Volunteer Service

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------Online Application
Terms & Dates​

  • WINTER 2020
    • Dates: 01/20/20​ to 04/04/20
  • SPRING 2020
    • ​Dates: 04/019/20​ to 06/027/20
  • SUMMER 2020 
    • Dates: 06/29/20 to 09/12/20
  • FALL 2020 
    • Dates:  09/22/20 TO 12/14/20

Volunteer Service May Include:

  • Organic and Permaculture Farm Nonprofits

  • Community capacity building in food security

  • Youth environmental conservation education 

  • Providing infrastructure for permaculture projects including (Potable water improvement, Waste water treatment projects, Soil conservation projects, Irrigation water cachement systems)

  • Women's Traditional Agriculture and Textile Cooperatives

  • Indigenous Seed Saving Programs

  • Food Security and Food Justice non-profits

  • Medical Clinics serving primarily Indigenous Maya populations

  • Nutrition Education Programs

  • Maternal and Baby Health Programs




Ethical Service in Guatemala

As an IPSL service-learning participant in Lake Atitlan, Guatemala, you will have the opportunity to perform volunteer service in one of several local partner organizations/agencies. IPSL does its best to match your skills and interests to the placement, but please remember that the notion of service is, first and foremost, to respond to the needs of others. You will play a role not only by actively participating with a determined role among the team members, but also by supporting the projects and programs with your knowledge, experience, humility and hard work. In turn, your efforts assist organizations in achieving their goals in a sustainable, ethical way. 

Service-Learning™ versus Internship/Practicum

IPSL service-learning placements are determined, in part, by student interests and skills (and, in some cases, language abilities), but primarily by community and organizational needs needs. Central to the philosophy of service-learning is the notion of service. Service-learning is not the same as an internship or practicum although it may look very similar. The service in service-learning may or may not be career-related. An internship is designed mostly so that the student will benefit by learning about his/ her future profession. In contrast, in service-learning, the outcome of the student's work - that is, the service – is as important as the student’s learning. There are — or should be - identifiable benefits to those served. This reciprocity is a key component in international service-learning.

IPSL Service Placements


IPSL's service-learning placements are in development organizations that have sprung up from the grassroots, where locals have identified a need, and where the change effort is owned by them. Occasionally, these organizations can benefit from  additional assistance of all kinds from the outside. So, IPSL participants should remember that they are stepping into a moving stream of initiatives and efforts that began long ago, and that will continue after the participant departs. Your work is important, but your individual contributions may not be visible for many years. Change takes time. In the meantime, you are fulfilling a need, and making a valuable contributing to development efforts in Cambodia..


A single organization may need hands-on assistance from IPSL participants (direct service) or assistance in the background building capacity (indirect service. Either way, both direct and indirect service are needed to accomplish the goals. Each is valuable. In actuality, because nearly all non-profits experience resource scarcity, IPSL participants do a little bit of everything. And this is as it should be. Nothing says "I'm a partner in your community" more than a willingness on the part of a service-learning participant not only to do higher tasks, but also occasionally to pick up a broom and sweep the floor so that the setting is clean and presentable. Such actions serve to break down stereotypes about Americans, and build relationships based on equality. That is why many of the service organizations with which we work have been our partners for years.


Volunteer Service that Addresses Real Human Needs

As you work with local people, you will find your experience and understanding of the culture enriched and deepened, your leadership skills developed, and your language skills enhanced. Your placement will be determined by community and organizational needs, as well as your interests, goals, and skills.

You will serve approximately 10-15 hours per week in a local organization.