The Dental Internship
This essential volunteer program was established with the aim to make a real difference to the lives of the impoverished people of La Ceiba by supplying dental services they would otherwise be unable to access. Unfortunately, the public health care system in Honduras is one of the worst in Latin America, resulting in hospitals that are under resourced and poorly equipped, and the large dental department within La Ceiba’s largest full-service public hospitals is no exception. Many are simply unable to afford treatment, resulting in treatable oral diseases being left untreated, worsening and resulting in infections and serious medical conditions. This program makes a real difference to the lives of the most vulnerable in society by providing free dental treatment, preventative care and education, changing the lives of the most vulnerable. Volunteers who are registered dental nurses or dental assistants, dental students or qualified dental care professionals are invited to take up placements in Honduras where their skills are desperately needed. This dental internship program places volunteers with a supervising dentist or dental nurse as they carry out their daily workload. Responsibilities vary according to their own qualifications, experience and/or comfort level.
Goals of this Project:
- Save lives and make a real difference to the people of La Ceiba
- Provide free healthcare to those who need it most
- Improve the health and long term wellbeing of some of Honduras’ most impoverished people
- Offer a teaching experience for dental students while also supplying a much-needed volunteer labour force to help those who need it most
How You Can Help
This volunteer program makes a huge difference to the lives of those in need of dental care. Those who are studying, or have completed, a relevant degree can work alongside local staff to provide much needed dental care for the people of La Ceiba.
Dental students will be able to observe dentists and provide assistance with cleanings, check-ups, extractions, and restorative care. Hygienists will be able to provide cleanings for children along with oral hygiene instruction. Pre-dental students will be able to shadow the dentists, help manage the patients, assist with record keeping and charting and help maintain instruments
In order to enable proper interaction with both staff and patients at the hospital, it is essential that volunteers have at least an intermediate level of Spanish - a prerequisite for participation on this program. A language immersion option is also available and volunteers on this program are able to customize their schedule to combine a half day in the dental clinic and a half day of Spanish instruction (see Additional Info).This is a great way for volunteers to improve the health of those who need it and improve their Spanish language skills.
Volunteers contribute in a number of ways on the program and can expect to undertake the following tasks, dependent on skills and training:
- Directly assist dentists in their work
- Preparing and sterilize equipment
- Carry out cleaning and maintenance duties
- Visit public schools to educate children about oral hygiene
- Network with local residents and local project staff.
This program offers an amazing opportunity for suitable applicants who are 18 years and over to work alongside qualified dental professionals and gain first-hand insight into the Honduran dental healthcare system.
Placement in the dental clinic is available to dentists and hygienists as well as pre-dental and dental students and hygienists-in-training. This clinic is in a large public hospital in La Ceiba and is typically understaffed and in need of assistance.
Volunteers on this project will need at least an intermediate understanding of Spanish in order to communicate effectively with patients and staff. Naturally, all applicants must also have a genuine willingness to help, show drive and initiative, and bring a positive 'can-do' attitude. If this sounds like you, we want you on the team!
Note that Volunteers need to provide their own supplies where possible such as scrubs, gloves, hand sanitizer, and basic hand instruments.
Additionally, volunteers applying to join this program will be required to supply to following documentation:
- Emergency contact
- Police check
Honduras is a beautiful country with amazing people and a rich culture and with the Caribbean Sea at its doorstep, and mountains with tropical waterfalls and cloud forests just to the South, the community of El Porvenir is a simply stunning place to visit. In their free time, volunteers are free to explore the local area, laze on the white sandy beaches or relax with other volunteers. Its like volunteering in paradise!
Start Dates & Duration
This project is available year-round and programs start every SATURDAY. Volunteers can choose to participate for periods ranging from 1 week to 12 weeks. Longer stays can be arranged directly with the local team, but will be subject to availability and individual visa conditions.
Spaces on this project are limited and therefore subject to availability. Early booking is recommended.
For current available start dates please check the calendar on the right.
Arrival & Orientation
There are no direct international flights into La Ceiba. Volunteers usually fly into San Pedro Sula, then catch a connecting local flight or a Hedman Alas bus connection to La Ceiba (exact details and instruction are provided to registered volunteers). Volunteers will be picked up at the Hedman Alas bus station or the La Ceiba airport (Code: LCE). Note that volunteers should try to arrive in-country mid-day so that they can easily travel to La Ceiba by early evening.
After they are collected by the local teams driver, volunteers will be brought directly to the volunteer house to meet the local Project Manager and settle in to their accommodations. The following morning, an orientation is held and the itinerary presented. This includes a walking tour of El Porvenir, and also covers details of the social issues, health issues and educational needs of the community. Your project manager will also address safety and health issues, organizational rules and “do’s and don’ts” of living and working comfortably in Honduras. This is a great opportunity to get to know your hosts, meet your fellow volunteers, and ask any last questions you may have.
- Program Arrival Day: SATURDAY
- Program Departure Day: SATURDAY
- Arrival/Departure Airport: Ramon Villeda Morales International Airport, San Pedro Sula, Honduras (Code: SAP)
- (Volunteers must catch a bus from San Pedro Sula to La Ceiba, where they are collected on arrival)
Accommodation & Meals
Participants are generally accommodated throughout their stay in one of our comfortable Volunteer Houses. Comfortable, clean and secure volunteer houses are located in the seaside town of El Porvenir, just 20 minutes West of La Ceiba. All volunteer houses have filtered drinking water, showers, ‘western-style’ toilet facilities, comfortable beds and WI-FI Internet access, which makes communication easy. Volunteers can enjoy wonderful accommodation in a great town on the Caribbean Sea, learn about local people and their culture.
Volunteers purchase and prepare their own food. Several small markets are located just a few minutes from the houses and volunteers are encouraged to use the full kitchen facilities available to prepare their own meals. Alternatively, volunteers are welcome to enjoy the local Honduran culture and cuisine at one of the inexpensive beachfront restaurants available just a quick walk from the volunteer houses. Note that conversational Spanish tutoring is available in the evenings.
Participants are transported daily from the volunteer accommodation to their placement site in central La Ceiba. They then catch the public bus back to the accommodation, stopping right outside the volunteer house. EASY!
*In addition to the program fees listed above a Registration Fee is payable to secure your place. The registration fee is USD 299 for those volunteering with Love Volunteers for the first time or USD 149 for any subsequent volunteer placements. The registration fee includes: lifetime LV Alumni Membership, fundraising support & advice, dedicated pre-departure support, certificate of completion (on request), and exclusive access to the LV Trip Planner.
Some things are not included in the program fees listed above, such as flights, visas, vaccinations, travel insurance, additional foods and snacks, spending money, local transport, in-country trips and excursions, return airport transfer (unless mentioned above).
Please note that prices are subject to change without notice. Please ensure you have read the Love Volunteers Terms and Conditions & Refund Policy.
Want to learn Spanish?
Why not use this opportunity to improve your knowledge of Spanish and really get immersed in the local culture during your volunteering placement? We can offer part time Spanish classes at very competitive rates for you, so simply let us know if you are interested!
Part-time Spanish Immersion Program (taken in conjunction with volunteer work):
Alternatively translators may be available at a cost of $2.50 per hour.
Fees for Spanish Classes must be paid directly to your volunteer coordinator on arrival in Honduras.