Ecuador

Global Crossroad

As a new traveler, I wanted to feel completely comfortable with my visit abroad. With this organization, I did and for that I gave the overall experience a 5 out of 10. However, in regards to value, I am disappointed. To begin with, I felt like I was pulling teeth to receive any information from the organization. After emailing and calling several times with the coordinator, I finally received responses that didn't actually answer my questions. Finally, I was put into contact with Jose from the Spanish School. Jose was in charge of basically everything. He set me up with the family, the volunteer situation and Spanish classes. I was thankful for his information because that is the only way that I got anything planned or done with the trip. In my opinion, Global Crossroad simply gave me Jose's information so that I could set up my own trip and in regards to that, the value is extremely low. Although you will pay so much less here than at any other organization, I was very disappointed to see that I had to pay that much information to simply receive his contact information. Take my advice - you CAN go for cheaper, you just have to do some of your own research. I am regretful that I had to pay this much for this lesson (although it was necessary).

In regards to my actual experience, I am disappointed to report that my time with Cristobol Colon Spanish School (Jose's school, the school that I was a part of) ended very poorly. I had an amazing 8 weeks in the program, volunteering, taking classes, and totally feeling immersed in the culture because of my amazing host family and friends that I made at the school. For two weeks after that, I went traveling around the country. When I returned, I received an odd "welcome back" from Jose. In fact, there was a conflict between us both when I returned because of various circumstances. To make a long story short, my stay in Ecuador ended with this conflict with the director, Jose. After that, I did not feel so welcome at the school anymore and I would argue that the way that he handled it, as a professional, was not appropriate. I am sad to say this because I truly had 8 of the best weeks of my life while in Ecuador.

If you are looking for an experience of a lifetime for much MUCH cheaper, please do your research. It is not necessary to pay an organization like this to give you that type of information. If you are really interested, you can contact the host family that I stayed with (who are totally great) directly and they can help you with these types of arrangements. Yadira Pereira <yadiperei@hotmail.com>

I hope this review helps! Please visit Ecuador. It is an absolutely BEAUTIFUL country and completely affordable if you do some research. :)

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Sep 2, 2013
Overall:
5
Support:
3
Value:
1

Comments

Hannah, I apologize that you were not happy with our program. I have read over several emails from you, in my inbox, that I believed had been answered. We emailed, back and forth, many times regarding the accommodations in Quito, regarding the safe keeping of your belongings, and regarding the project. I wish that you had advised me of any problems that you had before traveling to Ecuador. I pride myself on making sure that Global Crossroad has outstanding customer service. Tracey Sanders - Program Manager

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

Our family volunteered with UBECI (IVHQ’s Ecuador program) in June 2012. Our daughter was 15 at the time, our son 11. What an amazing, enriching, and inspiring experience for all of us! Byron Salvatierra, the program founder, his wife Monica, and the entire staff were engaging and extremely supportive. Because of our own schedules we were only able to spend one week in Quito to volunteer, but even so we were able to jump right into the Working Children program and directly work with the children (mostly preschool age) at numerous markets in Quito. We travelled by bus to different parts of South Quito and got a much more intimate sense of the city’s neighborhoods. UBECI has worked for years to earn the trust of families that send their children to their programs, and as a result we were privileged to be able to play, read, sing, and do projects with these children. Both of our kids felt engaged and useful. We also loved the time we spent with the host family (in our case Byron and Monica) and we got to know other volunteers with whom we have stayed in touch. Our interactions with the parent organization, IVHQ, were also positive. All around, this was a perfect summer volunteer experience for our family. I just wish we could have stayed longer!

Program:
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Aug 24, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

It's always nice to hear such positive feedback from our groups of family volunteers are we're pleased to hear you enjoyed your experience living in a home stay and traveling around the area together. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ!

A Broader View Volunteers Corp

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!

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!

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 Non Profit and they will go out of their way to make sure you have the experience you hoped for!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Aug 13, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

ELIabroad Experiential Learning International

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: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Aug 12, 2013
Overall:
3
Support:
5
Value:
3

International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ)

I spent a month volunteering with UBECI in Quito, Ecuador, through IVHQ. I was working with street children to introduce them to the basics of education. IVHQ made sure everything was organized to get me there, and once I was there UBECI were amazing. My host family helped me with Spanish and all the practical issues of living abroad. The staff at UBECI made sure we were safe, engaged, and really able to benefit the kids. It was an amazing experience, which I gained so much from.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Aug 2, 2013
Overall:
9
Support:
9
Value:
8

Comments

Hi Lib, thanks for sharing your feedback from your program in Ecuador. We're pleased to hear you felt well-supported by our local team and gained a lot from the experience. Thanks for volunteering with IVHQ!
Hi Lib! I was hoping you could contact me to discuss your experience in Ecuador?

