Affordable Intern and Study Abroad Programs for Independent Travelers

Volunteer in Mexico

Gain valuable volunteer experience, boost your resume, and live like a local in Oaxaca.


Take a moment to reflect on some of the most meaningful experiences you’ve had in life. We’re willing to bet most took you outside your comfort zone, didn’t they? Here at Adelante Abroad, this concept lays the foundation for all of our organizational values.

Volunteer in Oaxaca Program Information

Our internship programs have taken off in Spain and parts of Latin America while in Oaxaca, we focus on the same program highlights but with an emphasis on VOLUNTEER work rather than internship work.

The difference is in nuances: Volunteer work has a more socially involved connotation, whereas Internship is straight up business oriented. Volunteer work most definitely gives back to the community, whereas Internships are to directly benefit you instead of benefitting the community abroad you live in while participating in our programs.

Oaxaca is a beautiful old colonial city in south-central Mexico with an alternative, artsy vibe. Located along the Sierra foothills, the city is home to towering Zapotec pyramids and high plains desert. It’s an idyllic, vibrant thoroughfare for artisans and craftsman from the surrounding indigenous pueblos and a gateway to many mountain and beach destinations. Home to ancient Zapotec, Mixtec and Aztec peoples, the culture is rich with diversity.

Influenced by these deep roots and a history of upheaval and change, the people are both warm and resilient. The Alcala, a cobblestone street lined with old stone buildings, churches, shops, and restaurants ends at the Zocalo, the colorful plaza at the heart of town. Yet throughout the city you’ll find food for every palate and budget, cafes, shops and markets.

Oaxaca has been called the craft capital of Mexico and is fairly far south, past Mexico City. Its population is around 210,000 and the weather is mild year-round. It boasts one of the largest Saturday markets in the country and each nearby village has its own craft specialty from rugs to pottery to linens to hand-carved wooden animals.

When you look at our list of Volunteer Assignments, you will notice that there are a large number of ways to positively impact the people of Oaxaca when you sign up for this program, whether it is for just one month or for longer, on up to 12 months. We offer placements in Archaeology, Arts, Business, Culinary, Ecology, Education, Graphic Design, Law, Medical /Healthcare, Non-profits (NGOs), Psychology, Social Work, Teaching English, Theatre, Volunteer, Women’s Studies and Health, Work with Children, and more!

We can say with confidence that we offer the most affordable volunteer programs in Oaxaca, do your research! Begin your internship experience by applying nowNOTE** For most international internships in Oaxaca, Mexico some Spanish language skills are required.


Why You Should Choose Adelante Abroad






What’s Included In Your Volunteer in Oaxaca Program

Our Volunteer in Oaxaca programs include some key features, here are just a few:

  • The amount of time you choose to intern is flexible, with program lengths ranging from 1 to 12 months, all begin the first Monday of the month.
  • Program can be done for academic credit (240 contact hours for a three month program, for example)
  • 2 weeks of intensive Spanish language classes are included in the fee
  • Housing is included. Live like a Native in a shared apartment with other international students or elect to live with Mexican roommates.
  • Airport or bus pickup when you arrive in Oaxaca, and taken directly to your apartment
  • Volunteer for 4 hours each day in locally owned companies, museums or grass-root organizations. You will gain real, international experience to add to our resume.
  • Some excursions are included during your 2-week intensive Spanish coursework. To that effect, we help cultivate the cultural side of the program for you by organizing these events.
  • The Adelante Director in Oaxaca speaks English fluently, having taken graduate coursework in Michigan, and is a native of Oaxaca. Our Director is available to all candidates as needed for counsel and assistance.

For a comprehensive list of what’s included, click here!

Is This Program Right For You?

Answer the following questions:

  • Are you an independent-minded individual?
  • Will you be Age 18 or older by the time you begin your program?
  • Do you speak fluent English? (This program is open to candidates worldwide)
  • Do you desire the opportunity to live and work alongside local people abroad?
  • Are you flexible and open to situations outside of your comfort zone (i.e. public transportation, new environment, different customs, etc.)?
  • Are you looking for a program duration between 1 to 6 months?

If you answered YES to these questions, then this program is right for you!

