This volunteer trip to Guatemala did certainly opened my eyes to the fact that I am so lucky to have been born into a financially comfortable and healthy family – other people are not so lucky. Because of this I want to continue giving back! This was my second time in Xela with Abroaderview and I have fallen even more in love with this city. From the culture to the friendly people, I will certainly miss it. Our host family kept us very comfortable. I was always warm enough, fed and rested. It was great that they only spoke Spanish because it really helped me improve my own. I will forever be amazed by the warmth and hospitality of these wonderful people. I came here to help them, but they really ended up helping me to be a better person!
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.
I had researched several volunteer organizations before I decided on A Broader View. As I have run an international volunteer organization, I know what a good organization looks like. So, I was a "tough customer".
During the informational phase and the application process, employees at A Broader View were thorough, professional and prompt, not to mention helpful, kind and understanding. I never waited more than 24 hours for a response (sometimes even on weekends!). I was relentless with my questions (in part because of my background, and in part because I was heading off to an unknown part of the world, where I knew no one and didn't speak the language). I received polite and informative answers from seemingly tireless ABV employees Sarah, Lynn and Lori. Everyone I had contact with was attentive, helped me find the right volunteer job and calmed my fears. They also checked in during my stay and followed up after my stay.
One of the beauties of A Broader View is that I was able to leave when I wanted; I wasn't tied to particular program dates. This was a distinct advantage for me. They also helped me get an extremely reasonable flight to Quito and very inexpensive travel insurance.
With their partner in Quito, they provided me with a host family and a volunteer job within weeks, and several weeks before my departure. I received a packing list and other helpful suggestions to help plan my trip.
Once in Quito, the incredible service and support continued. I was met at the airport by Germán, and brought to my WONDERFUL host family. My family greeted me warmly (at 1:30 AM in the middle of the week), and I was pleasantly surprised with the standard of the lodgings. I was taken into the family and shown much love and acceptance throughout my 3 months with them. There was another volunteer there for the first two months, and we became fast friends, despite our 40 year age difference! We worked at the same place and lived in the same apartment, and together we laughed, cried, complained, encouraged each other, went out, and participated in the family.
From past experience with host families, I knew that living with a host family can have its problems. Since I was over 20 years older than my "host parents", I wasn't sure how that would go. There were a few very small hiccups (and not for the difference in age), that, because of the willingness of all of us to discuss things together openly, were resolved in easy discussions.
My volunteer jobs were wonderful. The first 6 weeks, I worked with 2-year-olds at a day care center in one of the poorest sections of the city. I am not going to tell you it was an easy transition. The poverty I had to pass every day, the conditions I saw, the real suffering of some of the children and families were all extremely difficult to assimilate. The differences between Euro-American and Ecuadorian cultures are not small. Yet, the children... oh, the children. They captured my heart. I'll never forget the day about 2 weeks after I started, and they were going down for their naps (the time I always left each day). I said goodbye to them as usual, and for the first time, 9 little hands waived from their beds and several voices were saying goodbye ("chao"). One little voice, said, "Chao, Burbuja!" They couldn't yet remember "Barbara", so they called me the closest thing they were familiar with, "bubble". From then on, I was putty in their hands...
After 6 weeks, my Spanish was improving, and I was able to change programs and work at a shelter for abused women and their children -- something I had experience in, from the U.S. Again, the staff at La Fundación (A Broader View's partner in Quito) had arranged for me to volunteer there. It, too, was challenging -- and rewarding.
I also signed up for 4 hours of Spanish per day. I will say, it was tiring that first month, volunteering for 4 hours a day and then having 1-on-1 Spanish lessons for 4 academic (4 45-minute) hours, 5 days a week. HOWEVER, the teachers at S.B. are excellent! I learned so much in 4 weeks. I continued to take Spanish twice a week after my first month.
The Spanish school really takes wonderful care of its students, as well. In the evenings, there are cooking lessons, salsa lessons, football (soccer) games to play or watch, cocktail evenings, weekend trips -- all either free or at very reasonable prices. I especially recommend the weekend trips. What a wonderful way to see other parts of the country. It's also a great way to get to know others who are sharing the same experience.
I just want to reiterate that I cannot say enough about A Broader View. It is, at least in my experience, one of the best-run volunteer organizations I have ever come into contact with (and remember, I have worked in a few and run an international office of another). I don't believe I could have chosen a better organization or had a better experience.
