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Global Crossroad

I volunteered for two weeks in December at an orphanage in Xela, Guatemala with global crossroad. I had an incredible experience! During the planning stages I was a bit apprehensive. By "a bit apprehensive" I mean "extremely petrified!" Lol. As a female travelling alone you can see where I'm coming from. I received a ton of support from the in country coordinators..despite my constant questions! They made me feel at ease every step of the way. Once I arrived in Guatemala I was greeted by one of the in-country staff. She was great! I spent one night with the host family in Guatemala City. My host mother and family were so sweet. The next day I took a bus to xela (about 3.5 hours bus ride). I was driven to the bus stop and she waited with me until I boarded. The bus was really safe and the locals were always willing to lend a helping hand if needed. I arrived in Xela and found it to be such a beautiful city with such a rich culture. My host family in Xela were amazing. The meals were delicious and the living arrangements were comfortable. Despite not being able to speak the language i never felt that there was a language barrier. They're generosity and support made me feel right at home. I enjoyed taking part in their customs and traditions. Some nights they took me out to show me their lovely city. That was awesome! The market and Central Park was a ten minute walk from my home stay. It was very easy to get around despite my inept sense of direction! There's nice little coffee shops and lovely dessert places all around. There's also plenty of Internet cafes, wifi spots, and local travel agencies if you're up for an adventure!

My first day at the orphanage was kind of overwhelming. It breaks your heart to see but at the same time it's an incredible experience. The kids greeted me with smiles, hugs, and kisses. I spent my days playing games, teaching a little bit of math and English, and also taking care of the babies. All the kids were so fun to be around and so unbelievably cute!!! I think one thing to keep in mind when embarking on this sort of journey is that you really have to take initiative. It really is up to you how your experience will be shaped. For me, it is one I'll never forget :)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Feb 4, 2016
Overall:
7
Support:
9
Value:
9

Global Crossroad

Great project! Some troubles with organizing the project, and a few issues on site. Overall a fun time!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Costa Rica
Posted: Feb 4, 2016
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
7

Institute for Field Research Expeditions - IFRE

Going through IFRE was one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to volunteer in Xela, Guatemala at an orphanage for a month. This program was there for me whenever I needed help and quickly responded to all my questions. The program made the process of volunteering in another country as stress free as it can get. They helped me with all the little deatials, such as where to stay, and transportation. Not only was every day in the orphanage amazing but on the weekends the program allowed us to travel to other destinations throughout Guatemala. They provided information on what tours and places we should go. During my time in Guatemala I stayed with a host family that IFRE set up. My host mom was extremely nice and made me feel right at home. If you are looking for an amazing humbling experience, with beautiful people and places this is the program for you. I highly recommend.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Guatemala
Posted: Feb 3, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
9
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

The summer after graduating from college, I volunteered for three weeks with Projects Abroad--Medical Project in Jamaica. I thoroughly enjoyed my time working in the medical clinic, where I was able to observe nurses, midwives, doctors, and even a nutritionist work with the local people. "Hands-on" work is generally limited and depends on the location of placement, but I was able to have more direct patient contact experience the last week/week and a half I was there, due to becoming more familiar with the system and the medical staff being confident in my abilities. I really enjoyed observing the various doctor-patient interactions and going on house-call visits with the midwife. I feel like this was definitely a worth-while experience, but those planning to eventually pursue a career in medicine and are hoping to gain a substantial amount of "hands-on work" should really talk through with their trip advisors and make sure they are being placed in a setting that best fits their requirements.

As for living situation, I had the best host family. They made me feel at home and did everything they could to be as accommodating as possible. I was also living with one other volunteer for most of the time (which I highly recommend). I also recommend staying for a minimum of four weeks, not only to be able to explore the country adequately, but mainly so that a sense of routine can really be fostered at the placement site and you can maximize your time volunteering. I really hope to return some day!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Jamaica
Posted: Feb 2, 2016
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

From the moment I submitted my application for the Pre Dental Program in Ecuador, to online chats, right before leaving the US, to arriving in Quito. It was extremely helpful to have pictures of my coordinator and host family before hand. It was comforting and stress reducing to have a visual of the first individuals you would meet and count on during your stay.
I was surprised at how quickly my host family felt like my real family. They were very accommodating. I may not have always understood what was said in Spanish but at the same time I was still always apart of family activities and discussions. This is also true with the extended family. Within one week I met extended family from both sides of my host parents and it made this experience even richer.
I had an amazing experience within the short time I was able to volunteer, 4 weeks. I loved basking in the breathtaking scenery. No picture could capture the essence of the mountains in Quito. Even though I wish they could, it made me absorb what I can in the moment.
I just happened to stumble across ABV by diligently searching abroad volunteer programs on the internet. I can now say I found the perfect organization for my first experience abroad.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Feb 2, 2016
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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