Volunteer name: Agathe Kuhn
Project location: La Serena- Chile
Program dates: Feb 8th - April 5th 2015
Volunteered at: Orphanage and School
1. How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country:
Excellent. The coordinator was very helpful and checked regularly with me to verify that everything was going well.
2. What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
Definitely the way people speak here. I had spent a month in Peru before and understood people really well there. Here people speak very fast and use some words that only exist here. It takes a while to get used to it.
3. What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Understanding people. While I could understand my host mom very well, when people at work talked to me I often had to ask them to repeat and speak slower. You get used to it though.
4. Any tips for future volunteers
a. Bring sunscreen!
6. Personal paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial)
I enjoyed a lot my two months here. My host family was great and made me feel as if I was at home. When I worked at the orphanage, it was the summer vacation so the older kids (5-9 years old) were there too and I spent a lot of time playing with them. The rest of the time I would help feed the babies and toddlers and help watch the younger kids when they played outside.
Teaching English at the school was also a great experience. I helped the students with their activities, especially those who were struggling to understand. For example, I would re-explain the grammar rules to them and give them examples in Spanish. I would also help the professor check the students' pronunciation. Everyone at the school was really nice to me, both professors and students. I really enjoyed the fact that the school has students from kindergarten up to high school and that you get to work with every level.
Otherwise, La Serena is a nice, quiet city. I enjoyed going to the beach on my free time and exploring the region on the weekend.
7. How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
The accommodation was excellent and very clean. The meals were also very good and healthy. It is very secure, I've never had any problems. The host family is also very friendly and enjoyable to live with.
8. What was your favorite memory of this trip:
my favorite volunteering memory was going to work and seeing how excited the children were to see me.
9. How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
Excellent! They answered emails and my questions very fast. They are very easy to reach. I left very relaxed as I had received plenty of information before arriving and knew that if I had a problem, I could contact them easily and they would react very fast.
9.1 What do you think about the reservation system online?
9.2 How did you find ABV's website?
It came up in the search engine results when I was looking for volunteering programs in Chile.