How was the local ABV Coordinator/staff and the support provided in-country?
The local staff was very helpful and always available when I needed help or guidance.
What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
I was very shocked by how welcoming and loving the family that I had the opportunity to live with was.
I was surprised by the organization and how well funded the organization was. I was expecting to volunteer with an organization that had less resources or less helping hands.
What was the most challenging thing you experienced?
Getting adjusted to the unbearable heat and humidity was a great challenge for me.
Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations)
1. Shorts, Summer Dresses--- (no shorts at the program)
2. Learn some basic Spanish and take your Spanish class once you arrive in Colombia.
3. Don’t flash around cellular devices; always keep it close to you and away from sight when walking in streets.
4. Bring at least $50-$100 for each week.
5.1-Other things volunteers should know before coming here:
a. It is easier to take advantage of foreign people, so make sure you always bargain for a lower price.
b. Make sure you tell the people to slow down when they speak Spanish to you.
c. If you do not like a certain food, make sure you tell your host family so that way you won’t waste their time or money.
d. Make sure to bring antidiarrheal medications just because you will be drinking different water and eating different foods. Bring vitamins to prevent getting colds and allergy medications if needed.
Personal Paragraph about the experience (ABV Program Testimonial):
I absolutely loved my overall experience in Cartagena, Colombia. My main reason to come was to help out at an institution where poverty was high and resources were very limited. I absolutely had a blast with my host family. I got really close to the mother of the host family, Elena. I call her “Mami”. We did everything together. We went to beaches, we went jogging, dancing, cooking, touring, eating, praying and going to church together. I really believe that she stole my heart and a big piece of my heart will always be with Mami and the family. My Spanish teacher was fun and I have learned a lot from her. My ABV guide was helpful and always there when I needed help.
How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security, friendliness, quality others:
I couldn’t be more satisfied with my family. I was extremely comfortable and I would not change anything about my stay in Colombia. I had plenty of privacy. The meals were wonderful. I felt secure at home at all times. I do not know where to start with the friendliness of the family that I was assigned to. It was more than I have ever expected and hoped for.
8- What was your favorite memory of this trip?:
My favorite memory would be traveling to Medellin with Mami.
9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
They were very helpful and prompt with their answers.
9.1- What do you think about the reservation system online?
It was very organized and made sure everything was done in a timely manner.
9.2- How did you find Abroaderview website
I found it through a search engine, and thereafter, I looked up YouTube videos online.
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?
Yes, of course.