New world, new perspectives!

Ratings
Overall
8
Impact: 7
Support: 8
Fun: 8
Value: 8
Safety: 10
Review

I spent less than 2 months in Cordoba, Argentina, volunteering in the children's hospital Niño Jesus (in the medical program) and in the girls' jail and foster home (human rights program). A part from the practical sides of my experience, it's been certainly life-changing for me, I was blocked in that moment of life, couldn't get ahead with my studies or figure out what else I'd want to do. This cultural exchange (for me it's mostly this aspect I value after 4 years) allowed me to shift perspectives on the world and on my life, and helped me to move on. Besides blessing me with incomparable longterm friendships: I'm regularly in contact with my host-mother who has become like an overseas aunt to me and I have to dear friends that I still meet up with once in a while. But of course the human aspect is also a question of good luck, as always.

As far as the volunteering work is concerned I have mixed feelings: the medical "internship" was not so exciting for me, coming from medical school most things weren't new to me and the aspect I loved most was the interaction with patients, observing the social and cultural habits of the families. I wasn't able to do anything practical, but that is normal in hospitals where nobody knows you.
Therefore I'd recommend the medical program mostly for whom has just graduated high school and is curious about the environment. Just know that you'll only get to watch.

That's also the reason for which I especially loved the work with the girls, both in the foster home and in juvie: we organized games to play, dance sessions, we taught the older ones how to write a CV and we always brought Coke and snacks. I loved spending time with them , learning about their stories and struggles and thinking that I had made their afternoon a bit brighter.

Regarding the ProjectsAbroad team I must say that they were all welcoming and helpful in explaining public transportation, how to get around from our home to our "workplace" and they were available at any hour of the day if we were having problems or doubts.
(I spent my first night at the airport because my tutor got my arrival date wrong on his agenda - but as I said, you need luck and you don't always get some. I didn't get much sleep but nothing bad happened to me, he was dreadfully sorry, over a hot cup of coffee we had a laugh about it and I had my first good story to tell).
Once a week they organized a "social night" (dinner, bowling, cooking class, etc) which was great to get to know volunteers of other programs and get to know the nightlife of the city a little better.
These get-togethers were also a perfect occasion to plan our 1 or 2-day bus trips for the weekends. In those occasions I've been to Buenos Aires (tango), Mendoza (winetasting), Salta (trip to the salt desert) , horse-riding in La Cumbre, hiking in Villa General Belgrano - with the night bus you can actually get quite far.

In conclusion I'd like to urge everybody who has the possibility to travel far, be curious, work with locals, talk to all kinds of people, challenge yourself and overcome your worries about what you could or couldn't be able to do. You have to give it a chance in order to find out! Whatever may happen and whomever you encounter, you'll always go home richer, more openminded and closer to being a "citizen of the world", what we should all aspire to become these days, at least in my opinion.

Good luck and enjoy your adventure!

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed
2015