Chile

CEA - Cultural Experiences Abroad

After compiling a formal complaint letter, I will keep it short and simple. CEA is a waste of anyones money. Aside from coordinating my family, and giving them money for my stay and food, they did nothing. My home university in Vina Del Mar, Chile helped the students with our introduction week, planned field trips, transcripts, and any issues the students were having. I spend $10,000, when that money should have been going to the community and the school. I had a friend on the trip who wasn't willing to pay this price, so he contacted the university he was interested in attending, and the international department helped him find a family, he paid half the price.
CEA barely coordinates with the students when they are abroad unless you have questions, they do NOT care about their students, after working with them you really just feel like they want to make money. They had difficultly assisting me when I was robbed, lost my credit card, and failed to reach out to me to make sure I was okay when there was a massive earthquake and tsunami alert.
Steer away from CEA, but if you want extra money to travel, think outside the box and talk to the university themselves!

Program: Study Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Nov 9, 2014
Overall:
1
Support:
2
Value:
1

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I had an excellent experience working with this program in La Serena. When first arriving at the orphanage I was surprised at how much the children and tias immediately trusted us. It took some times for us to adjust to the way things were run especially since Sam and I did not have experience working with young kids. Though we knew it would be no means be an easy job working at the orphanage, we were definitely taken a back by some of things we saw. That being said this has been a life-changing experience and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.Throughout the past three weeks I have learned a great deal about the Chilean culture and about myself all while being able to contribute something to the wonderful kids and workers at the orphanage.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Oct 4, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

My experience in La Serena was really amazing and I am so glad that I did it. The work that is done at the children’s home is truly incredible and I am really happy to have been a part of this project. Getting to know the children and the workers was so great and I learnt a lot during the 6 weeks, whether it was about Chilean culture, the language or washing and changing babies. Also my host family (Wilma, Juan Carlos and Romina). Wilma did so much for me during the stay, she was always willing to help me with anything at all, and nothing was too much for her. The family really did make the experience for me, I felt completely comfortable and welcome in their home and learnt a lot about Chilean culture from them.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Feb 27, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I volunteered to gain a better understanding of day to day Chilean life, improve my Spanish and learn traditional children songs and games. I achieved all three and will have a pen pal relationship between the nursery school in La Serena and my Spanish speaking pre-k in Minnesota

I wanted to thank A Broader View for your flexibility in letting me extend my stay in service. I am deeply grateful and I want to thank Lone for arranging my volunteer-ship at the nursery school. It has been a valuable experience and I have formed lasting ties with the teachers there.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Feb 13, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

While in Chile at the orphanage I was able to see great changes in the growth and development of the babies I worked with because they were so young (all less than 6 months old) so my favorites memories occurred when a baby began to respond to me and enjoy my attention (smiling, giggling, cooing) for the first time.
I didn’t need time to adjust. Despite being thousands of miles from the place I call home, I felt like I had a home and a family. I learned home can be wherever you make it. I lived in a home with a family. My host mother took extremely good care of me and I felt right at home. I had my own bedroom and shared two bathrooms with the family. I had everything I needed right at home (washer, computer, etc.) and was very comfortable my entire stay.
Pack light! I found that extremely nice and just did a couple loads of laundry while I was there. I pre-bought all of my personal/bath items (Kleenex packs for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, shampoo, soap, etc.) but found I could’ve just bought those items upon arrival. This would’ve saved me room in my suitcase and money, seeing that I over-bought in some cases.
Let your guard down and let people in. The possibilities are endless.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Jan 8, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I volunteered to gain a better understanding of day to day Chilean life, improve my Spanish and learn traditional children songs and games. I achieved all three and will have a pen pal relationship between the nursery school in La Serena and my Spanish speaking pre-k in Minnesota

I wanted to thank A Broader View for your flexibility in letting me extend my stay in service. I am deeply grateful and I want to thank Lone for arranging my volunteer-ship at the nursery school. It has been a valuable experience and I have formed lasting ties with the teachers there.

Sincerely,

Ana Louise Miranda.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Sep 11, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

Oftentimes when you tell people that you’re going to volunteer in an orphanage for several months their immediate response is to tell you what a good thing it is you’re doing, how lucky the kids are to have you there, how more people should do the same and devote their time to helping those in need. I have to say this has always bothered me, mostly because in all situations where I have volunteered with underprivileged children, including during my two months at the Hogar, I found that I was the lucky one. I feel so fortunate to have been able to spend so much time with such wonderful, beautiful children, and also with the amazing staff who have dedicated themselves to raising them. During my two months in Chile I have learned so much: how to change a diaper, all of the charming intricacies of Chilean Spanish, how to cook pollo al jugo (thanks to my host brother Cristian), the fastest way to walk to the centro, and so many more little things I will never forget. But most importantly that no matter where you go in the world, you will find people that—no matter what language they speak, no matter how they take their tea—are kind and loving and whose presence in your life, even in a fleeting moment of it, will inevitably and indelibly change it for the better. Gladys and her family were FANTASTIC! I felt at home with them right away. They are incredibly warm, kind, accommodating, and most importantly, present, people. I got the amazing opportunity to see Los Andes, Santiago, and Andacollo with them during my stay when they went to visit extended family in those locations. I always felt that I was treated not as a temporary house-guest, but really as part of the family. Cristian, Gladys’ 19-year-old son and I referred to each other as brother and sister. Coming from a close family at home with two younger brothers, having Gladys and Cristian really helped me feel comfortable during my three months in Chile. One of my favorite parts of Chilean culture is that when you integrate yourself into a family, you don’t only get the nuclear family, but all of the members of the extended family as well. Throughout my stay I was able to meet countless relatives and really feel like I was a part of this large, loving, wonderful family.

