Very deceiving. You pay $150 to get a "background check". You then pay off your $900 program and all of a sudden the program information changes. We were told we'd be in an orphanage with babies, which was great since we don't speak Spanish. After I paid the last bit of my fee, which was right before we left, I got a new summary stating I'd be in a school (that doesn't NEED us there- its just a typical neighborhood school) and then in the afternoons we'd be in a special needs orphanage for older children and adults. It was all messed up and NOT AT ALL what we expected. I will never go with them again.
Overall the trip was very memorable. I got to watch a ton of endoscopes, discussion and shadowing the doctor’s at the hospital, there were a few other volunteers and students working at the hospital at that time, I’m glad I came and stayed with a host family so that I could really immerse myself in the culture. There are tons of options for sightseeing, trekking, and traveling and I very much enjoyed the experience.
I would advice if you are coming during winter, BRING LOTS OF WARM CLOTHINGS! Nights get freezing during winter and you’ll be glad you brought sweaters, hats and gloves. Definitely go to Pokhara and Nagarkot. We had a lot of fun in both of those places but prepared to travel for a long time to get to/from Pokhara.
The Staff support in country was great – he was extremely helpful in both orientating me to the city and helping to plan any outside trips. He’s is very dependable and whenever I needed anything he would accommodate. He’s super patient and has no problem sitting down and explaining anything I found confusing or needed help with. And the rooms are spacious and there is a locker in each room to put your personal belongings. Sudir and his family are super nice and gave us extra blankets. The food was tasty with a homemade traditional Nepalese dinner and a more western breakfast. The doors all lock and I overall felt very safe. Watching the sunrise over the Himalayas in Nagarkot. It was a really beautiful, once in a lifetime experience and I would recommend it to anyone.
I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to volunteer in Honduras at the local hospital and clinic. Everyone in the ABV program really wants you to have the best experience possible. This program also allowed me to gain so much more hands-on experience than I would have been able to get in the U.S. I was able to take vital signs, assist in wound cleaning and help at a "health fair". I also observed C-sections and many other surgeries. All of the doctors were welcoming and thankful for our help. They were also willing to explain what they were doing and why. There is no doubt that I would recommend this program to anyone who is thinking about pursuing a career in the health care field.
Rafael was a wonderful host during my week in Honduras. He drove us to and from the hospital each day to ensure our safety and was always open to hearing our questions and concerns. I'm really grateful for everything he did to make sure I was having the best experience possible. This trip would not have been the same without him.
In the month that I was there I first spent time at a hospital, where I was able to move around to some of the different departments. Here I was able to see health conditions and procedures that I hadn't seen before. I enjoyed learning from the Doctors, Nurses and other volunteers at the hospital. I then spent time on a HIV and care programme, where I would assist staff with daily tasks at an orphanage for children with HIV. On this programme I also went into communities where I enjoyed seeing people receive support and donations.
I was fortunate to visit a school where the pupils were educated on health matters such as HIV, the class was translated to me and I was shown around the school. We also went to people's homes where it was sad to see people live in poor conditions but it was nice to whiteness how donations were helping families. On these visits I was told that I may have been the first white person that some of the children may have seen. The time I spent with children had been some of the most fulfilling and enjoyable experiences of the trip.
It was interesting to discover the culture and traditions. I also enjoyed seeing wild animals on safari and meeting other volunteers and tourists. Overall the experience was amazing and made me more of an independent person. The only issue was with the dala-dalas (local taxis) ask the price for the ride before getting on.
On one of the days, we visited a local school to conduct a health check up. The school did not have proper walls and the coordinator told me that for some time, the school did not have a proper roof. Inside one of the classrooms, I saw 15 little children bundled up in scarves and jackets, eager to learn. It warms my heart to see the dedication and passion these children had for their education. The children were so respectful and stood up and greeted me when I entered their classroom. It was a privilege to do a health check up for these children. I checked their height, weight, and eyesight. Most of the children were underweight. It was inspiring to see how happy these children were regardless of the condition of their school or their financial backgrounds. They were determined to study and progress their careers. Despite the fact that these children were from humble backgrounds, their lunches were all homemade and healthy. During my stay in India, I often observed that middle class and upper class children ate a lot of unhealthy refined flour products like Maggi, biscuits, and namkeens for lunch. Despite the fact that these children were from humble backgrounds, their lunches were all homemade and healthy. This was also great to see. I truly enjoyed visiting the school, and I wish I had had more time to visit another one of the schools.
I've done a similar trip in Guatemala with another program but it cannot compare to going through ABV. The coordinator in Honduras was with me every step of the way and cares that you are getting the most out of the program. As a result, I learned and saw so much that I wouldn't have been able to see as a volunteer in the U.S. I got to take vital signs, help out in wound care, and I learned to start IV leads and administer medications and vaccines. I got to witness live births and hear about the surgeries that other ABV volunteers witnessed. It was also cool to meet other volunteers also from ABV and hear about their experiences. What I loved most was learning from the doctors and nurses who enjoyed teaching us despite how busy they were and who had the patience to explain to us the whys and the hows. In the U.S., it's harder to find doctors who are willing to take that time of their days. Overall, it was an amazing 2 weeks and I was excited to share it with my family and friends back home. I definitely recommend this to anyone in the health care field who would like to get a taste of what health care is like in a different country. You will learn a lot and get a decent amount of hands-on experience!
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.