For many programs, Spanish skills are required at least at a low-intermediate level, but placements can be found in some sectors for complete beginners (e.g. Teaching English). Certain fields may have specific requirements for prior experience or studies.

Our program works, for the right candidate, even if you haven’t yet begun your international travels. We’ll create a customized once-in-a-lifetime program for you!

Hear From Our Past Candidates

Gaby - Volunteer in Mexico - Adelante Abroad

Gaby S., New York Barnard College, USA

Volunteering in Oaxaca was one of the best experiences of my life. My program helped me interact with indigenous Master artisans who taught me many valuable lessons about Oaxaca’s culture and about their indigenous heritage. Oaxaca itself is a very rich source of cultural knowledge and colorful experiences. Everyone was very warm and helpful at my volunteer organization and they guided me throughout my volunteering experience. Adelante also did a great job at finding very centralized housing options, and providing guidance and suggestions for my time in Oaxaca, like assisting to Guelaguetza, a beautiful tradition in which all the regions of Oaxaca showcase their traditional attires and dances. In summary, I can’t wait to go back to Oaxaca again.

Ella - Graphic Design Internship - Adelante Abroad

Ella S., Bennington College, Portland, OR, USA

This program was perfect for me, and it was a great way to get to know a new city. It made the transition to living in another place as easy as it really could be — finding me housing, an internship, and contacts within the city that could answer any questions or help show me around. The internship was a fantastic fit, which really showed how much Adelante listened to what I wanted from the experience, as well as they attention they payed to what skills I already had. I learned a lot, met many new people, and got to know the amazing city. I even decided to move back to Oaxaca for the rest of the year to work at the art studio where I was previously interning!

Volunteer in Oaxaca is YEAR-ROUND. Begin any month of the year or take advantage of our mid-May start date to beat the summer crowds!

List of Volunteerships in Oaxaca

Click on any of the internship fields below for a description.


ARCHAEOLOGY: Volunteers in this sector tend to work with government entities, not private sector entities, as there is mostly reconstruction and renovation work needed.  There are so many sites in and around Oaxaca, the Government institutes that take our volunteers will decide which one and where. International internship placement is based upon past experience, length of time and time of year in the program.  Volunteers will work on the preservation, restoration and organization of archaeological sites and museums of Oaxaca.


ARTS –  Oaxaca is famous as a haven for Artists, so this is one of our most developed sectors.  There are so many, we just listed them in bullets below so you can really choose which is a best fit:

    • Workshop interns wanted at various studios teaching: Painting, Sculpting, Glass Art, Bookmaking, Collage work, Drawing and more
    • Docent at a Contemporary & Mexican folk art gallery
    • Docent at Graphic Arts museum, library and art events
    • Volunteer with the Center for Human Rights – teaching music and painting workshops in communities in order to teach basic human rights
    • Assist in downtown Oaxacan artist women’s cooperative store (a very cool 3 story building that houses art made by women from the numerous nearby indigenous communities with profits going right back to those women in those communities)
    • Teaching English to Artisans dedicated to the creation of wood carving figures and helping with the marketing of their works.
    • Restoration project of wall paintings (murals) in a XVIII century church 20 minutes from Oaxaca City – good hand-skills and patience required.
    • Aspiring Botanists wanted: Help in the daily activities of a natural dyes and cochineal center, 20 minutes from Oaxaca City. With this international internship, candidates will work in the lab, in the field with plants and insects (taking care and harvesting), dying workshops and organization of large annual events (November)


ACCOUNTING: Work for a progressive arts collective in Oaxaca helping them with all things accounting, from the ground up. There is a TON of work with this international internship and the people are very welcoming. Volunteer should have knowledge of basic accounting principles and be ready to help build an accounting structure and program vs. expecting one to already be in place upon arrival.

BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT: The following  volunteer positions are all within an organization that promotes the cultivation and consumption of an ancient grain grown in abundance in Oaxaca (amaranth) as a way to improve health.

    • Develop a profitable business for a program that is currently run as a non-profit organization.
    • Research, write and edit grant proposals.
    • Local business outreach/marketing – approaching local restaurants, food stores and clothing stores to educate and promote the organization and their work (advanced Spanish required).
    • Monitor and evaluate the program through interviewing participants and analysis of date. (Oct – Jan only)
    • Program development by observing and analyzing, then providing suitable workshops and training. (advanced Spanish required)
    • Provide organizational assistance in areas such as fundraising, human resources, budgeting and program development.


