however can get a toe hold by first becoming a volunteer. Then slide in as an employee after getting their bearings. Image above: British volunteer teaching glass blowing at Artemis Arts in western Belize.
Church and medical-related mission work. This involves a week to several weeks of volunteer work in a medical or dental clinic, building churches or homes or other assistance. Usually these mission groups are based outside of Belize, often at a church or school or as a part of a local medical society, and volunteers travel to Belize at the same time, as a group. In most cases, volunteers pay for their own transportation to the country, along with personal expenses, but food and lodging sometimes is provided by the mission. Because these medical and religious missions are so diverse, it’s not possible to provide a list of them. We suggest you contact your church, college or local medical society and ask if they know of missions to Belize. If not, you may well raise the issue of why not? And perhaps spearhead your group’s first mission here.
Organized volunteer programs. These organized programs are of two types: In the first, which may be run either by a for-profit firm such as a travel company or by a not-for-profit charity or university, volunteers provide for their own transportation to and within the country, pay a fee of around US$10 to $25 a day for lodging and board and may also pay a placement fee or contribution which can be several hundred dollars or more.
These volunteer programs revolve either around conservation, such as working with wildlife or reef preservation, school room repair and renovation or around archeology, with volunteers assisting on a dig at a Maya site. A few programs offer volunteer opportunities in education, animal care or social work. Some of these programs are Belize-based, such as those at the Belize Zoo or Programme for Belize. Others are based in the U.S., U.K. or elsewhere outside Belize.
To arrange this kind of independent volunteer work, it is usually necessary to be in Belize and to make personal contact with the organization you are seeking to help. It is rare that you will be able to arrange satisfactory volunteer work before you arrive. In fact, most of these volunteer opportunities in Belize are in high demand as foreigners have discovered this is an easy ticket for getting into Belize to work. It’s up to you to find out about areas of need and then to go and volunteer your services.
Volunteer Job Organizations
This information was accurate at time of publication, but things change quickly. Check with individual organizations directly for current information. Note that many of these organizations charge fees which may be tax-deductible as contributions, for transportation, room, board and placement.
Belize Audubon Society, 12 Fort St., P.O. Box 1001, Belize City, Belize, C.A.; Tel. 501-223-5004; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org For more than 32 years, BAS has long been considered the premier conservation organization in Belize. BAS, which is entirely independent from the National Audubon Society, has 1,700 members. Through an agreement with the Government of Belize, it manages eight parks and protected areas including Cockscomb, Crooked Tree, Half Moon Caye and Tapir Mountain. The annual Christmas Bird Count, held in Belize City, Punta Gorda, Belmopan and Gallon Jug, is a time when volunteer birders do their things.
Belize YWCA, 119 St. Thomas & Freetown Road, P.O. Box 158, Belize City, Belize, C.A.; Tel. 501-224-4971; e-mail email@example.com The YWCA accept volunteers for its sports, arts and other other programs. The YWCA is a national, non-governmental, not-for-profit Christian organization committed to making opportunities available for the spiritual, intellectual and physical development of women and girls in Belize.
Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center, P.O. Box 1787, Belize City, Belize, C.A.; Tel. 501-220-8003; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org The Belize Zoo is one of the truly great conservation organizations in Central America, and its director, Sharon Matola, has done a tremendous amount to further eco awareness and education in Belize, though her work has not always been appreciated by the powers-that-be in Belize. The adjoining Tropical Education Center offers a wide range of education and outreach programs. Motivated volunteers may be accepted to assist Belize Zoo and TEC programs. The Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center is settled upon 29 acres of tropical savanna and exhibits over 150 animals, representing over 45 species, all native to Belize. The zoo keeps animals which were orphaned, rescued, born at the zoo, rehabilitated animals, or sent to The Belize Zoo as donations from other zoological institutions.
Birds Without Borders – Aves Sin Fronteras, c/o 10005 West Blue Mound Road, Milwaukee, WI 53226 • 414-258-2333; Birds Without Borders is a research, education and conservation organization coordinated by the Zoological Society of Milwaukee County (Wisconsin). It operates in Belize in association with the Belize Zoo and Tropical Education Center and with private landowners. The group was formed in 1996 to study migratory birds common to both Wisconsin and Belize there are at least 114 of these common species). Occasional volunteer opportunities may be available.