Volunteer BaseCamp

I had a wonderful experience with (BaseCamp) volunteer abroad and would recommend it to others interested in volunteering abroad. It has changed my goals and ideas about my future. I want to return to south america as soon as possible to continue my education in spanish and to be living in such a unique and wonderful place. The staff that you employ in country are wonderful caring people who are there to help you with everything you need. Tess was wonderful for support 24 hours a day and helping you feel comfortable with your placement and transition to working. Daniel was wonderful with orientation and was always available for helping to plan weekend trips for us volunteers. As a result, I spent every weekend traveling and learning about Ecuador. Isabel, our housekeeper and Paulina, the language instructor were both wonderful. I was able to practice spanish with them and they made you feel at home. Overall, it was a fabulous experience.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Jun 6, 2013
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Global Volunteer Network (GVN)

My family spent two weeks in the San Cristobal program at the end of 2011. Most people who visit the Galapagos are on highly structured tours, whisked from place to place, and carefully shepherded by guides. As volunteers, we had a very different experience, seeing things that most tourists don't.

The station is located at high elevation on San Cristobal, a much cooler, cloudier, and verdant area than the hot arid coasts. They support a very wide variety of efforts, mainly centered around supporting native plant life and encouraging local people to support conservation. We spent a lot of time doing greenhouse work, sorting and planting seeds, transplanting seedlings, and moving plants around from sun to shade or vice versa. We also spent time on removing non-native plants, especially Mora (Blackberries), which has run wild.

Perhaps the most eye-opening day for me was spent at a neighboring farm 20 minutes down the road. There our task was clearing one of the farmer's fields that had become overgrown with Mora, but what struck me was seeing up close how local subsistence farmers live, raising all their own food (pigs and chickens running around the yard, and a few cows for milk), and living in a house they constructed themselves of local materials. For years I'd heard the Galapagos described as pristine and mostly untouched, but it's important to learn that people have lived there for a long time, still live there now, and are an important part of the story.

Other work we did included tasks in support of the station, such as collecting fruit from the surrounding forest, helping prepare meals, and even hauling lumber out of the forest for construction. (When they need wood, they cut down a non-native tree and turn it into boards by hand.)

The work is 5 days/week, with weekends off, so most people head into town on the weekends to enjoy the beaches, snorkeling/diving, restaurants, and tours. The station is also flexible if you want more time off, for doing a multi-day island tour, for example.

The station can accommodate up to 50 volunteers, though we were there at a very quiet time with around 15, and every few days people would arrive or depart. Most of the volunteers are in their 20s; as a family we comprised both the youngest and oldest people there. Our youngest, then 9 years old, could not officially be a volunteer (we had to assume responsibility for her), but they were quite good about finding tasks where she could contribute as well.
On the whole this was a great experience. We were able to see a very different side of the Galapagos from what most tourists see, and also contribute toward improving the islands for everyone.

The people at GVN were quite good at getting us prepared, making sure we had the right equipment (no dark clothes or the bugs will eat you alive!), helping us plan the itinerary (getting to the Galapagos can be complicated, you have to go through mainland Ecuador and there are often weather delays), and helping us be ready for the conditions at the station. We were quite happy with their support.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ecuador
Posted: May 3, 2013
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
8

RCDP Nepal

I volunteered for three weeks in a small municipal hospital and one week in an orphange for children with disabilities. The hospital was a great place to practice medically related spanish. I split my time between the Emergency Room where I assisted the nursing staff, and the Operating Rooms where I spoke with the doctors and surgical residents about the unique aspects of medical practice in Ecuador. I highly recommend this program to aspiring medical professionals looking for an opportunity to improve pertinante language skills. The hospital in this progam is not the place to go for intensive hands on medical volunteer work, but a low stress way to help out while using the Spanish language in a medical setting.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Nov 15, 2012
Overall:
8
Support:
8
Value:
6

Eco–Volunteer UP Foundation

My experience was amazing I had such a wonderful time and honestly wish I could have am stayed longer. I hope someday to go back and volunteer again! I miss everyone there so much and am so blessed to have been able to go!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Nov 1, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

RCDP Nepal

RCDP arranged for my trip, from picking me up at the airport to getting me to community, and arranging for my lodging when I was back in Quito. The local coordinated, who is stationed at a school in Quito was very helpful and checked in on me on multiple occassions to make sure my volunteer work was appropriate. He also remembered when I would be in Quito and made sure that I had lodging.

Program:
Location: Ecuador
Posted: Oct 12, 2012
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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