    • Volunteer for an organization that certifies organic farms in Latin America
    • Non -governmental organization that provides analysis of small communities to assists them in planning eco-tourism, product production and market research
    • Non-government organization that assists small communities in analyzing biology and geography of their community including projects in fiber and other materials
    • Promoting cultivation and consumption of amaranth to improve life in rural Oaxaca.
    • Promoting PET recycling with kids, schools, and public as well as activities, proposals, translations, and managing PET recycle within Oaxaca City.
    • Volunteer work for a non-profit organization in Oaxaca City whose focus is to teach the public about a variety of social issues apparent in Mexico, including animal rights and welfare, ecological responsibility, health, disability rights, human rights, education, children, and farming.


CULINARY: Not really a Volunteer position, however there are excellent placements in this international internship sector. From an upscale restaurant, wine/mezcal store and mezcal production entity, to “alternative” vegetarian and vegan cafes to traditional restaurants with excellent kitchens, where candidates will learn the art of making the famous “mole” sauces, and more. Culinary candidates look no further: Oaxaca is one of the culinary hot spots in the world.

    • Work with alternative innovative Oaxacan-Mexican cuisine, combining traditional ingredients in new and novel recipes, served up in contemporary presentations. The avant-garde architect-designed setting makes this establishment one of the most exciting places to eat in Oaxaca. A formerly derelict colonial patio now sports high adobe-brick walls, tall wooden columns and cool pools of water in an impeccably contemporary configuration, half open to the sky
    • Going a bit higher end, and in a classy, yet casual setting. It’s nueva cocina, traditional Mexican food with smart, interesting modern touches, but without ever losing respect for the traditional
    • Another placement declares with pride that all its antojitos are made out of maiz criollo, meaning that the variety is indigenous and native to Mexico. (Criollo also means a Mexican of Spanish descent)
    • More in line with our Volunteer push in Oaxaca, is cooking and serving breakfast and lunch to 120 children and teenagers in an marginal community near Montealban within an NGO’s social program


ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE / ECOLOGY: Work with an established organization that focuses on water issues for the Central Valleys of Oaxaca – how to find renewable secure sources of good water for the population of this region.

Volunteer duties include:

•  Regeneration                                                                                                                         
•  Water management
•  Revegetation
•  Alternative construction
•  Alternative technologies
•  Geographic information system
•  Support training workshops
•  Translations Spanish/ English
•  Revegetation
•  Soil Conservation

A main goal with this international internship is to merge modern knowledge and technology with the social structure and wisdom of traditional communities.  Offices are located in downtown Oaxaca and projects are available for all levels of Spanish. Interns must be self-motivated, mature, and able to work independently as well as in a group. Placements are available year round.

** 2 month minimum.


Who wants to Volunteer as a Teacher in Oaxaca? So many options with this international internship!  Help in a government office for social assistance, and cultural activities for the youth of Oaxaca.  Or assist giving courses on cultural, academic and sport activities for the general public within that same government funded office.

TEACHING ENGLISH volunteers wanted to:

    • at a Public elementary school
    • teaching employees of a Government office for human rights
    • working with low risk boys at a juvenile hall
    • or with street kids as an afternoon class in a group home in down town Oaxaca



    • work at an alternative university program focusing on education of community based social development and research groups – all need website design and assistance in research with this international internship
    • Developing, designing, and/or translating web pages and logos for low income NGO’s, local artisans, and small family businesses, within a network of Graphic Design Studios in Oaxaca City.


This is tricky as our volunteers will be working within the legal sector, however for non profits, not law firms.  One setting is a small one person Judicial Center that provides mediation services. This center helps employees to effectively comunicate with their employers regarding labor matters and employee rights. The center provides mediation in the beginning and where required, they assist the employee to sue the employer. The office is a local office part of the government’s Justice Secretary and mostly helps people that do not have enough money to go to a lawyer with this international internship.

Another setting is a non profit that assists women in all matters relating to divorce proceedings.  From assistance to filing for divorce to helping securing what was legally promised after a divorce proceeding.  Think single moms with children trying to get a dead beat dad to provide alimony and other assistance after a divorce.


