Work and Travel in Suriname
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN SURINAME FOR TRAVELLERS
Suriname is a former Dutch colony and one of the least visited nations in South America. But in spite of its underdevelopment, this is a hidden oasis that every traveller should consider. Formerly the destination of rich foreigners and out of the way backpackers, Suriname is hoping to make it onto the classic backpacking trail.
If you want to travel in Suriname you can extend your stay by looking into volunteering. Enrich your experience and take on a challenge with the variety of volunteering opportunities in Suriname.
Our travel guide to Suriname is going to introduce you to the different projects available here.
1. Work in an Orphanage in Suriname
The Panamaribo region of Suriname is one of the least developed parts of the country. Abandoned children rarely get the care they need here.
There’s a growing number of orphanages that desperately need outside help. It could involve playing with the children and helping them with their homework, or just making running repairs to the building itself.
This is your chance to make a real difference and make connections with local people. You’ll get the chance to be a fixture in the community.
2. Teach English in Suriname
The main language of Suriname is Dutch, due to its colonial history. But there’s a growing clamour for the people of Suriname to look outwards. They want to get better jobs and create better futures for themselves.
That’s why native English speakers will have plenty of opportunities to work in Suriname and make a permanent difference to the lives of the people they come into contact with.
There are a range of different options available, such as: working in schools, universities, and in private homes.
Take note that some English teaching programmes may be combined with a focus on cultural exchange.
3. Work on Marine Biology Programmes in Suriname
As mentioned before, Suriname is something of an oasis. The lack of development has allowed nature to flourish. Along the coastline of the country, you’ll find marine biology programmes that concentrate on the study and protection of the flora, fauna, and wildlife there.
Whilst you work and travel in Suriname you’ll get to enjoy an unforgettable experience and see parts of the country most tourists could never hope to visit.
More importantly, you’ll learn vital skills that will look good on any job application.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR SURINAME
To work and travel in Suriname you need a visa. The problem is the visa policy can be confusing. To begin with, both Japan and Russia are entitled to enter the country for 90 days without filling out any paperwork at all. The same applies to South Koreans, but only for thirty days.
For most Europeans (including the UK), North Americans, China, and India they will need to apply for a tourist card online for $54. The price is correct as of this writing. The tourist card also entitles you to 90-day entry.
But for Australian citizens and Kiwis they will need to apply for a formal visa. They’re not entitled to apply for the tourist card. So in this situation these citizens will have to attend a Surinamese embassy.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN SURINAME
The tropical climate of Suriname and its seasons can be hard to understand. The chances are you’ll be in the populated north, so this is the area we’re going to focus on. But if you travel in Suriname you’ll realise there’s little difference if you’re in the south.
To begin with, the spring covers the major rainy season. It’s the worst time of year to work in Suriname. Many remote areas can become inaccessible as roads are washed out.
For this reason, you should stick to working in orphanages and in schools in the more urbanised areas.
The summer season coincides with the major rainy season. Again, this is not the ideal time of year to take advantage of the volunteering opportunities in Suriname.
Look back at the ‘Spring’ section for more information on what to do during the major rainy season.
Autumn is the best time of year to visit. It’s the start of the major dry season again. There are lots of different opportunities to work in Suriname in autumn.
For a start, this is the ideal period to join a conservation programme. The coastal conservation programmes are by far the most popular. However, you can also find volunteering opportunities in Suriname in the more central areas. Serious conservation efforts are being made as the country continues to develop.
You may also decide that you want to work in the construction industry. As you might expect, the infrastructure in the rural areas of the country is poor. International charities regularly work to improve the road links between the towns and villages there.
The work is hard but highly rewarding.
Finally, you may choose to join a charity that focuses on community development. With so much poverty in the country, there’s a big need for volunteers to help empower women, ready young people for the world of work, and offer opportunities for people to become more self-sufficient.
Winter can be a complex season. It’s split between a minor dry season at the end of winter and a minor wet season at the beginning of it. But this shouldn’t cause much disruption as you travel in Suriname.
So consider all the volunteering projects you read about in the ‘Autumn’ section as still valid.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN SURINAME
Suriname will seem very different to the rest of South America. It doesn’t have the same type of Latin American culture here but more of a European culture.
Foreigners are rare, so expect the locals to be curious about your presence. The country is largely a safe one but do expect to have to contend with a high level of underdevelopment.
If you’re not yet prepared for working in poorer countries, you’ll find work and travel in Suriname to be a real challenge.
If you’re up for the challenge, consider working and travelling in Suriname on your next adventure!
- Edited on May 20 2021 by Lily