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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Traveling by your self to a foriegn country is an amazaing and difficutl process. Although you can't evade culture shock, the staff made it an amazing transition. The family that I was placed with was GREAT and will always be my family. The staff was helpful and solved any problems I came across. The internship I was placed in was new to the program simply because they didn't have an option for what I wanted to do. However, a new position was made just for my needs and it worked out great. Thanks ELI and Foundation Rural! Greatest travel experience of my life (so far :)

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 28, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

There were two reasons I chose to volunteer with ELI as opposed to the plethora of other programs I looked into. First, ELI is affordable. It doesn't take a lot of research to see that ELI is much cheaper than other programs that offer the same experience. Second, the support staff was incredible. As soon as I showed interest in going to Kenya the staff (in the U.S.) called me, talked thoroughly to me about the program, and were honest with their evaluations of the program I was about to join. I felt so much support before I left and was relieved to find out that my host mother was there to offer me the same support once I was in-country. During my two month stay in Kenya my host mom and my coordinator back in the U.S. were frequently on the phone calling each other to check on me and make sure I was comfortable and safe. I felt like I had two moms!
Some things. First, it is true that ELI had little to do with the school that I taught at. But on their website, ELI specifically says that they are a PLACEMENT organization. They PLACE you in a local organization that does not have the means to advertise themselves for volunteers. ELI is upfront about this so it is not supposed to be a shock when you realize your school/orphanage/hospital is NOT an ELI institution. ELI simply helped get you there. In my experience though, ELI was in good contact with my school and my school was expecting me, were grateful to have me, and were very, very kind to me.
Also, ELI was very upfront before I left. They told me that once I got to my school I would have to initiate things. I would need to decide which part of the school I wanted to work in, where I wanted to put my energy, how I wanted to spend my days. As adults, I don't believe we can complain that much about not liking our placements. They really are what you make of them. If ever there was a day when I felt like my time was mismanaged or my energy not used to it's potential, I would go in the next day and make changes...put my energy in something else or change my job a little so that I felt more useful. What made my experience so pleasant was that I was able to decide how I wanted to spend my time at the school - I got to decide where I thought I could help the most. Had the program been strict with me about this, I probably would not have enjoyed my stay as much. Part of the beauty of my experience was the flexibility the program offered.
Overall, I loved ELI to Kenya. They gave me enough support to feel confident about going to Africa but also gave me enough space to explore on my own. They were there to help me know how to set up a safari and to recommend the vaccinations/visas/prescriptions needed before I left, but flexible in their expectations of me and let me decide what kind of trip I was going to have. And I had a great one!

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Location:
Posted: July 25, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
9
By: Anonymous
Age:

I volunteered in Iganga just when the program began in 2008. My experience was wonderful. I stayed with a host family, who welcomed me into their home with open arms. We spent everyday together, cooking dinner and enjoying each others company. I volunteered at Self-Reliance orphanage, working with the staff and children. The staff at self-reliance was great to work with, and inspirational in their commitment to the children and development of the orphanage. Michael, the head of the organization based in Iganga, was very accommodating, caring and attentive to my needs. He really went out of his way to make sure that my experience was a positive one. I saw him almost everyday and often spent time at his home with him and his family. From day one with Michael, my family and the people at self-reliance, I felt safe, comfortable and at home.
My experience in Uganda was one I will never forget. I still keep in touch with my family and coworkers and really miss them! I would definitely recommend ELI as an organization and Iganga as a location to volunteer.

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 25, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

I don't even know where to begin. I spent a summer in Uganda two years ago. Although some time has passed, the experience I had has been a guiding hand throughout my decisions the past two years. The kindness I received from my host family, the community and the amazing program director is unforgettable. I made lasting friendships and still speak with all of them over the internet today. I know that whenever I return, I have a family to go back to who treat me like I am their daughter. I felt very safe the entire time I was there. Everyone looks out for you. The activities that I partook in were things I never dreamed I would be able to do at such a young age. I was given so much freedom to help and the community was so grateful to have me there. I learned so many life skills that has opened many doors for me now. I am leaving next month for the Peace Corps and I was able to get the position I did because of my experience with ELI. This program provided me with much more than I was expecting. Volunteering was the best decision I made during my entire undergraduate studies. I could never have gotten this experience in a classroom and I always promote this idea to other people who want to get a unique cultural and rewarding experience. I hope to return in a few years and reunite with my Ugandan family that will always have a special place in my heart.

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Posted: July 25, 2010
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

The in-country coordinator was very informative. Our host family was great and they took extra good care of us. The volunteer work in the school was such a great experience, it was hard but rewarding. The other teacher & director were great resources for us to use to better our teaching skills. Both of them and our host family helped us a lot with learning the language, getting around town, and learning the culture. The spanish lessons offered from ELI helped a lot as well. My spanish teach was a great resource that allowed me to speak spanish in a comfortable setting where I wasn't embarrassed.

Program:
Location:
Posted: July 24, 2010
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
10
By: Anonymous
Age:

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