Volunteering abroad in Quito was the experience of a lifetime. I worked in the emergency room of the Hospital. I was able to learn and aid in procedures, something that I would never be able to do in America without attending or completing medical school.
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country?
The coordinators and staff were wonderful, especially when aiding with excursions to the Amazon and the Galapagos.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
The two most surprising things were the automatic inclusion by the family and the differences between Mexican Spanish and Ecuadorian Spanish.
3- What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
The most challenging part was the learning the language. I did not know any Spanish before coming here. As I was learning it, the other languages I knew seemed to blend, especially with vocabulary. The most difficult part was separating them.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
- Try to learn as much Spanish as possible before coming. It will help with faster immersion.
- Bring any medication you think you will need. It’s always nice to already have it, especially if you wake up in the middle of the night needing something.
- Make sure you have packed an umbrella, raincoat, sweater, and a bag to put them all in. The weather can change drastically throughout the day, especially in the Spring. It normalizes in the summer.
- Always walk with your bag in front of you to avoid your belongings from being stolen. The less friendly you look, the less you will be approached on the street when walking alone during the day.
5.1-Other things volunteers should know before coming here:
- Do not come with any expectations. Instead come with an open mind and you will enjoy life here.
- After 7pm, do not walk or use any public transportation. Use a taxi instead, this prevents you from being robbed. It’s worth the extra few dollars in order to keep your belongings, I didn’t have any problems but just in case.
- Anything you pack, assume it’s possible that it could be stolen or ruined. Do not bring your favorite belongings but bring things that make you happy.
- Have good bartering skills. At the local markets, you can barter for the price. Never take the first price offered. Keep your money hidden so when you go to “check” how much you have, say you only have xx amount on you. They typically accept that price.
6- Personal Paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial):
Volunteering abroad in Quito was the experience of a lifetime. I worked in the emergency room of the Hospital. I was able to learn and aid in procedures, something that I would never be able to do in America without attending or completing medical school. I would be excited every day to go to the hospital and would try to stay as long as possible. Afterwards, I would head back to the family’s house where you immediately felt loved and cared for. The family is so sweet and considerate. We talked, we laughed, we worried, we ate all together. I wouldn’t trade anything for this.
7- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
My accommodations were wonderful. The family is so sweet. They cooked all of my meals for me and made sure that I was doing okay on a daily,sometimes hourly basis. I was immediately included to be part of their family from the second I entered the door. Security was fine, it is like living or visiting any big city. You need to be smart and careful with your belongings.
8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
I went to the Galapagos during one of the weekends I was here. You are allowed to take 2 days off to visit the islands. I was there for a total of 4 days and visited 6 of the islands. It was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I swam with penguins, seal lions, sharks, sea turtles. It was absolutely wonderful and I will always cherish those memories and the people I met.
9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
Anytime I had a question, it was answered either in minutes online, or within a few hours if I sent an email. The response time from the organization was quick.
9.1- What do you think about the reservation system online?
It’s a good system for the most part. It works better on Firefox than Google chrome. It unfortunately stopped showing my project summary on Google chrome.
9.2- Who did you find Abroaderview website
I honestly just googled volunteering abroad. I ended up finding this organization, which seemed to have everything I wanted. I continued to research the organization to ensure that it was a legitimate organization and not a scam.
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Absolutely. I will be happy to answer any questions that they have.