I had been to Ecuador and Ghana with Global Volunteers before. A colleague had recommended Global Volunteers, and I found their application process was straightforward, the organization in the host country well extremely well organized and supportive of the volunteers.
Why did you pick this program?
What is the most important thing you learned abroad?
People everywhere I've been are doing their best with the resources available. Most people are dedicated to what they're doing, work really hard, and have surprising talents and skills.
What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
Seriously consider Global Volunteers. The office is well organized, the program in the host countries is well organized, and the people work really hard to make the volunteers comfortable, safe, and well fed. I especially had a great sense of accomplishment working with the team in Barlad, Romania.
What was the hardest part about going abroad?
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
Before I left, I was contacted by an occupational therapist who had been with the program in Barlad, Romaina in March. She had been working with a young girl there who had been born with deformities of her arms and legs, so that she was dependent on others for just about everything, including eating. The occupational therapist (OT) took some measurements of the girls residual arms, and working with another OT at the Shriner's Hospital, was able to make splints for the girl to hold a spoon or a magic marker.
This OT sent me the splints, I carried them in my luggage, and with the help of the staff of Global Volunteers, the girl was able to feed herself once the food was set up, and she was able to color like the other kids there. The team not only consisted of the people who were there with me at the time, but those who had been there before and even members of the health care community that had never met this little girl in Barlad, Romania.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Be flexible and open to whatever experiences are before you. It probably will be different from what you expected before you left home, but it will amaze you nonetheless.