This trip was absolutely far beyond what I would have imagined. My experience was very hands on and I learned everything from cast molding to sutures. The staff in the hospital was very helpful. Volunteering at the hospital gave me a whole bunch of trauma related surprises on a daily basis. At the clinic I was treating infected wounds, diabetic ulcers, taking out sutures, ear irrigations, and abbess draining. Seeing such a wide variety of patients was defiantly mind blowing. At the hospital, the Emergency department was defiantly busy and I had the opportunity to learn how to suture, treat and manage gunshot wounds, fractures, and triage. I was fortunate enough to visit labor and delivery for a small rotation and was allowed to participate in a delivery. Also, I found a lot of the interns to be around my age and got along with them very well. I even found myself hanging out with them outside of the hospital. A lot of the interns spoke English as well which I saw to be helpful to the other volunteers who did not speak Spanish. There was one weekend where we were a part of a medical brigade in Sambo Creek. This was another great experience where we were providing care to people who could not make it out to the city. Here I assisted dentists in tooth extractions, and again found everyone to be very open to teaching in informative.
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A Broader View Volunteers Corp
We arrange short-term international mission trips and long term volunteer projects in South America, Africa and Asia. Designed with flexibility and customized attention with volunteer options in African orphanages, teaching English, medical and dental volunteering, HIV awareness projects, conservation in national parks, animal welfare, environmental and community development.
Coming to Cusco, I didn't know what to expect. A new country. A New Year. A new experience. What I didn't expect was a new me. Being in this city you are surrounded by culture, fellow travelers, and the most beautiful sights your eyes can see. You leave all your troubles & problems behind. Here you help people and better yourself. If you are in need of an awakening, to appreciate what you have, to realize whats important, to refuel your passion in life and meet people... Cusco is where you need to be. One thing I love about experiencing health care outside the States is how appreciative people can be for your service. And at the end of the day, they inspire you. If you feel a calling, come. Come to the city. Help the people. Rejuvenate your soul...& bring a rain jacket ;)
I’m very glad that I chose this program in Honduras with A Broader View, the location, and to go over Spring Break. A Broader View was a great choice because of large amount of support and information given to me before and during my stay. The location was good because it was close (a short plane trip), good weather, friendly people, and very impactful with its culture and economy. The short time period was a good choice because it allowed me to have enough time to adjust but also ensure that if I did not like the program (since it was my first time traveling abroad for medical volunteering), I would return home soon. I learned a lot in how imperative it is to be able to improvise, think on the spot, communicate in a profession, understand and become integrated within a culture, and analyze a situation to find the underlying problems. I plan to do more of this kind of work once I improve my Spanish and experience.
From this past September to February, I spent four and a half months volunteering with A Broader View (ABV) during my gap year. I went to Ecuador AND the Galápagos Islands, Peru, and Colombia, participated in six volunteer programs, and stayed with four amazing host families-all of whom I'm still in active contact with! I couldn't be more pleased with my volunteer experience.
I began my journey in Quito, Ecuador where I stayed for two and a half months. While there, I volunteered at both a school for children with special needs and a catholic school teaching English as a second language. Both experiences opened my eyes to educational systems abroad and to my passion for working with children. Before going to Ecuador, my Spanish was conversational with a basic grasp on grammar. After living with a host family, taking private Spanish lessons for three hours a day, and interacting with the local people, I left with an advanced intermediate understanding of the language.
Learning Spanish was a highlight of my gap year and a gift I will cherish for the rest of my life.
After Ecuador, I went to Peru where I participated in two completely different volunteer programs, both equally rewarding in their own ways. My first was in the Manu region of the jungle working on environmental conservation projects for two weeks. I lived in a group home with other volunteers and a couple who had grown up there. Living with limited electricity and no internet access was an amazing escape from the westernized world in which I have grown up. It was also incredible meeting the locals; people who had never left this tiny region of the jungle. Hearing their perspectives and stories was eye opening.
After the jungle, I spent two weeks in Cusco, Peru volunteering at an orphanage for adolescent girls and living with a host family. The girls made me laugh so much, and it was inspiring to see the family they had formed there.
After my Christmas vacation spent in the USA with my family, I ventured once again to South America! My first stop was Cartagena, Colombia. I stayed with a host family and worked at a center helping the elderly for two weeks. I loved that I got to chance to work with people of all ages from young children all the way through the elderly. Unbelievable!
After Colombia, I flew once again to Ecuador and visited my host family from the fall before continuing into the Galápagos Islands. The Galápagos were phenomenal. I could have stayed there forever; 14 days was far too short! I lived in a hotel run by a couple who works with ABV. I worked on an ecological reserve helping with turtle rescue and preservation.
I cannot recommend A Broader View enough. I never waited more than 24 hours for an email response. Not once but twice, the coordinator helped change my placement with only two weeks notice! I had incredible support both while in the USA and abroad. I was provided everything I could have needed while away: three meals a day, wifi, air conditioning, hot water, you name it!
Bottom line: the people I met along the way are the memories I will cherish most. Every host family I stayed with made a lasting impression on me and are people I will never forget and never be able to thank enough. I am a different person after the time I spent volunteering with ABV. Without their never ending support, I wouldn't be able to speak Spanish fluently. I wouldn't have realized how much passion I have for working with children. I wouldn't have experienced cultures so different from my own. I have grown more in this past four and a half months than all my years of school combined. Thank you ABV for opening my eyes to a world I would have never had the chance to discover and an entirely different part of myself!
I had a great time in the program. I had never been to Guatemala (Xela) and did not know what to expect, even we got an orientation guide prior traveling and did my own research of the country and city. I went in with an open mind and grew to love the country, people and culture. Our host family was great and fed us very tasty and delicious meals. I got hands on experience in the medical field that I never could get back in the United States, the amount of babies/children at the clinic was incredible. The pace of the clinic was very fast. We saw over 100 babies/children every day. You have to be on your toes to work there.. This trip was both informative and fun. I found myself wishing the week wouldn´t end. I highly recommend this program to med students and pre-meds.
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