Volunteer Name: Whitney Burnett
Project Location: Quito, Ecuador
Program Dates: May 18, 2013- June 16, 2013
Volunteered At: Centro de Salud

How was the local ABV Director and the support provided in-country? - Laura was AMAZING! I was greeted in the airport by Laura and her husband Vicente and although my Spanish wasn’t very good when I arrived, they explained everything clearly to me and made sure I felt comfortable. The following day, Laura took me to her office where I talked with Karen about the project I would be working in. Karen speaks great English and I could understand everything she was explaining to me. The purpose of my trip was to do a medical mission/Spanish immersion, and after hearing about the project I was supposed to volunteer in, it wasn’t what I was expecting. I shared my feelings and concerns with Karen and she immediately looked into other projects that I would be more interested in volunteering in. Great service!

What was your favorite memory of this trip?- I think my favorite part was spending time with Laura and her family. I remember one night that her daughter, Alison, and I sat at the kitchen table doing our homework. She helped me with my Spanish, and I helped her with her English…it was perfect! 

What was the most difficult thing you experienced? - The hardest thing for me was not being able to express myself as well as I wanted, due to my lack of Spanish skills. By the end of my 4 week trip, I felt as though my Spanish really improved and I could finally tell my host family, and the doctors I was working with, how grateful I was to have this experience.

What was the one thing you wished you were better prepared for?- I felt pretty prepared for my trip. I tried to keep an open mind and go with the flow and I think that really helped. Also, I tried to speak up when I needed help or wasn’t sure about something, and I think that kept me from getting frustrated or annoyed. 

Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations, sightseeing etc) - I thought Quito would be a lot warmer than in was! I went in May and needed a sweatshirt or raincoat almost everyday. Also, I HIGHLY recommend taking weekend trips whenever you can! Ask your host family about what buses to take (very easy and super cheap), and stay at a local hostel (also easy, cheap, and I felt very safe). While I was in Quito, I took weekend trips to Banos, Otavalo, and Mindo and loved them all! Also, honestly, the first week is hard if you don’t speak a lot of Spanish, but it honestly gets easier every day. I took my dictionary with me everywhere I went and tried to write down new words or phrases that I didn’t know whenever I heard them. My best advice is: Do NOT be afraid to make mistakes when it comes to Spanish…just put yourself out there and go for it! 

Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial): - I will be forever grateful for my experience in Ecuador. A Broader View and the director of the volunteer program in Quito (Laura) were extremely helpful and I really appreciated the fact that ABV took the time to check in with me after I arrived there. My host family was centrally located, making it extremely easy to take the bus or walk to anywhere in the city. They also advised me on safety measures I needed to take, made sure I enjoyed the food they were preparing for me in the house, and were very patient and instrumental in helping me learn Spanish. ABV is a great company and they will go out of their way to make sure you have the experience you hoped for!

Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers?- Of course!

A Broader View Volunteer (ABV)  allows every traveler to choose their own program start date. This means you can arrive on any flight, any day of the week. Since ABV program fees are 100% tax deductible* we encourage you to fund raise. ABV offers advice and assistance with flight planning, affordable travel insurance, as well as procuring a visa, if necessary. Our ABV staff is available to any your questions. Contact us by email, through the on-line chat feature on our website or call us toll free at 866-423-3258.

WHAT DO MY FEES PAY FOR?

Volunteer Registration Fee – ongoing support from ABV staff, program marketing costs, information pack, administration costs, ABV donation Fund, travel costs to inspect programs and communication costs with volunteers.

Volunteer Program Fee – ABV donation fund, airport pick-up, orientation, program supervision, accommodation and meals during volunteer program period, in-country 24/7 volunteer support and in-country administration costs. As a US Non-Profit Charity Organization all your fees are tax deductible and you can fundraise from our website to pay for the fees.

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