A great experience!

Impact: 8
Support: 9
Fun: 8
Value: 9
Safety: 8

My recent three-week stay in Colombia was a conclusive experience on many levels. Beginning with the comprehensive staff, Monica, Susi and Monika are passionate and committed, and are very helpful in helping you meet your goals. The appartment is situated in a very safe neighborhood, which is great by itself but ultimately feels a little seperated from the real Colombian culture. The food was excellent, and a great variety of restaurants are but a short walk away. Some maturity is needed from the volunteers however, as there is a curfew and certain rules that most people will have no problem respecting (ie no drugs in the appartement).

The program itself (construction in my case) was located in Soacha, a large working-class city/suburb that made me feel in a completely different country, with its Latin music blasting on the streets, small bakeries, and traditionnal restaurants. I do have to point out that teaching/construction in Soacha implies a 2-hour bus ride to get there, which wasn't ideal at times.

There is always the possibility to try the other programs at any given day, if you are flexible. Some people signed up for teaching, but ended up caring for the elderly (abuelitas), while some preferred variety. My advice is to stick to 1-2 programs, since you can really get attached to the beneficiaries and better understand their issues.

Monica and her staff will often propose various fun activities and outings, which are entertaining and give you a better feel of Colombian life. Bogota is a vibrant and dynamic city to live in, and there is always something to try!

As a volunteer, I signed up with IVHQ and Emerging Voices to discover a new country, meet new people, practice a third language, and most importantly help the needy and create a deeper bond with some people (be it children, homeless, elderly, veterans, families, etc). At the end of the day, I was very satisfied to realize that I successfully met all these goals.

I would definately recommend this program!

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would