Volunteer Guatemala: I personally thought this was a life changing opportunity. ABV was able to provide a complete experience for me in terms of volunteering and culturally. Would recommend it to anyone.
1. How was the local ABV coordinator and the support provided in-country?
The coordinator was extremely supportive and accommodating. She met up with us almost daily, helped with logistics of volunteering, traveling, communication, currency, and extracurricular activities. She was also extremely engaging and approachable. My experience would not have been as complete or as diverse without her involvement.
2. What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
The most surprising thing I experienced was how warm and engaging everyone in Guatemala was, from the program coordinator to my host family to the medical staff I worked with to even the patients.
3. What was most difficult to experience?
The most difficult experience was the need to quickly immerse in the Spanish, especially for someone with minimal Spanish proficiency.
4. Any tips for future volunteers? (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, etc.)
- Layer clothing – weather is variable.
- Comfortable, durable shoes
- Bring crisp, high amount dollar bills (no small bills) for currency exchange
- Beware of street dogs!
5. Other things volunteers should know?
- Take advantage of local cafés and nightlife!
- Ask your host family lots of questions about local recommendations and travel logistics.
- Bring gifts for the host family.
- Consider bandages / blister covers for foot protection.
6. Personal paragraph (ABV program testimonial):
I personally thought this was a life changing opportunity. ABV was able to provide a complete experience for me in terms of volunteering and culturally. Would recommend it to anyone.
7. How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e.g. host family, on-site, shared)
Extremely accommodating and social. You are fully immersed with your host family and will eat meals with them often. I felt very safe with my accommodations, and felt that my host family was really my family.
8. What was your favorite memory of this trip?
My favorite memory was going out with my host family one night to get chocolate drinks at a café. There was much laughter and my friends and family were full of jokes and pranks the entire night.
9. How was the ABV USA support prior to travelling?
Their email response was very quick. I was actually a last minute addition to my group, and this was done very efficiently and seamlessly. The instructions were easy to navigate and all questions were answered thoroughly and quickly.
10. Are you willing to speak to potential ABV volunteers?