The only suggestion I have for future housing of volunteers that that two volunteers with the same first language (especially if the proficiency in the second differs significantly) not be placed in the same house (without their explicit request or consent). One of the main reasons I had for coming to Chile was to improve my Spanish, and it is far more difficult to do that when you are living with another volunteer who not only keeps speaking in English to you while in the presence of the non-English-speaking host family members, but is unable to communicate with them in Spanish, therefore leaving you to have to translate for her at almost every interval. It is detrimental to the quality of the immersion of the volunteer with the greater proficiency in the host language, and does not force the volunteer with less proficiency to have to learn anything or improve language skills—basically, a lose-lose situation. In general, I think that the most important relationship a volunteer will have during his or her stay is with the host family, and having two volunteers in the same house at the same time really hinders that bond and dilutes the power of the immersion experience.

The Hogar was wonderful. The women working at the project who I was with on a daily basis were kind, helpful, and enjoyable to be around. Angela, the woman who worked in the nursery I was in the mornings, was instructive, kind, and really great to talk to. I came to work in the orphanage to be able to spend time with children, but I got the added bonus of substantial relationships with the “teachers” in each classroom. at a project this size, it was nice to know everyone else’s name and have everyone know your name, something that would not be possible at a project of greater size. Having this sense of familiarity with the staff and with the children really augmented not only my comfort at the site but also the richness of my experience on the whole.

It is key to remember that if you’re coming during the winter months (what would be summer in the Northern hemisphere) that you bring warm clothes to sleep in, because there is no central heating in the houses. Get used to wearing jackets inside. As for donations to the volunteer site, it is better to bring money with you and purchase things at the end for the project after you've seen what they need most throughout your time volunteering. Travel as much as you can, even if it’s just going along with your family on day trips to visit relatives. I got to see a lot more of Chile that way than I would have if I hadn't taken advantage of those opportunities. But my most important piece of advice relates to the best lesson I learned during my experience: try to live your time away without fear. Say yes to things, try new foods, go whenever your family offers to take you anywhere, spend as much time integrating yourself into your family as possible. You can walk away from this experience having spent time holed up your room at home and going through the motions at the volunteer site, or you can walk away with meaningful relationships, a deeper understanding of the host culture and a greater capacity for the language. It’s up to you, you just have to go out and get it. My favorite memory was not one particular moment necessarily, but having the privilege over the course of several months to watch the children in the orphanage grow. I worked with infants in the morning, ranging from a few days old to six months old, and being able to visibly see the developmental changes taking place in their lives was astonishing and moving. One of the babies, Vicente, did nothing but cry for his pacifier when I arrived, was not responsive to interaction, and did not yet possess any significant motor skills. I remember the unique and startling joy I experienced one day after a month and a half or so when I went to feed him in the morning—he smiled and gurgled as I greeted him, wrapped his tiny little hands around my fingers as I held the bottle to his mouth, and laughed with vigor when I tickled him after being changed. Getting to witness this distinct moment in a person’s life, where each day and each week brings about significant physical and mental growth, where each moment a personality is gradually beginning to form, was a breathtaking experience I’ll never forget.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Sep 4, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I had an excellent experience working with this program in La Serena. When first arriving at the orphanage I was surprised at how much the children and tias immediately trusted us. It too some times for us to adjust to the way things were run especially since Sam and I did not have experience working with young kids. Though we knew it would be no means be an easy job working at the orphanage, we were definitely taken a back by some of things we saw. That being said this has been a life-changing experience and I am so grateful to have had this opportunity.Throughout the past three weeks I have learned a great deal about the Chilean culture and about myself all while being able to contribute something to the wonderful kids and workers at the orphanage. My host family, Vilma, made me feel right at home and helped us to become familiar with the city. Pack clothes that you wont mind leaving as donations once you are done the project. Also take advantage of the tours such as Elqui and the Mamulluca Observatory.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Sep 4, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

I volunteered with A Broader View at an orphanage in La Serena, Chile and had a fantastic time! The orphanage has children from infancy to 7 years old, and the volunteers mostly help out with the 0-2 year olds. The kids are so sweet! I really loved both the orphanage and the host family I was placed with. My host mother in particular was super sweet and a wonderful cook! I really liked how flexible the program is-not only did I get to pick my arrival/departure date, but in my free time I got to travel around on my own (not with ABV). I learned so much on my trip and had the most amazing experience! The program fee is affordable and the organization is reliable and supportive. I recommend A Broader View for a great volunteer experience!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Sep 12, 2012
Overall:
9
Support:
7
Value:
9

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

This experience is one of my favorite life experiences thus far. It is my second time traveling abroad alone. I was in Chile doing a homestay and working in an ophanage for 3 months. I had the most amazing family that I was placed with. They were great about showing me around, helping me out, dealing with my food allergies. I loved where I worked and it was extremely difficult to say goodbye. I always tell people to search for a program that really gives you what you, as an individual, need to have a good time abroad. Keeping an open mind and being flexible are the 2 most important tools you need, even more important than speaking the language. I definitely came across more than a few obstacles but my family was great in helping me through. While looking for a program I asked a lot of questions and recieved answers quickly but once I arrived I felt it was really up to me to figure things out and make the most of my trip. (but again, that is part of choosing to do a homestay). I had the phone number for the in country coordinator but I really relied on my family to help me out. That being said, it all really depends on who you are as a person. For me personally, I am glad I chose this program as my second trip abroad. I wanted to ease myself in. I was able to go into this with some experience under my belt. But I found this far more rewarding in terms of cultural immersion and creating new relationships with different people. My goal was to really test my boundaries and I suprised myself as to how much I pushed myself. I 100% grew as a person and I created some very strong bonds with people I met. I've found that you really get back as much, if not more, of what you put in.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Chile
Posted: Jul 11, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
7
Value:
10

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