Hospital and Childcare volunteer

Impact: 9
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Value: 10
Safety: 10

I traveled to Ecuador in Summer, 2012 to volunteer with Eco Volunteer Up for 4 weeks. I enrolled in this program before I started graduate school in clinical/health psychology, so I was interested in working in a medical environment and improving my Spanish. I was very fortunate in that I was able to experience a number of different situations. Maria was very responsive to my needs/interests.

For the first week, I assisted a doctor in internal medicine at a hospital in Sangolqui, taking blood pressures, transcribing prescriptions, and practicing some medical terms in Spanish. We also did rounds of the inpatient unit and the emergency room. The second week, I observed a psychologist (my primary field of interest), which gave me a lot of insight about cultural differences in healthcare. The third week, I worked at a daycare. For my final week, I assisted in the emergency room at the local Centro de salud (in Conocoto), which was very close to my homestay. While there, I was also able to spend time in vaccines, learning about policies, etc. All of these were great experiences, and I only regret that I feel that I was getting more out of them than I could put into them. In all cases, I would say it was extremely helpful to be able to speak Spanish, but everyone was willing to work with meto improve my Spanish and practice speaking.

My homestay family was great, and I was in a really great location - close to bus stops, walking distance to the Centro de salud, and I felt very safe in the neighborhood. I was not in the city of Quito, but rather in a "suburb" called Conocoto, which I preferred. It was easy to catch a bus or cab ($10-12) downtown, from which you can take a bus to go on other adventures (e.g., climb Cotopaxi, visit Mindo, etc). I highly recommend hiking Cotopaxi!

The staff at Eco Ecuador Up were very helpful and responsive to questions/concerns I had. Maria took a lot of time giving me directions, how to ride the bus, and helping me transition to other positions (e.g., the daycare center) just because I expressed an interest. She was very flexible with my travel schedule as well, and it was great to have a ride from the airport so I didn't have to figure out how to take a shuttle/bus to my homestay family after a long day of travel.

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would