Jamaica runs to the beat of its own soundtrack. You’ll feel that rhythm, whether you’re taking a dip in a swimming hole, touring the cultural sites in Kingston, or enjoying jerk chicken in a family-run eatery.
Jamaica stimulates the senses — and calls you to venture further. Volunteering in Jamaica is a great experience for anyone looking to enjoy an incredible adventure while helping this great Caribbean nation build a better tomorrow.
Let this article serve as a resource for discovering the perfect opportunity to volunteer in Jamaica!
A Brief History of Jamaica
Jamaica is a diverse and lively country with a complex history. It’s vital to understand this before traveling there.
Arawaks, indigenous peoples of South America, first arrived in Jamaica roughly 2,500 years ago. Following the arrival of Christopher Columbus and subsequent control of the island by Spain, most Arawaks died from disease and violence at the hands of the Europeans.
Later, the English took over Jamaica from the Spaniards, and the slave trade brought Africans to the island. Slave rebellions and social movements led to abolition and eventually emancipation in the early 19th century. It wasn’t until 1962 that Jamaica gained full independence from England, though.
Jamaica is intensely proud of its history. The country hasn’t had long to establish itself since independence, and it hasn’t been easy. Jamaica faces pressing challenges, ranging from poverty and crime to inadequate access to healthcare and education, but remains focused on forging a better path ahead. By being a volunteer in Jamaica, you can help the beautiful island nation enjoy a brighter future.
Types of Interning and Volunteering Opportunities in Jamaica
Volunteering in Jamaica is an attractive option for those interested in Jamaican culture and helping the country develop and prosper. There are lots of options, ensuring you can apply your skills and knowledge in the best possible way.
If you hope to volunteer or intern in Jamaica, some options include:
- Education: Teach IT, English, math and other subjects. Provide educational support to classrooms and community centers.
- Healthcare: Raise awareness about mental health and provide services to children and adults, do a medical internship at a rural clinic, care for animals, and more.
- Human Rights: Help protect children from abuse, assist parents who have missing children, and offer guidance to marginalized groups.
- Community Development: Bolster Jamaica’s disaster management processes, work on a cooperative farming project, build schools, and more.
Beyond volunteering in Jamaica, you can also immerse yourself in a cultural program. For instance, you could learn the Patois language, which features largely English words superimposed on West African grammar. Or, you could experience the Rastafarian way of life in a rural village. Such experiences would certainly be amazing.