Volunteer Guatemala: This was truly an amazing experience, it really renewed my faith in altruism and globalization. This was such a holistic experience combining volunteering, culture and language. I loved being able to do some good, while meeting warm, genuine people both local and from abroad. Human connections are really what makes us strong and this experience really solidified that.
1. How was the local ABV coordinator and the support provided in-country?
The coordinator was our in-country support and was amazing. Took care of getting us settled in on our first day in the clinic and with our host families. She even helped us organize transportation and hotels for the rest of our trip, which was great.
2. What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
The most surprising thing I experienced was how much time we got to spend with our Spanish tutors and how flexible the classes were. I was expecting a more formalized lesson, and it was a pleasant surprise to be able to have a more integrative experience with learning the language, culture and history.
3. What was most difficult to experience?
The Spanish immersion. It has been a very intense experience trying to communicate and understand, and while it has been beneficial and great, the best way to learn, it has been the most challenging aspect.
4. Any tips for future volunteers? (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, etc. ?
1. Spend more time volunteering if you can, more than 1 week, we had 1 week and it was jam-packed.
2. Bring layered clothing, it rains sporadically and nights can be a bit chilly.
3. Bring crisp, clean large bills to exchange at the bank ($50$100, no $20)
5. Other things volunteers should know?
a. Do not flush toilet paper in toilet.
b. Beware of street dogs
c. Beware of traffic – pedestrians do not have the right of way
d. No need to tip, not part of the custom, but welcome
6. Personal paragraph (ABV program testimonial):
This was truly an amazing experience, it really renewed my faith in altruism and globalization. This was such a holistic experience combining volunteering, culture and language. I loved being able to do some good, while meeting warm, genuine people both local and from abroad. Human connections are really what makes us strong and this experience really solidified that.
7. How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e.g. host family, on-site, shared)
Our host family was phenomenal! They made us feel like part of their family, took care of us, taught us, and hung out with us. They made the living experience really great and made us feel welcome and at home.
8. What was your favorite memory of this trip?
Spending time with our host family. We did a night out with our host family and another family, and it was one of the best experiences I´ve had. The bonding and laughing and genuity of it all was truly amazing.
9. How was the ABV USA support prior to traveling?
The support prior to traveling was great. Very receptive and responsive to questions and provided us with all the details we needed, even reminded us of things we had forgotten to submit.
10. Are you willing to speak to potential ABV volunteers?