I gained so much hands on experience and saw so many medical cases during my pre-med program in Honduras. The doctors were more than happy to show us how to do sutures, catheters, vaccines and more. I did see cases and diseases I could only read about at home. At the hospital, I got to watch so many surgeries, deliveries and met so many different types of doctors. It is amazing how well they do with what they can with such little and limited resources. We also gave pets vaccinations and went to schools to educated people with an outreach healthcare program. I am so very thankful for the opportunities and all that I have learn. I could never have gotten this kind of experience at home (Canada), and this truly reinforced my path in the medical field. The Spanish lessons were good and very helpful. The neighborhood we lived in was very safe. They have two security guards that are circulating in the neighborhood 24/7. The house was located near the mall and a taxi anywhere in town was only 25lps (1.50USD).
I had a tremendously positive experience during my 6 weeks in La Serena. The school staff and students were all very welcoming and eager to have a native English speaker with them and they were all very friendly. The host accommodation far exceeded my expectations. Vilma the host mother had the perfect temperament for the job, offering a comfortable home with beautiful home cooked meals and time to talk and laugh in the evenings. The neighborhood of both the accommodation and the school were very safe and I would highly recommend this program to anyone, particularly with Vilma she is the coordinator of the program as you couldn’t ask for more hospitality or a more seamless transition into volunteering. It was my first experience volunteering and its an experience I’ll never forget.
This was my very first trip abroad without my family. I was very excited to go to Costa Rica to help out the sea turtles and see the culture. This program has definitely broadened my view of volunteering and the culture.
There is a lot to get “used to” when you arrive. There is a major shock due to lack of technology and limited electricity at the camp. You must be very social and open since you will be around other volunteers all the time. My biggest problem was adjusting to being dirty every day, we did beach patrols, making holes for turtle eggs in the safe zone, digging out the eggs from the beach, making paths, cleaning the beach and much much more :)
I was part of a host-family and shared an apartment with another ABV volunteer. All this was a bonus since I had my own space to write, yet when it came to family time, we were only one floor away from the warmth of a fabulous family. My host family took pride and leaving time aside to be with everyone together. Also, the host-family was very passionate with all the food they made. If you want to learn about the culture, food and traditions, please have a host-family in mind. The best part of this trip was helping all the children. I was inspired to see all the children so eager to learn and to see how passionate they were to hear what everyone had to say. Some children have to walk far, but they were there on time and eager to learn, I already miss them.
I started my time in La Serena after having been in Chile for five weeks (four in Santiago and one in the Lakes Region). It was very exciting to see another facet of Chilean culture – particularly the striking red and white architecture. I was nervous to start work at Colegio, specifically with the language barrier, but this proved to not be an issue. The children were very outgoing and excited to talk to me, which put me at ease. Luckily, I was also able to go on tours of both Pisco Elqui and Isla Damas during my one weekend in La Serena. All in all, it was a fantastic experience that helped me see Chile from a point of view distinct from that of a tourist.
For anyone who is considering volunteering in Ghana. I can’t express enough how incredible of an experience it was, and how much I would encourage them to do it. As a volunteer you hope that you can change a life and give your help where it is needed. The amazing thing is the gift you get in return from the people you go to work with and for. You will learn about other ways of life and you learn about yourself in the process.
The accommodations provided by my host family were comfortable, private, safe and clean. From the morning greeting each day to the good night greetings in the evening. I felt part of the family. Everyday my host Lizzie, prepared a wonderful breakfast and dinner for me. It was beautiful and everything was laid out on the table and just waiting for me.
I felt completely safe and secure in my host family’s home. Not only did my room have a lock and key, but the home itself has a private gate security.
When I began seriously looking at volunteering in Africa and Ghana in particular, it was important to me that I use a nonprofit organization which passed on the financial contribution to the orphanage I would be volunteering with.
I would love to share my experience with other volunteers who are considering a journey to Ghana.
When I first signed up for the Guatemala Animal Care Center program, I didn't know what to expect. Volunteering in a different country was definitely a challenge for me. Navigating the streets, talking to the locals and eating new food are all part of the experience. Issues will come up in new environments and I can attest that it was overwhelming. Losing items and getting lost to name a few. It takes time to get comfortable for some volunteers. Interactions with the animals at the care center, cleaning their straw beds and play areas, and providing them with food are all good memories. Volunteering at the animal program was an up close and personal experience to witness first-hand how to care for many varieties of animals.
Through the volunteering you'll find that there is help needed from you. Any work will be appreciated and acknowledged. This is the best feeling. So be proactive and show initiative.
I worked for 4 weeks in Arusha, Tanzania with the HIV/AIDS Awareness and Care program. Most days were spent at an orphanage in a nearby village that housed children, all of which are HIV positive. Other days, we would go to remote villages and provide villagers with donations, support, and medical products as needed; most of the villagers we visited were also HIV positive. I definitely worked hard, and there was always a list of tasks that needed to be completed. I felt like I made some valuable contributions, and I really had a positive and rewarding experience.
In country support was excellent. On our first day we were given a tour of the city and shown the highlights of where we might need to go, and were taken to the cell phone store to buy SIM cards. Transport to and from the airport was handled by the local ABV staff, and they also helped us arrange our safaris. They were also accessible the entire time whenever we had a question.
My favorite memory of the trip was being with the children at the orphanage. These children come from many different backgrounds, but they all have HIV, and have burdens I can only imagine. However, they are very loving, energetic, and thankful, and took to me when I first walked in the door. I'll definitely miss spending every day with them.
I had a great experience volunteering in Tanzania. I worked in a hospital and was exposed to many different diseases I don't see at home. It was quite the experience to see healthcare in a developing country. I enjoyed getting out of my comfort zone in a new city and trying new experiences. I traveled on the weekends. I met a lot of interesting people from that country and also from other countries. I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
The premedical program in Honduras was an amazing trip for me and I would recommend it to anyone considering a future in medicine. You will see and do things you never thought possible being an undergrad and hopefully it will help solidify your career path in medicine. After this trip I realized medicine is for me and I want to pursue medical school. I also realized OB-GYN is not for me. I was really fascinated with emergency trauma and surgery. In the ER we saw gunshot victims, stab victims, firework victims, and many motor accident victims. You will see some things here you are not prepared for like possibly witnessing death. Seeing someone die was hard for me, but it is part of life and you have to realize there are more people who need help so you need to move on and be focused on them. Aside from the medical aspect, I became very good friends with the other abv volunteers. Every weekend we went to different locations and traveled around Honduras. I would recommend Cayos Cochinos which is an island where survivor was filmed and also Utila which is a big party island.