This international internship is one of our favorite placements in Oaxaca.  Candidates will work at a Red Cross hospital serving the public that cannot afford a doctor.  Volunteers will be trained and have a fixed NP or Physician to shadow (they even have to wear a white lab coat!).  Within this Hospital in downtown Oaxaca there are these Departments that accept our Volunteers:  

    • Very low cost general medical clinic
    • Emergency ambulance and paramedic for large non-profit
    • Dental and medical clinic
    • Alternative medicine including floral baths, herbs and acupuncture


Our non-profit international internship programs in Oaxaca offer a host of work for non-profit organizations in fields like environmental/ecology, business development, medical/health, social and economic development, social work, women’s studies and health, etc.!


PSYCHOLOGY: Judicial center to provide alternative of mediation to public of Oaxaca including counseling in this international internship placement.


    • Organizing, publicizing and teaching workshops in communities to teach basic human rights
    • Judicial center to provide alternative of mediation to public of Oaxaca
    • Center to assist Oaxacan’s that plan to immigrate to the US
    • Low risk boys juvenile hall
    • Children’s center providing daily free lunch, preschool, computer an other classes, hygiene care, school uniforms, homework help for Oaxacan’s “street” children
    • Civil association that promotes a woman’s right to vote and equal participation in the government
    • Non-profit organization that provides research and works on particular projects that relate to women and families and in particular reproductive health and provides low cost counseling and gynecological exams
    • Young women’s dormitory and center for indigenous girls from local villages that provides housing during high school, university and emotional assistance and workshops
    • Providing basic medical and health education, as well as helping children with their homework, at the primary school level within Oaxaca City. Same site, preparing and serving food to children at the primary school level within Oaxaca City.


TEACHING ENGLISH There are a number of options with this international internship placement in Oaxaca including:

    • Public primary school
    • Government office for human rights, teaching employees
    • Low risk boys juvenile hall
    • Government office for social assistance, academic and cultural activities for the youth of Oaxaca.
    • Teaching English to Artisans dedicated to the creation of wood carving figures and help with the marketing of their works.


THEATRE: Theatre group that presents plays in indigenous communities. The group prepares plays and goes out to towns and presents them in schools (primary or secondary ones), and main plazas of indigenous communities. They are usually plays for kids and sometimes for adults. The themes vary, for example, health, environment, etc. The group also works on their costumes, sets and props with this international internship in Oaxaca.


Each and every international internship placement (except maybe Culinary) in our Oaxaca, Mexico program is volunteer work! Take a look at all of the fields waiting for your help as a volunteer in the above (or below) tabs!



    • Young women’s dormitory and center for indigenous girls from local villages that provides housing during high school, university and emotional assistance and workshops in Oaxaca.
    • Non-profit organization that provides research and works on particular projects that relate to women and families and in particular reproductive health projects, provide low cost counseling and gynecological exams
    • Civil association that promotes a woman’s right to vote and equal participation in the government with this international internship



    • Children’s center providing daily free lunch, preschool, computer an other classes, hygiene care, school uniforms, homework help for Oaxacan’s “street” children
    • International internship working with low risk boys juvenile hall
    • Young women’s dormitory and center for indigenous girls from local villages that provides housing during high school, university and emotional assistance and workshops.
    • Courses of cultural, academic and sport activities for the general public.
    • Orphanage for children and young adults coming from indigenous communities.


Our field placements are not limited to the above list, we can work with you in finding the right fit! We’ve placed past candidates in other fields such as Auto Industry, Zoology, Photography, etc. Contact us and inquire about other placement opportunities! We’ll do our best to work for and with you in finding your desired placement.

All international internship work assignments must be confirmed in advance as space depends on availability and candidates experience and interests. Other Volunteer opportunities in different fields – ask us, they may be available on request.

Application Process

Click on the button at the top of the page to apply for this program now!

Application deadline is 60 days prior to your chosen start date.

Late applications are accepted on a case by case basis and are subject to a $250 late fee.

Program Fee

  • 1 month: $2,495 (not all work assignments available)
  • 2 months: $3,205
  • 3 months: $3,875
  • 4 months: $4,395
  • 5 months: $5,150
  • 6 months: $5,895

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