Monica Herman

I had a really great volunteer experience working in an Orphanage in Quito. It actually wasn't an orphanage, it was a daycare center. I had a choice to work in real orphanage with older kids or a daycare center for super poor kids who were young. I picked the babies in the daycare. I think it would have been good to have been more clear about that online beforehand and even when we got there during orientation. We didn't find out until we arrived to tour both facilities and decide which one we wanted to work in. I did really enjoy my work at Los Retonitos. It was a great place to spend two weeks with 9 precious 1 yr olds.

I didn't like the food for lunch in the restaurant alongside the volunteer office and it was almost the same every day. To eat the same thing for two weeks every afternoon was tough. Food is really cheap in Quito. I would have preferred paying slightly less for the volunteer fee and getting my own lunch every day. That is what I ended up doing anyway, but wasted money by not going to restaurant that was included. Even though the restaurant called the meals different things, they all tasted exactly alike with really poor quality meats.

My host family, Olga and Marcelo, were lovely and wonderful and very hospitable. Their house was clean and she cooked diverse dinners and washed our laundry whenever we needed. They made us feel like we were their actual family and worried about all of us until we got home every day. Their apt isn't in the best of buildings nor new and fancy and not on a great corner, however, it is centrally located to public transportation to get to all parts of Quito and to walk to lots of great places.

Volunteer in Ecuador Reviews- Bryn Cross
volunteer experience in Ecuador- Devon
Volunteer in Ecuador Reviews- Timothy Plante

Name: Timothy Plante

Address (Optional):

Country of Program: Ecuador

    • How would you rate the following (please mark X):
    • Very Satisfied
    • Satisfied
    • Neutral
    • Unsatisfie
    • Services of USA staff
    • X
    • Orientation/ Airport Pick up
    • X
    • Language and Culture or Spanish Language
    • X
    • Living Accommo
      dations/ Meals
    • X
    • Volunteer/
      Internship Project
    • X
    • Response/
      Cooperation from local Staffs
    • X
    • Overall
      Volunteer Experience
    • X
Please summarize your volunteer/internship experience:
internship experience

I worked for one month with medical staff in the emergency, surgery, and internal medicine departments at Hospital de Especialidades Eugenio Espejo in Quito, Ecuador. I waived the option of spanish classes to allow myself more clinical experience time where I was not only able to refine my medical skills, but my conversational and medical Spanish as well. Overall, the experience was satisfactory. Strong points were the host family (Olga is an old pro and made my stay exceptionally enjoyable), and depth of experience gained from my in-hospital time. Areas for improvement are host country staff (Jose was constantly unorganized) and coordination with hospital staff, who seemed surprised at, and unexpecting of, my arrival, and threw in a couple of curveballs (I had to buy a textbook for the hospital library before I could complete my volunteer hours) during my stay.

Would you recommend Global Crossroads programs to others? Yes
Would you mind serving as a reference for future volunteers? Yes
(If yes, please write your email address):twplante@gmail.com

volunteer

Name: Kathy Patch

Address (Optional):

Country of Program:Quito, Ecuador

    • How would you rate the following (please mark X):
    • Very Satisfied
    • Satisfied
    • Neutral
    • Unsatisfie
    • Services of USA staff
    • X
    • Orientation/ Airport Pick up
    • X
    • Language and Culture or Spanish Language
    • X
    • Living
      Accommo
      dations/ Meals
    • X
    • Volunteer/
      Internship Project
    • X
    • Response/
      Cooperation from local Staffs
    • X
    • Overall Volunteer Experience
    • X
Please summarize your volunteer/internship experience:

My ultimate aim was purely to learn more of Ecuadorian culture, which I feel I did a little in my short month there. I expected there to be SOME English which there wasn't on my project. This in itself limited me a little (unable to ask many questions) but there were other ways in which I communicated. There were many small practices that they did differently to myself at the project but I wasn't there to teach them my culture, I was there to learn about theirs. This I feel I did and have brought back many more thoughts of appreciation since my return. However, I now feel I am a little more intolerant of my own people as we have so much to be thankful for in Australia and yet so many people constant complain!! Humbleness I repeatably feel in doing volunteer work, even in my own country. There is nothing like working with people who are far worse off than yourself to bring you back to base camp so to speak! Overall I feel I gained much from my project, I am 52 and wasn't profoundly surprised by what I found but continually enjoy doing something different and meeting people that have so many different life experiences to my self. Another added bonus is the other volunteers you meet along the way. Also my host families complete a huge portion of my cultural learning, I think this is my favourite part of my time at volunteer work. This was my second volunteer project my first being in Africa 2006 which I also loved.