Cornerstone Foundation Belize, 90 Burns Avenue, San Ignacio, Cayo, Belize, C.A.; Tel. 501-824-2373; e-mail email@example.com This non-profit organization is one of the best-known volunteer organizations in Belize. Its programs include various cultural, community service, and peace-related volunteer programs in Cayo District. Volunteers commit for a minimum of three weeks (three months in the longer-term programs). For longer-term programs, individuals pay US$300 to $400 a month for housing, couples and families US$600. There is a US$100 application fee, a weekly meal fee of around US$15 and other fees. Those involved in three-week programs such as the AIDS Education or Natural Healing programs pay a fee of around US$550 to $650. At any one time, the foundation may have from one to 18 volunteers in Belize, plus local administers and staff.
Green Reef Belize, 100 Coconut Drive, San Pedro Town, Ambergris Caye, Belize, C.A.; Tel. 501-226-3254 ext 243; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Founded in 1996, Green Reef is a private, non-profit group based in San Pedro, devoted to protecting Belize’s marine and coastal resources. Among its projects are establishing mooring buoys to protect the barrier reef, the management of two cayes near Ambergris as bird sanctuaries and monitoring Jewfish populations in Belize.
King’s Children Home, 38/40 Unity Blvd., P.O. Box 144, Belmopan, Belize, C.A.; Tel. 501-822-2021: The King’s Children Home is a non-profit organization which assists children in Belize who have lost their parent(s) through death, have been abandoned, abused and/or neglected. KCH needs volunteers to help out, for any period of time, but preferable for 2-6 month periods or longer. Volunteers work with kids from 1-18 years of age. Activities may include tutoring, counseling, clerical duties and pre-schooling.
Monkey Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, P.O. Box 187, Belmopan, Belize, C.A.; Tel. 501-820-3032; e-mail email@example.com Monkey Bay is a private wildlife sanctuary and environmental education center on 1,070 acres near the Belize Zoo. Links to other conservation organizations in Belize and Monkey Bay’s own programs provide some volunteer opportunities in conservation and community service.
Mount Carmel High School Belize, Benque Viejo del Carmen, Cayo, Belize, C.A.; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org This school is highly unusual in that it has an all-volunteer faculty. Volunteers, who must be four-year university graduates and be willing to teach in a Catholic environment, commit to teach for a period of one to two years, and in return they receive room, board and US$12.50/week in spending money. The minimum commitment is one school year, from mid-August until mid-June and the typical length is two years with the summer off. Living arrangements are spartan but clean. Meals are taken together in the rectory. Mt. Carmel High School is a grant-aided institution under the patronage of the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT). The Philosophy of education institutions managed by SOLT is rooted in the sacred mystery of the Blessed Trinity. As such, SOLT institutions are committed to a wholesome education whereby the individual is led towards Trinitarian relationships to bear fruit for God’s Kingdom.
Programme for Belize, 1 Eyre Street, P.O. Box 749, Belize City, Belize, C.A.; Tel. 501-227-5616; e-mail: email@example.com This completely Belizean-run organization manages the 260,000-acre Rio Bravo Conservation and Management area, the country’s second-largest protected reserve, representing about 4% of Belize’s land area. Programme for Belize accepts paying guests at its Rio Bravo and Hill Bank research stations, where visitors enjoy simple but pleasant accommodations and hearty local fare. Volunteer opportunities may occasionally be available, both in conservation and in archeology.
SAGA Society Belize, Coconut Drive, San Pedro, Ambergris Caye, Belize, C.A.; Tel. 501-226-3266; e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Saga is a non-profit organization, founded in 1999, whose purpose is to assist homeless and suffering dogs, cats and other animals on Ambergris Caye.
Toledo Institute for Development and Environment (TIDE), P.O. Box 150, Punta Gorda Town, Toledo District, Belize, C.A.; Tel. 501-722-2274 ; e-mail email@example.com Formed in 1997, TIDE focuses on conservation in the Toledo District.
The Scout Association of Belize at times has openings for volunteers, especially those with scouting experience in their home countries. Central America Boulevard, Belize City Center, Belize City, Belize, Central America. The Scout Association of Belize exists by virtue of the Scout Association of Belize Act, 1987 passed by the House of Representatives and the Senate of Belize and assented to by the Governor-General of Belize on 25 January 1988.