I absolutely loved my overall experience in Cartagena, Colombia. My main reason to go to Cartagena was to help out at an institution where poverty was high and resources were very limited. I absolutely had a blast with my host family. I got really close to the mother of the host family, Elena. I call her “Mami”. We did everything together. We went to beaches, we went jogging, dancing, cooking, touring, eating, praying and going to church together. I really believe that she stole my heart and a big piece of my heart will always be with Mami and the family. My Spanish teacher was fun and I did learn a lot from her. My ABV coordinator was helpful and always there when I needed help.
You are hereHome › A Broader View Volunteers Corp
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.
This volunteer experience was one of the most incredible, yet most heart-breaking experiences of my life. The people in Honduras are so welcoming and appreciative of anything at all you can provide them and they love to share their culture. People can tell you all they want about what conditions are like in these countries, but you will never truly understand until you´ve seen and experienced it yourself. If you are a medical student, this is a wonderful opportunity to learn while helping at the same time. If you are a practicing professional, this is a wonderful opportunity to lend your expertise while also likely learning some new things (such as how to do more with less). I would highly recommend this program for anyone with a passion to help, but also willing to experience new things (both good and bad) that they never have before.
I went to La Ceiba as a pharmacist and so I spent the majority of my time in the pharmacy. I quickly realized that the prescriptions do not include key information that I am used to in the US in order to ensure it is safe and effective. For example, they do not include the dose (rather just say # of tabs), drug allergies, age, and weight (if a child). It is assumed that the doctor is always correct and the pharmacy staff does not double-check the appropriateness of the dose. This was difficult for me to see, in particular for the children because it is so easy to give an incorrect dose that may be toxic or ineffective. During my time in Honduras, I was able to gather needed information for each patient to ensure appropriateness of these prescriptions and adjust as needed, but knowing that this is usually not the case was hard to see.
Overall I had an amazing time in Cusco, Peru! The people are so nice and welcoming, the weather is gorgeous, the city and mountains are like nothing I’ve ever seen, and the food was great (definitely try ceviche at least once, it’s amazing)! You certainly have to be able to roll with the punches, and if you’re more Type A, you definitely need to turn that switch off! The work was great at the clinic, but you have to be very assertive and have some Spanish skills. The patients are incredibly thankful and tough as nails, and it is so rewarding to just do simple things like give vaccines or hold a hand. Working at the girls orphanage was fantastic as well! The girls are so excited to meet someone new. The majority of the time I helped with homework (math, grammar, English), and when their homework was done we played volley ball! I think what they needed most was just hugs and affection. It´s been an incredible, eye opening experience, I hope someday I’ll be able to visit Peru again!!
I am very glad I chose ABV for my first volunteer experience abroad. I was very well taken care of, and supported the whole time I was in Tanzania. I was also given enough freedom to shape my time there how I wanted, and left me more independent and self reliant.
It was most difficult for me to witness such intense poverty and lack of infrastructure in so many communities and schools, knowing that the government is not doing enough to help alleviate it. There is corruption and injustice in the political system that is holding the entire country back and not utilizing its resources. It's a beautiful country and the people are wonderful; it's hard to see many of them not having access or ability to enjoy the benefits.
You will probably be faced with a whole host of new situations that you've never experienced before, and may even only experience in Tanzania. This might be the first time you've been the minority, or the first time you've been the majority depending on where you're from. You will be called a "mzungu" no matter what. Your cultural norms will be challenged. You can respect traditions without agreeing with them. Nothing will go as planned. Everything will not be what you expected regardless of how many program guides you read. Just know that everything will be alright if you allow yourself to go with the flow and be flexible and accepting. Also know that there is a whole support network for you if you need it. Being self driven and willing to make your own experience are key to having a fantastic adventure.
I had once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be in Cuzco Peru for a month, working at the orphanage and being there for a month you get very connected to the girls and get very connected to the city because of how different it is. You realize how beautiful the simpler things in life are, the local ABV coordinator made everything really easy for me to acclimate into Peru. I know Spanish from high school, but being down there for a month and immersing myself in the culture was really great for my Spanish. You pick up quickly on the language and for myself learning in a classroom isn't the same.
The US abroaderview staff did helped me a lot, any questions I had they would answer me within 24 hours. My mom called and they answered any and all of her questions! I had a few precautions before I actually signed with abroaderview but after talking to them and talking to other ABV volunteers who have gone I realize that this was the right choice for me.
- Check out Abroad Reviews Forums