Volunteer Ecuador: I stayed with a host family and the extended family visited often. I felt like I had plenty of space. The meals were very delicious. However, I eat plenty of meat and vegetables. I left my computer and phone out plenty of times so I feel safe. People are friendly when you ask them for directions.
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country?
The ABV Coordinator/staff were very helpful in making sure my experience was smooth and great. They were very available when I had to ask them a question through WhatsApp. They challenged you to speak Spanish throughout without defaulting to English in order that you learn the language. When I went into the office, they would greet me by my name.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Program: It was surprising to see how some of the nurses did not use gloves to take blood. I saw a patient with pneumonia; he was very pale and skinny. It was surprising seeing surgery where the patient was still awake.
Host Family: My host mother has an 8 month year old and she breastfeeds her baby at the table. That is not a common practice in the United States. My family likes to drink cola or drink juice everyday. I don’t drink cola or juice at home often.
Country: There are a lot of stray dogs everywhere. People drive very anxiously.
3- What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Program: It was a challenge dealing with patients who did not want to cooperate with you. I want to be a doctor. I had to try harder to be involved with the doctors instead of the auxiliary nurses.
Host Family: I am an only child who is used to being around adults. It was a little harder connecting to the teenager and baby. Sometimes I would have to take cold showers which is uncomfortable since the climate is cooler than I thought.
Country: I have never walked so much in my life. The landscape consists of a lot of hills. I got a lost a few times because the bus routes were a little confusing to me .
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
1. Bring warm clothing.
2. When you walk into a crowded area, keep your bookbag in front of you.
5.- Other things volunteers should know before coming here:
a. Air pollution, in my opinion, is a problem here.
b. When you greet a woman, you touch the side of her cheeks with yours and make the “kissy” sound
Volunteer Pre Medical
6- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
I stayed with a host family and the extended family visited often. I felt like I had plenty of space. The meals were very delicious. However, I eat plenty of meat and vegetables. I left my computer and phone out plenty of times so I feel safe. People are friendly when you ask them for directions.
7- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
Program: I got an opportunity to see surgery on a patient who had broken his tibia. I was very amazed how the anesthesiologist had to be careful not to administer too much anesthesia to the spine.
Host Family: I enjoyed playing card games with my family and listening to their stories.
Country: I enjoyed going to Mitad del Mundo. I bought some chocolate and it was nice learning the history how people figured out what the middle of the world was. I also got a chance to try Cuy.
8- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling? (who helped you, emails, phone calls, chat online, how fast did you got an answer, did you got all your answers)
I used chat online and email to communicate with ABV. Someone named Lori helped to answer my questions. Everything was really fast (less than 24 hours) and I am appreciative of that. All my questions were answered.
9.- What do you think about the reservation system online?
I thought it was pretty easy to navigate. It was appealing to look at.
9.1- Who did you find Abroaderview website (keywords, search engine, word mouth to mouth, recommended by .., other)
I found the website by learning about it through a blog on the internet about what to do over the summer for pre-medical students. I then showed it to my Spanish professor who supported my decision in attending the Pre Med/Pre Nurse Program in North Quito.
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Yes, I am willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers.