ELIabroad Experiential Learning International

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8.2 / 10 after 62 Reviews Based on overall, support & value average ratings
Program website: http://www.eliabroad.org/

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I spent two weeks with the animal program outside Curitiba and it was everything I hoped for... The planning process with ELI was easy, transportation was really nice to have, and the guest house was wayyy nicer than I expected. I worked with the staff on feeding/maintenance/cleaning for the aviaries, large cat enclosures (including jaguars, mountain lions, oscelots), a huge enclosure for bush dogs with elevated walkways...If you are afraid of heights, some of the enclosures might be scary. Bring a Portuguese dictionary so you can look up animals (some of them they only know the Brazilian name for). The property is enormous...in my free time I hiked and explored the complex lake system and back country. It's an amazing place for someone who appreciates nature and wants to get away from the city. It's quiet at night, so bring movies or books or something to keep you busy after the sun goes down. Work starts at dawn and the time goes by quickly. I'd go back and stay a little longer if I could take the time off.

Program:
Location:
Posted: November 27, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
Age:
38

Eli Abroad is a "hit or miss" program. I worked in Quito, Ecuador for two months with the human rights program. My first three weeks were spent in an office with an indigenous rights organization that was collapsing from internal conflicts. They had nothing but the volunteer workers that kept the faction together. During the third week, the opposing faction took over our building so all of us interns no longer had a program. The next organization I worked with was in its beginning stages, meaning the previous intern coordinator was attempting to revive an inactive indigenous rights organization. While we actually went on trips to communities and accomplished research and writing a few essays, it was unorganized and lacking resources. The problem with this program was that the job description was literally "travel to indigenous communities to learn about their needs, the culture, history, etc." but the program fee did not cover any of the trips so the money I paid went only to the host family and the Eli program coordinators. None of it covered what I would be doing in the internship. In addition, I had a conflict with the Ecuador program coordinator who was very unprofessional in calling me names and attacking my character to my host mom on the phone after I posted on facebook that I was tired of living in a developing country (because of theft and illness from dirty water). Not only was this an invasion of privacy as the Eli Abroad facebook page must have told her about my post, but it was a bad business move. I paid about $2,000 for this program and was insulted by those that took my money. Be warned that Eli Abroad is run like a business and they will try to charge you for every little thing, even after you pay the major program fee listed on their website. My in country program coordinator lived like a queen with a maid taking care of things in her home and then she had the audacity of lecturing me about poverty in indigenous communities. The good things about my program was my host family, roommate, and being about to travel the country, though none of these things were guaranteed and I was just lucky. Overall, I would tell you go travel the world, but through a different program that costs a little more.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 12, 2013
Overall:
3
Support:
5
Value:
3
By: akarimi1
Age:

I definitely do not recommend ELI. I was in Cape Town, South Africa earlier this summer doing an internship and I returned early because I was so disappointed with the program. The coordinator (Karin Comer) is not organized at all; I really don’t think she even knows what she is doing. Starting with day one, she left me waiting at the airport for a good 15-20 minutes. Of course I started freaking out and was convinced that ELI was a scam. She finally showed explaining that she was late because there was ”confusion” with the airlines and the arrival times. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, but later I found out that she will leave you waiting at the airport so she can park, pick you up, and then leave quickly so she doesn’t have to pay for parking since she was only parked for a couple of minutes (she mentioned this to another intern who happened to tell me about it). If she was planning to be late I would have liked to known ahead of time. It’s just common courtesy. Also, she wasn’t good with paying rent either. Other ELI interns (about 6 of them) had to move out of their house because Karin had not paid the owner the rent. Also, in my house my roommates were without water and electricity for a week and a half because Karin had not paid those bills. We would give Karin the money and she was supposed to pay the owner.

Karin’s “assistant” (Ramon) was a 19-year-old kid who was completely useless. I asked him for help twice and the first time he was too busy playing a racing game (he told me this) and the second time he didn’t want to give me a ride because he was too tired. The first time I had asked him to give me a quick ride to a nearby 7eleven because I had no food and there was no one else to take me (I had only been in Cape Town less than a week and didn’t know my way around yet). The second time I had asked him if he could give me a lift to my house because my friend’s house (who was also an intern with ELI) had been robbed. My friend left quickly because she was obviously very scared and upset. I didn’t have a way to get back home and I was hoping this assistant would help me out. He instead got very upset and told me he was never helping me out again (so much for an assistant). When I had arrived in Cape Town, Karin had told me that if we ever needed anything we could call him, but apparently he thinks otherwise.

The house I was living in was okay, my roommates were nice (I had 8 of them), but the area was not safe at all. I did not feel comfortable there and you could tell it was not the best area. I have lived in other countries (including Mexico City and Lima, Peru) therefore I know what a dangerous area looks like. One of the other interns who I became friends with lived nearby (maybe a 5 minute drive) and her house was broken into. Her area wasn’t the best either. Her house was behind a train track. The coordinator (Karin Comer) did not even bother to show up to my friend’s house after the robbery. We were with the owner and the police but no coordinator. I called her because my friend (other ELI intern living at the house) was really upset and wanted her to come. I called Karin and instead she started arguing with me and saying that she could not come because it was too far for her and there was nothing she could do about the robbery. Basically, you were on your own.

The internship was the only thing I liked. It was also located in an unsafe are, actually it was a horrible area. There were homeless people walking around everywhere. It was horrible. I have no idea why this internship would be placed there (it was an advertising agency). I felt so uncomfortable and so unsafe. Plus, I had to take public transportation to get there and I felt even worse. If the internship would have been paid I would have stayed, but in the end it was not worth it. I was not comfortable in my house or at my internship. I felt so unsafe and after the robbery I had it. I was out of there.

If ELI would just get a new coordinator who was organized, dependable, and empathetic I think the program would be fine. But again, the program was cheap… so I guess you get what you paid for.

If you would like to contact me for any further questions about the program feel free: whalenjillo@gmail.com

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 3, 2013
Overall:
1
Support:
1
Value:
1
By: fili14
Age:
25

Comments

It is a great pity i only get to see this mail now, otherwise i would have responded immediately. My first comment is that "i am yet to read more utter nonsense and deliberate lies than what i read here." Here is my response. 1. If this candidate was a local person, i would have taken her to court for spreading lies. 2. She arrived in Cape Town and either slept all day during the first few days, never leaving her home, never mixing with the people in her house or spending time with one other person in another house. The rest of the students in the house always invited her out with them as they were having a great time. She never mixed with any of them. 3. For anyone who has ever been to South Africa and Cape Town - will know, Observatory and Mowbray are two of the most popular area's for young people, young families and students from all over the world. All i can say - this is a totally ignorant person saying something she knows nothing about as she never put her head outside the door. 4. As for me personally - i am a highly organised and professional person. I have my company for 17 years and running it very successfully and secondly, was in business for many years prior to starting my own business. One thing i pride myself on is organisation. 5. When we get flight schedules from the USA - it usually excludes the local flights from either Johannesburg to Cape Town or the international links to Cape Town and we have to guess on which local flight a candidate could possibly be. It was exactly the same with her. No candidate would ever wait more than 5 - 10 min for any of us... NEVER !!! All our correspondence clearly state that the person should wait at the exit point in case they dont see us should anything happen and no one waits usually - unless there are incorrect flight schedules given to us by the airline companies, unless flights are delayed and we cannot get the information on schedules etc. We never make people wait deliberately...NEVER. There are traffic jams around town, incorrect flight information on the flight check sites, etc. It happens, but we make sure people have information about what to do and where to way... always. Luckily we also do not work with children. We work with young adults who understand and know these things. 6. Issue of paying rent elsewhere: Oh my word !!!! That is all i can say. 3 Boys moved over to a new house. (Ramon, Pau +1) not 6. They moved over because my partnership with the owner of another property ended as he wanted to run it himself. He had R30 000 deposit of mine - off-set against the last months rentals... You know nothing about business... so dont say things you were not involved with and that is untrue. The issue of any other house actually had and has no effect on you at all and it is none of your concern either. And correction - you never paid any other owner any money Miss Whalen - you paid the owner of your house, which happens to be me. There were no other owners involved at all. 7. As for the intern in my office - i want to make it clear, we do not drive students from shop to shop for any reason when the shops are literally a few minutes walk from all our houses. We do not offer a free taxi service to anyone. There was no reason why anyone should have given you a ride with their private vehicles for which they paid for for any reason either.... not a single one - other than an emergency or a problem .. not for late night shopping. The area where you were placed is safe, is a fantastic area to live in and is regarded as one of the most popular area's in Cape Town. In fact, we showed you where everything was from the beginning and even took you to the shops and all you had to do was stay with the people from your house, ask them or ask any of our staff to show you again, but as the shops are less than 5 min walk from all our houses, a simple explanation would have been enough. You were not in your own house but visiting a friend and actually had the nerve to call him to fetch you while he was already in bed sleeping. 8. And now my favorite topic - the famous robbery........ Firstly, you were sleeping in a house where you were not suppose to sleep in. If you were in your own house, you would not have had this experience to start with. Secondly, it was not a "robbery". The neighbours of over 20 years of the house concerned actually took a photograph of the security gates you people left open when going out that night. Yes, you did not lock it. As if that was not a good enough warning - it happened again afterwards and we again had the neighbours call us to tell us the same person left the gate open yet again. Someone took the chance and walked into the house and took what they could. Thirdly, you did not switch the alarm system on which was explained to the people who actually lived in the house. You left without alarming the security systems which could have prevented the theft. Fourthly, when i got a call late at night i personally arranged for the owner of the house to be there within a few minutes, for the police to be there in a few minutes and that after 11pm at night time. Staying more then 35km away from the house concerned - there was no need for me to personally be there and also risking driving woman alone at night time. I personally could do nothing that time of the night... All the issues were dealt with immediately by the owner, we put a staff member in the house immediately to stay there permanently and all locks were changed at a high cost due to your negligence of leaving security doors and gates open. The police actually accused your friend of staging the robbery as it was a walk-in. She further gave false information to the police for which she could have been in big trouble for had we not intervened. Let me make it very clear. I am a mother of a daughter as well. I know exactly what one should do in a case like that and i know what is humanly possible. We all did what we could and what we were suppose to have done. No person was "on your own".... never ever -as the owner and police was right there to sort things out. I do not read anything about me arranging all of that? 9. Ah, another interesting topic - your internship. You do not state to the public how many days you actually went to work - was it 2 or 3 days - maybe 4 days? You had a brilliant internship with a brilliant large national company and you disappeared from the company without informing them you were leaving or rather disappearing from the country. Yes, they were looking for you a few days after you left as they were worried about you. It is sad that you discriminate against poor people... frankly they are everywhere in SA... not just in the streets where you worked.... And as for safety, you are the first person ever to comment on that who worked for this firm ..... and there are at least 6 - 8 per year for the past 8 years or more. You were not there a week and you have the nerve to make such uninformed statements? Come on? It is a national advertising company who work for one of the largest companies in Africa....surely they know what they are doing. If they think it is safe to be there - it is safe for everyone else as well. As for public transport - was that the 5 or 10 min you had to use public transport in the 2 or 4 days at work ? All students do that without any complaints or problems. You also failed to mention that there were other interns in the same firm at the same time with whom you could have traveled...just by the way. You should never have come to SA if you were not prepared to accept our city, its people and the incredible beauty it has to offer a foreign students and also live here and experience something that you have clearly never experienced before. That is the exact reason why almost 60 old interns of my company now live here permanently. They loved the people, the atmosphere and the vibe of the city and they made an effort to stay here for more than a week to get to know things first.... You disappeared over-night. I conclude with this. I am over 50 years of age and i am a very responsible and decent business woman. I was one of the first to have an internship company more than 17 years ago here in SA... and we are growing still after all this time. Luckily we do not get many cases like yours as i would loose my mind in that case. People who know our country and who made an effort to walk the streets and meet the people know you have no cooking clue what you are talking about. Cape Town and South Africa, and i include my company and Eli in that as well, are the best possible internship and volunteer partners for students as we are all older, professional people working in one of the most amazing countries in the world. If you dont make an effort to put your head even outside your doors for a week - this is when you write such nonsense on websites as that is exactly what it is. Maybe read more about the experience of people who visit our country and our city and maybe then you will regret what you did and said. Yes, our country has poor people who are also allowed to be in the streets, but when you talk to them, you will learn how fantastic they actually are and how unique your experience could have been. Yes, all humans are not perfect - i gladly am neither, but dont make statements that are uninformed and blatantly untrue. That will remain with you for the rest of your life as you will carry the memories of your actions. I have no time for people who write uninformed letters and post them publicly. It serves no purpose and it merely shows how negative and bitter a person is who dare write such sad reflections. I proudly sign my name as i am proud of my business achievements, the work my interns do and have done, our city and my country !!! Karin Comer
I have never been in an internship with ELI, and I came to this website to look at reviews and see if it's something I would be interested in. I have to say, by the way you reacted to this review and how you represented the company, I will NEVER go through ELI for an abroad trip. Such a shame.
Similar to the other person who commented on this post, I have never done an internship with ELI. After reading this post, I am in total shock. I will never consider ELl and will tell all of my friends and family not to intern/volunteer with this company. What an unprofessional, useless, petty remark you made here. Too bad it is costing you potential candidates. Thank you for making my decision not to use your company that much easier. It would have been a shame to spend all that money BEFORE finding out the true character of the people working at ELI
Totally believe in and agree with people defending their cause and clarifying incorrect information; however, as a professional organization I do think the above comment is a bit out of line and as another reviewer noted quite petty. It'd be interesting to see how ELI responded to their volunteer's comments.. As this feed was posted a while ago I would not necessarily let it keep me away from ELI entirely, though I will follow up with my contact person to see her opinion on this. Is this really how ELI's coordinators treat volunteer feedback?
I don't know what to do anymore, After reading the respond and the way this was handle was just so unprofessional, I really am sad because I was looking at the Marketing internship in South Africa cape town and now i dont even know if I want to go and spend my money with this organization. can someone that took this internship let me know what their experience was this year? or recent? that would be great! but really looking at other places.

