Colombia Cartagena, It has been a wonderful experience volunteering in Cartagena. The ABV immersion program gives a unique opportunity to learn Spanish and at the same time learn more about the Colombian people and culture.
1- How were the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in- country?
He is very friendly and helpful. My daughter had already been in the programme for several weeks before I arrived, so I had most of the information from her already. We stayed with his family, so we had a lot of contact.
I am very grateful for how well he took care of my daughter from the start when she arrived on her own. He introduced her to his friends, showed her around Cartagena, went to the beach with her and took her to sports activities and to parties. She had a wonderful time and was taken care of in a fantastic way.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Program: Is was surprising to learn how well behaved the children were and how well the institution was run. A bit surprising also that there were no instructions of what to do for us volunteers, but we just followed the flow and needed to show initiative in order to feel useful.
Host Family: No surprises, as my daughter had already told me how wonderful they were.
Country: I am left with so many impressions, so it is hard to point out now what has been surprising. It is a totally different world. Lovely people, beautiful nature (Tayrona National Park is my favorite), great beaches, lots of delicious fruits (that I have not seen anywhere else in the world), music all day long. On the downside: poor people.
3- What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Program: Understanding the co-workers and children in the institution (even though I speak Spanish at an OK level).
Host Family: No challenges.
Country: Seeing the poor people and all the challenges the country face, politically and socially.
Gap Year Colombia
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
1. Be open minded
2. Learn as much Spanish as possible before you arrive, and while you are here
3. Take Spanish classes (immersion programme)
4. Lower your expectations in relation to what you can achieve and mean for the institution/children – you are a pair of extra hands for a limited time
5- Personal Paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial):
It has been a wonderful experience volunteering in Cartagena. The ABV immersion program gives a unique opportunity to learn Spanish and at the same time learn more about the Colombian people and culture.
The Foundation (Day Care Centre) in which I worked is surprisingly well run and really makes a difference for poor families and their children. It was an honor to be part of it and to get to know the adorable children and their fantastic staff.
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
Everything was fine.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
Program: Both the work and the Spanish classes were great.
Host Family: 1. Going to the beach with the whole family on a Saturday. 2. Getting fresh fruit juices every day!!!
Country: Spending a few days in Tyrona National Park – the most beautiful place in Colombia.
8.- What do you think about the reservation system online?
9- How did you find Abroaderview website (keywords, search engine, word mouth to mouth, recommended by .., other)
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?