Would you recommend Global Crossroads programs to others? Yes
Would you mind serving as a reference for future volunteers? Yes
(If yes, please write your email address): boatharbour1957@hotmail.com

Kathy P,

Australia

Volunteering in "La casa de la Niņez 2", Quito
testimonial

My stay in Ecuador was not only memorable but life changing. Being immersed in a different culture is a privilege that few get the opportunity to experience and I am so fortunate that I was able to be a part of that. Being taken in by a family, a community, and a country so warm is something truly inspiring. Everyone at the project was so good to me, causing me to never want to leave at the end of the day. La Casa de la Niņez will be in my heart forever.

Becky Daniels, USA

Our questions to Becky Daniels

Q: What was good and what was bad with the staff in the US, the coordinator in Ecuador, the host family and the project?

A: There was nothing bad about my cordinator or my host family. They made me feel like I was a part of their family.

Q: What can be improved?

A: More information about the family beforehand. It would have been nice to have been able to get in contact with them before arriving at their house.

Q: Did you miss anything?

A: I was so captivated by everything that was going on in Ecuador that I didnt miss anything from the U.S.

Q: What would you like to tell other future volunteers about life in Quito/Amazonas/Galapagos/Ecuador?

A: Be prepared to have to travel around the city a lot by bus. Get to know the streets and the bus system right away. In Quito wear sunscreen but bug spray is not necessary.

Q: What would you like to tell other future volunteers your project?

A: The kids could use more activities. If your thinking of bringing a gift good ideas would be a board game or books in spanish for them to read.

Q: Do you think its necessary to at least speak some Spanish?

A: Speaking spanish allows you to form a bond with the kids that the nonspanish speakers could not attain. The experience is more memorable and you leave a greater imprint if you can talk to them about their life, your life, and it allows you to understand each kid as an individual better than if you cannot communicate with them. Speaking spanish also helps with getting around the city and asking for directions.

Volunteering in "La casa de la Niņez 2", Quito
Volunteering in La casa

The children at La Casa de la Ninez were a joy to work with. Their enthusiasm and energy knows no limit. They are extremely happy to see volunteers, and I feel like my volunteering truly made a difference. I miss the kids to this day, and I doubt I will find another place where my presence will be as appreciated as it was at La Casa de la Niņez.

Andrew Micciche, USA

Our questions to Andrew Micciche

Q: What was good and what was bad with the staff in the US, the coordinator in Ecuador, the host family and the project?

A: The staff in the US, the coordinator in Ecuador, and the host family were all perfect. I got a truly authentic experience and was supported the whole way. Everything was organized perfectly.

Q: What can be improved?

A: I honestly cannot think of one thing that could be improved. Everything was excellent.

Q: Did you miss anything?

A: No. The only thing I regret is that I wish I had stayed longer.

Q: What would you like to tell other future volunteers about life in Quito/Amazonas/Galapagos/Ecuador?

A: Quito is an extremely safe place with a vibrant culture. Take full advantage of all that the city has to offer. Try new foods, talk to strangers on the bus, listen to their music, do anything to make the experience even more memorable. And take lots of pictures!!!

Q: What would you like to tell other future volunteers your project?

A: La Casa de la Ninez is an absolutely amazing place to volunteer. The children are extremely receptive and are genuinely happy to see volunteers. Even months after my trip, I still miss those kids.

Q: Do you think its necessary to at least speak some Spanish?

A: Yes, I do. My host family spoke Spanish almost exclusively. Speaking Spanish makes the trip more interesting and exciting. Additionally, the children in the orphanage only spoke Spanish, and I feel that people without any Spanish knowledge would have trouble connecting to the kids.