I didn't have a great experience with ELI. They wanted to charge me an extra $200 for "staying an extra week." They changed my program dates without notifying me and expect me to pay. I haven't paid. Upon my arrival to Costa Rica they picked me up at the airport and took me to a local family's home (the family was very nice) The next couple days they finally "shipped" me on a bus to my actually host family. The program is unorganized and inattentive. I did the medical program since i'm a medical professional and the program was only shadowing and being bored. When I first arrived at the clinic it was like a scavenger hunt to try to figure out what my actual tasks where. The coordinator rarely checked up on me. I spoke with my host family and they said they received about $200 (american dollars).... i paid $900.00 thinking the family would receive it all. Definitely not fair and I think it was just a rip-off. So much for nom-profit huh? I would have rather gave the $900 to the family personally then through ELI. I won't recommend this program.

Program:
Location:
Posted: August 23, 2012
Overall:
3
Support:
3
Value:
3
By: laurar5
Age:
21

Comments

Hi Laura, I apologize if there was some confusion with your program. You applied and paid for a two week program. While you did begin your program earlier than originally planned, it was still only a 2 week program. Staying for 3 weeks involved added expenses for both our staff in Costa Rica and your host family. We cannot ask the host families to accept a volunteer without being paid, even if it is only one extra week. We are also committed to paying our staff adequate living wages (which is the reason that it was less than 100% of your program fee that went to your host family). As for the internship itself, it is very clear in our predeparture materials that interns shadow doctors for this program. It would be unethical for us to allow undergraduate premedical students to actually practice medicine, regardless of the level of development of the country. If you have other concerns, we would love to have you contact us directly to address them at info@eliabroad.org Kenton

I am a nurse of 35 years who also volunteered and work in Nepal through ELI. Actually I was the first volunteer to open the now volunteer house. I went with a heart to help. I have learned in my many years of nursing that being a bully gets you nowhere. Every nurse entering into nursing MUST have a goal in mind: HELPING OTHERS. Education is nothing unless you know how to implement what you learn. Some of my much younger colleagues do not know how to do this. They feel because they are nurses they know it all. Patience is a VIRTUE. We all learn from one another. Whatever phase of life you meet the other person there is something always to be learned, whether you came from a different culture or not.

ORIENTATION: We are all visitors to the country of Nepal. We all must go through a period of orientation. This period of time depends on the person being orientated. All volunteers must understand that sharing does not means
demanding. The program directors work hard to organize each individual program. Problems will arise and when it does they have ALWAYS handled these very well. However if you don't speak it cannot be handled. Getting frustrated on paper and trying to give a wrong impression of a good program makes you the accuser looks very bad.

NEPAL was a challenge to me but I was determined to learn from the directors of the Nepal program. The orphanage program is very amazing. Here I taught school planted gardens, played games, reinforced hygiene, taught adult CPR and more without offending anyone. These are some of the skills I shared with those I met.

HUMILITY. A positive attitude has a lot to do with the teacher when trying to
pass skills/knowledge on to a student. The student in this case is the hospitals or orphanages in Nepal. Yes the hospitals are in need of volunteer and supplies, but they will not accept the negative attitude of a volunteer who is not willing to understand their needs and stand head and shoulders above them. They will not be bullied. Another volunteer did a long period of time at a hospital and enjoyed every bit of it. Why you may ask. His positive attitude, eagerness to share and patience brought him back day after day. It took him a while to learn the system but once he understood what was needed he had it going good.

DAILY ROUTINE It is the responsibility of the program directors to ensure your safety while staying at the volunteer house. Safety rule #1 a female does not travel alone unless in the company of another female/male doing the same program or with a team member. These program directors are liable and as volunteers why make life difficult for them. Be compliant.

BUSY BODY. When you are interviewed for a job an agreement for salary is made. YES!!! This is between you and your employer. You don't discuss your salary with your coworker. Why go fishing in another person financial agreement. You cross the line with interviewing another ELI volunteer. Two wrongs does not make a right. True professionals do not behave in this manner. Holding a license to practice of any kind does not make you a professional.

GIVING BACK: The appreciation so far for what has been done with the hospitals and the orphanages in Nepal through ELI and the directors remains speechless. My subsequent visits have proven more and more community involvement. I will continue to support ELI, the Directors, The Nepal projects/programs and their community as they HELP OTHERS HELP OTHERS. My personal motto is FOR EVERY FAMILY AND COMMUNITY WE ARE THERE.

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 26, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Mereline
Age:

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