Thank you to all of you at A Broader View.
My local Nepal coordinator and his family were a family to me. Let me tell you a real short story. The family which I came to know in 1st of November 2015 was The father of Mr. Sudhir, his Mother, his Wife Sarita, and little angel Sayon. Let me start by saying how lucky I were to have Baba on holiday back home on my very first week. He works away so I only meet him for a short time but enough time to see what a patient and loving dad he is. Not forget how easily he helped me to fit in as he was using some Arabic words with me. Second family member is Mama whom I have always felt her like my mother; she has been the very caring and loving person of the family. My very favorite is Mrs. Sarita my super women of the family, he has not only be a caring sister but only a very understanding part that I thank God for having her in that house. She has always understood me as I always find troubles explaining what I need to others. Last but not least is my coordinator, Sudhir, was a gene hahahaha. He was always reachable, caring and great support for me. He has organized everything for me perfectly so I never needed to worry about anything else. He is very detailed and the very best coordinator for a first time volunteer.
I would like to thank ABV for giving me this opportunity to explore myself and the world. I would also want to thank my homestay host family for their generous hospitality and care. I sure send my best thanks to my family, friends and colleagues who supported me and encouraged me to go on this trip. Finally, I call all humans out there from different nationalities, you must visit Nepal, there are a lot of people here to help and you could always balance your life changing volunteering work with amazing unforgettable adventures.
Chile is a wonderful country and La Serena is a very beautiful city. Downtown is very cute and some days there are artisans tents lined up in the plaza. I never felt unsafe in La Serena or Coquimbo but I always tried to be aware of my surroundings. Everyone I met were very friendly and helpful. People were often intrigued about where I was from and what I was doing in Chile. I met a tia at my orphanage and she made me feel like one of her family. She and her daughters showed me all of the beaches of Coquimbo (they are all very beautiful but COLD in winter!)
The orphanage provided the kids with everything they needed. It was much better kept and supplied then I had expected. My favorite part of the orphanage was the smile on the little kids’ faces when I walked in the door every morning. I worked with the toddlers: four months to two years old.
My host family was fantastic. My home was very comfortable, having warm water and wifi. My host mom and I spent many evenings jogging on the beach or Zumba-ing in the living room. Her food was delicious and the family was always welcoming. I had a “sister” and “brother” at the house who hung out with me and helped me figure things out here in Chile. One of my favorite moments with my host family was watching a U17 soccer world cup game with my host parents – it was Chile versus United States. My host father is very into soccer so he was yelling and shouting at the TV and whenever I watch sporting events I end up doing the same. The house was full of celebrations and frustrations during the course of the game. Chile won in the end but the game was a highlight of my trip and it gave me something to connect with my host dad on.
I really had no problems at all with my host family. The only challenging part was the "Chilenismos/slang" and the difficult Spanish accent (they speak way to fast). I did improved a lot over the two months in Chile.
I would definitely do my whole trip again and not change a thing. My project was rewarding, Vilma was supportive and understanding, and my host family were fantastic. La Serena and Coquimbo were wonderful places to base the program out of because they provided many different opportunities.
I loved my time in Chile and La Serena. Everyone there was very patient and kind, and Vilma (my host mother) and Tania (my Spanish teacher) were super-helpful if you needed anything.
Working at the nursing home was an incredible experience for me. I made a whole bunch of new friends there with whom I hope to keep in touch. If you decide to work at the nursing home (and I think you should!), try to learn as much Spanish as you can before you arrive.
I found the support from Abroaderview to be excellent. Whenever I sent an email, I got a response within 24 hours (although usually it was much quicker), and the staff was always very helpful and kind with all my questions. I also used the chat system with Lori a few times, and she was also very patient with my many questions!
I received a few emails after arriving in country, and they were a pleasant surprise. Mostly they were just checking in, wanting to know if I was enjoying myself, and if there was anything they could do for me. Sarah also sent an email after we had a big earthquake just to make sure we were ok here, which I found very thoughtful.
This was actually my third trip with Abroaderview. (I went to Vietnam and Cambodia back in 2010 and 2011.) I have volunteered with four different organizations/companies, and I feel that Abroaderview is the best in terms of value and support, so that’s why I looked them up again for this trip.
- Check out Abroad Reviews Forums