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Integrated Learning Experiences- INLEX

About

Integrated Learning Experiences offers volunteer programs , group volunteering and internships in Guatemala, Costa Rica, Peru and Argentina. Our programs are customized to the participants to create great cultural experiences.

Website
www.inlexca.org
Founded
2004
Headquarters

Apartado postal 003
San Lucas, Sacatepequez
Guatemala

Reviews

Default avatar
Nele
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I spent almost four months in San Ramon, a great city in the centre of Costa Rica.
My experience overseas started with a two-weeks language course which helped me a lot to learn about the specifics of the Costa Rican Spanish, to settle in and to prepare myself for the voluntary program.
I actually had two projects which I enjoyed a lot. The first project is a women empowerment project and it is the perfect place if you want to bring in your own ideas. I worked in the marketing and administration part, but although being a typical office job it was great to support a NGO with the knowledge I gained during my studies. Additionally I could exchange a lot with all participants, we had great events and I learned a lot about life in Costa Rica.
My second project was in the city hall, more specifically in the sustainable city development and here I could learn a lot about the efforts Costa Rica is undertaking in order to achieve their sustainability goals. The biggest part of my work consisted of supporting workshops in primary schools about recycling and it was super interesting to work with the children and teach them about this topic.
But my experience wouldn’t have been this great without my lovely host family. I felt like a family member and could really dig into the Costa Rican family life. For me it is a really important part of the voluntary program to also have this experience!
And to close I have always been supported greatly by my host organisation in San Ramon. I felt welcomed from the very first day and we also did great trips together.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Don’t expect that everything is working like in your home country! You are in a new and different country and therefore things are working differently. Just take some time in the beginning to settle in and observe how everything is working. Don’t compare too much to your home country and just adapt a bit to the lifestyle, I’m sure it will be an unforgettable experience!
Default avatar
Thassia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I'm so happy to did this. It is a experince which i never forget. Thank you all for this.
I was in a kind of education project to support children who live in really poor areas and it was a pleasure to see how happy the children are in this project. It had a lot of work, in the morning i worked with the little ones and it was so so great. And in the afternoon i played with the older ones, for example soccer or other sports. It was really good to play and to see the children happy. For me it was the best decision in life and i want to do more in my future. Furthermore i had really good coordinaters in my procet who alwaysw support me. All in all it was a pleasure.
And the volunteering all in all was perfect, with my coordinaters and my spanisch lessons, it was so so good and i really miss it.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The moment when i visited a man in the poor area with my coordinaters. It was horrible to see the living conditions and to understand the whole history.
Nerve-racking isn't maybe the best fitting word, but it was really really sad.
Default avatar
Wes
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I highly recommend Inlex/CA, especially if you are considering a combination learn Spanish / volunteer experience.

From arrival at the airport in Guatemala City to my departure three weeks later, I was extremely well looked after. I never was concerned about how to get anywhere, how to do anything, or any other aspect of my stay, because the staff at Inlex/CA assisted me with every possible logistical detail and eventuality. The support is second-to-none.

One of the main reasons I chose Inlex/CA for my experience was because I wanted to learn Spanish, and I certainly was not disappointed. During my three weeks, I truly had an authentic immersion experience. With the support of the Inlex/CA staff, my incredible host family, an amazing one-on-one Spanish teacher (a total of 60 hours), and the staff at El Centro Sabor y Gracia, my Spanish went from beginner to advanced in only three weeks.

The volunteering aspect of the programme was also rewarding. I was able to teach English to a small group of primary (age 5 - 8) students, and another group of junior (age 9 to 12) students at the Centro Sabor y Gracia in Santo Tomas. The director and staff of this special project were also very supportive, and the children, although energetic and with a wide variety of learning needs, were responsive and appreciative of the time I spent with them.

The locale (Santa Lucia, Santo Tomas, and Antigua - the #1 tourist destination / jump-off point in Guatemala) was small enough to present an authentic picture of daily life in Guatemala, but it also provided close access to many popular trips around the entire country.

Inlex/CA really did give me the experience I was looking for; it effectively catered to both aspects (volunteering and learning Spanish) of my three-week "holiday."