I enjoyed my experience at Urcu Puyujunda. I particularly liked getting to know the people of Las Tolas; itīs a great little town. My host family in Quito was good as well, they were friendly and wanted to help us learn Spanish. It was a bit of a long trip to make into Quito every day, but at least I got to know my way around the city. The spanish classes were good, and Giovanna clearly wanted to do a good job teaching us. It was a bit tough for her, though, because I already spoke some Spanish but Alex didnīt speak any. As a result, I probably didnīt learn as much as I could have in that time.

Matthew

Volunteer Experience

I would like to extend my heartfelt thank you to the people of Ecuador that have helped to make my volunteer opportunity in Ecuador an unsurpassed experience and that have contributed to the creation of my memoires.

Fredy and Maria, my hosts in Quito , are truly dedicated to their field of work and this dedication permeates through everything they do to support the volunteers. Just like any other volunteer faced with entering a new country and in eager anticipation of what lies ahead upon the arrival at the designated airport, I too experienced a feeling of the unknown. However, relief followed my first moment on the Ecuadorian ground as the doors from the customs opened and I was met by Fredy and his welcoming smile. I arrived in Quito past 11 at night on a Sunday and had no expectations that my hosts would be at the airport waiting for me this late at night on this day. I believe that this gesture proved the level of dedication on Fredy's part and that of Maria's as she greeted me at their home nearly close to midnight. On my first day in Quito , both Maria and Fredy provided me with a wealth of information - project background and a synopsis on the city and the local people - to help me start my volunteer experience. Two days into my stay in Quito , I learned about another volunteer opportunity, one in the mists of the Cloud Forest, and I became intrigued to expand my adventure. In less than 24 hours, Fredy and Maria arranged my new project in the village of Las Tolas , necessary accommodations, and a means of transport. Thank you Maria and Fredy for making my vision turn into something concrete and eventually so surreal! Overall, my experience with Maria and Fredy surpassed any expectations. Their home is beautiful, the premises are kept very clean, and the food was excellent. The fact that we shared our meals around one table with Maria, Fredy, their daughter Elizabeth, sometimes their parents, and other volunteers, made the experience that much more cultural and I felt like I was immersed for a moment in time in their lives. Maria's parents are also so kind and loving and I would like to thank them for welcoming me into their home as well.

Later, at Urcu Puyujunda, I was greeted by Mariana and Francisco, my host family at the Lodges near Las Tolas, a beautiful accommodations place in the serenity of the Cloud Forest. Parallel to my Quito experience, Mariana and Francisco's welcoming surpassed my expectations. The cabins at Urcu Puyujunda are beautiful in its rustic form and very clean. Mariana is an excellent cook and always had hot meals awaiting us on time. Francisco took on the responsibility to arrange to take me to Las Tolas to meet the principal of the school where I was going to be teaching English. As my volunteer project was in Las Tolas, I only had a few moments in a day to interact with Mariana and Francisco, however the little time that I had with them was amazing. Overall, during my entire stay with Mariana and Francisco, I always felt so welcomed by this kind family. Thank you Mariana and Francisco for your hard work and kindness!

Thank you to everyone involved in making my trip and my volunteer opportunity a rewarding and unforgettable experience!

Kind Regards,

Diana L. Fiala

Calgary , Alberta

Experience in Ecuador

I participated in a 3-weeks volunteer program with home stay. The volunteer work took place at a small orphanage in Quito, filled with 28 of the most gentle and loving children, infants. Days were filled with laughter, games and trips to the park and in the evenings I spent time with my "host family" speaking spanish (...or at least trying to), eating local home made cuisine, and playing a mean game of cards. All the while learning more about the customs, culture and politics of this tiny South American gem. Weekends were spent exploring the sights and sounds of Ecuador. I can't wait to come back and explore Ecuador even more. There is just so much for one to see and do.....so you must take full advantage of all your time.

Katherine Davis, Ecuador

My experience in Ecuador

I feel that the global crossroad program in Ecuador is a wonderful experience and that the organization should assist in the growth and strengthening of it's program in Ecuador. Maria and Fredy are two good leaders and I hope that they have the opportunity and desire to use there skills for a long time.

The Spanish school section of the trip with Maria was helpful in providing a greater understanding and appreciation of the Spanish language. I can not honestly say that I retained a lot of what I was thought but the patience and persistence Maria displayed towards me is attribute to her outstanding character.

Both of my host families and Fredy and Maria have been very accommodating with an concerted effort made to be welcoming host's and hostesses. They have allowed me to be around a participate in their lives. I have also been taken on some interesting family excursions to places around Ecuador. I would not have seen these places otherwise or at least not through a Latin American perspective.

After looking at a couple of volunteer options I have settled into working at a school for disabled children. It is intriguing to watch the children interact with their peers and instructress. So far, I have mostly been making teaching aids for the blind or partially sighted. I think that this school is a great location to place volunteers.

Quito is a large city filled with friendly people. It size still allows it to hold a diverse range of services which makes it the best place in Ecuador to base your stay from.

In conclusion, I feel that Global Crossroad has been a good volunteer in experience for me and I would highly recommend this program to anyone who was interested in coming to Ecuador.

THADDEUS HOMEWOOD

The accomodations were ideal and I felt very safe the entire time. Everything worked out perfectly and I very much miss the kids at the orphanage. Just the other day I was showing the pictures of the kids to my friend and I started crying because I realized how much they meant to me. I am never going to forget any of them. I also told everyone how amazingly nice and kind hearted you guys are. You made me feel very at home and gave me some experiences I will never forget. You didn't have to do any of that but you did, and thats what makes you amazing people. I'll never forget you or your families. If you have any questions let me know and I will email you as soon as possible.

Anastasia Kidniz, California

Everything worked

Working at the orphanage - this was a great experience and I really enjoyed it. It was a shock at first to see the place, but the children were great and i felt that my help made a real difference. I intend to keep in touch and hopefully visit again in the future. Living arrangements – it was great to live with a family. Things were very good.

Trips - these were great and i really enjoyed where we went, seeing some of Ecuador with people who knew the places we went to. It was a great experience to share it with Maria, Freddy and Elisabeth and I had a really good time. Very good, especially the times we spent at Freddy's parents which was something you wouldn't normally get to experience on a trip abroad.

Cathy Hill - England

I have been in Quito for six weeks now, which I can hardly believe because time has gone so fast! Here is a summary of my time here so far….

I arrived late are Tuesday afternoon, very tired from over 24 hours of travel and more than a little scared to be alone in a completely new country. But I needn't have wormed because I was met by Fredy, with a big smile and was soon being fed some good food)much better than on the plane= and given a room where I could sleep off my travels.

I then took Spanish lessons with Maria for two weeks. I basically with stared with very little knowledge and by the end of the two weeks I had improved so much. I could start to talk with people, especially Fredy and Maria which is the best way to improve. Maria is a very patient teacher, and I really enjoyed my lessons. Because the classes are so small (in this case , just me) you can go at your own pace, ask lots of questions and talk about things you are interested in.

I feel very lucky that Maria and Fredy are my host family. They are so welcoming and accommodation and have made my time here so far very enjoyable, they were fantastic helping me settle into the two place where I volunteer.

In the mornings, I go to a school for disabled children. The kids are deaf and blind. I divide my time between helping with a class (and learning some sign language) and preparing material for the partially sighted children. The school is very different to my school in England (the teachers here are quite strict) but I am now completely settled there and enjoy my time (apart from getting up at 7 o'clock)

In the afternoons I go to an orphanage home for unwarned mothers. This house is very very poor and it was quite difficult at first. Fredy & Maria arranged for me to talk with the director about what I could do to help there. So now I help the teenagers make chocolate lollies to sell for the home which is rewarding because it is hopefully useful to them. I think I have had some of my hardest experiences there but also some of the best, like seeing the children enjoyment when given pizza as a big treat some things I have seen there will stay with me forever.

So that is about it. I love Quito, which is a very interesting and contrasting city. I am very encouraged by my improvement in Spanish and hope it will continue for the rest of my time here. I recently visited the Oriente (rainforest) and am also now excited about traveling around Ecuador in four weeks time.

LISA EVANS

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