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Climbing Pacaya Volcano was absolutely incredible. It is an absolute must if you visit this part of Guatemala.
Default avatar
Andrea
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I was lucky enough to volunteer at a local clinic in Peru. I was really scared coming into this, because I had never traveled out of the country by myself. I'm really glad that I completed this trip, and feel like a stronger person coming out of it. My time here has not only confirmed that I'm on the right path, but has taught me a lot about the type of doctor I hope to be. I learned how to empathize with patients when you deliver bad news, and how to celebrate when you deliver good news. One thing I realized is how taxing it is on your mental health to be with sick patients all the time, but the doctors were constantly giving me advice and helping me through some of my first times with patients. The clinic opened their doors to me, allowing me to learn and thrive more than I could have imagines. From assisting in surgeries to perfecting my Spanish, no textbook or lecture will be able to teach me things I learned first hand in Peru. This experience has taught me to take risks and try new things; find my own path. I’m really excited to take everything I’ve learned and put it into practice, both in my personal and professional life.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I was able to assist in a hysterectomy with a lady who had an 11cm tumor on her uterus. 11cm seems small, but on average a uterus is about 7cm.
Read my full story
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Asheigh
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience in Guatemala was exceptional; I learned about the culture, the language, and the amazing people who live here. Throughout my trip, I was challenged with several obstacles that advanced my ability to adapt, problem-solve, and be patient. With the support of Alex, my host family, and the school system I was able to face these challenges and still progress as a student. I feel that leaving here I will have gained so much. The trip was so much fun and I will miss all my new friends dearly, especially the young children I got to meet. I believe that they taught me just as much as I taught them and that is something I will hold onto forever. Ultimately, this trip was an extraordinary learning experience and an opportunity that I am grateful that I got to attend.

What would you improve about this program?
I would make sure that there is wifi in the houses, just because some of the people traveling here are students and they need to do their homework.

Programs

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Andrea Villanueva

Andrea is a first generation college student and a Global Health major at the University of California, San Diego. She is a proud Latina and a member of Chicanos for Community Medicine on campus; her passion is health education and healthcare policies.

Andrea Villanueva

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I wanted to go somewhere that I could practice my Spanish, but also get hands-on experience. I also wanted to go somewhere that I had never been before. This program would give me the opportunity to get exposed to real-life experiences in the medical field. It would also help fulfill my graduation requirement at my school.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

The program arranged my placement at the clinic I was working at. They also arranged my host family, two meals each day, and transportation from the airport. My program coordinator would check in on me and take me out to visit the city. The only things I had to organize on my own were flights, transportation to the airport, and any tourist activites I wanted to do.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

I wish I had spent some more time being preparing emotionally. The culture shock was very real for me, and was something that I had not put a lot of thought into. My biggest piece of advice though would be to not be afraid to travel alone! At first I was very scared, and I wish I had spent more time in the beginning thinking about the fun I was having.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

My day would start off by opening the triage room, greeting patients, and preparing the examination room. The doctor would then come in and we'd start calling in patients. On an average day we'd see anywhere from 20-30 patients. The days consisted of shadowing doctors and helping them with their examinations. In between patients, I would have the opportunity to ask the doctor questions about the particular case or the healthcare in Peru. I assisted with translation for the doctors, and had the opportunity to help in surgeries as well.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

I think the most challenging part by far was how difficult it is on your mental health to be seeing sick patients every day. Sometimes you have to deliver bad news and it's emotionally taxing. Luckily, the doctors were always there to give me advice or talk to me about how they get through the days. It was great to speak with people who understood and had gone through the same emotional rollercoaster.

What was the best piece of advice that was given to you?

The doctors gave me some great pieces of advice as I continue my educational career: the key to being a successful doctor is the ability to empathize with your patients; treat each one as if they're your mother, father, sibling, or child.

Our job is to bring peace of mind to patients, peace of mind to live happy, healthy lives.

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Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Alex Perez

Job Title
Volunteer Coordinator
 Alex Perez

What is your favorite travel memory?

I once traveled to Costa Rica without much money, and thought because of this, it would be a limited experience. While there, I met many wonderful people, visited beautiful places, and ate well.

From this, I realized that it is important to travel with a positive attitude and open mind, and take every day as it comes.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I am happy to be able to meet many people through what I do. It's incredible to think of all of the things that you can learn when you are exposed to so many different people, and I thoroughly enjoy putting participants in touch with others in my country.

I believe that when knowledge and culture are shared, we are helping people to understand and share more than just information.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

A participant named Britt was assigned to work in a women's empowerment project. During her time there, she met a family (mother and four children) who were living in very poor conditions without a home of their own.

Britt decided to begin fundraising amongst local companies, other families, and even her own family in New York. Through this, she was able to build a nice home for this struggling family.

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose an environmental program because I like nature and believe it is an important cause to support.

These type of projects demand a lot of initiative, and require participants to be proactive and creative, and I think this experience would be a good measure of my personal strengths and weaknesses.

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

We are a respectful team and responsible with our clients, and offer personalized and unique experiences. Our atmosphere in the office as well as in our host locations align well with the reality of each country.

We're happy to hear when our participants learn important lessons from their time spent abroad with us.

More Interviews