EcuaExperience: Pre-Medical and Volunteer Programs

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Help, Learn and Discover is a student-driven volunteer organization that offers four week Pre-medical and Volunteer programs in Ecuador. These programs provide students with three main opportunities: to Help those less fortunate, to Learn first-hand knowledge about the medical field, and to Discover the amazing diversity of Ecuador. In the Help component, students use fundraised money to participate in a specific large-scale volunteer project. For example, in 2012 we built 21 homes for underprivileged families in a rural community called Pallatanga.

Students work alongside local families and are able to see the homes develop while integrating themselves into the community. In the optional Learn component, students shadow leading doctors and health professionals through eight different wards in a hospital setting.

We conclude the program with the Discover component, where students embark on an 11-day tour through the jungles, rainforests, highlands and beaches of Ecuador.

Questions & Answers

Most of our students are 18+. However, we have had students under 18 that need their parents to co-sign their contract.


based on 226 reviews
  • Impact 9.7
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 15 of 226


This trip has impacted me in so different ways and I 100% recommend it to anyone who is adventurous and wants to get first hand experience in the healthcare profession of their choice. The first component of this trip (which was the LEARN portion) I got to watch crazy surgeries and shadow interns. These med rotations helped me solidify my decision of pursuing a career in a medical field. The second component to this trip was the HELP portion. During this week of volunteering I got to help the locals build houses with the materials that we had bought with the money we fundraised. The connections we built with the locals were so heartwarming and it was moving to see people who have so little be so happy. This really gave me another perspective on life and I realized that the little things in life don't matter. Finally the last part of the trip (the DISCOVER portion) was amazing. It's unbelievable how many activities we got to do. Horseback riding at the base of a volcano was breathtaking. Moreover, I met so many genuine and inspiring people. I am so grateful to have gone on this trip!

Yes, I recommend this program

Best trip of my life

This trip was life changing. I got to explore so much, and take part in amazing activities that I could never do at home. The pre medical experience was also very interesting, and I definitely learned a lot of skills. I made some of my best friends on this trip, and I fell in love with the country of Ecuador. The program leaders were some of the kindest, down to earth people, and the locals of Ecuador were incredibly welcoming and made me feel very at home. I would definitely do this trip again.

Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing Experience!

Signing up for Ecuaexperience was by far one of the best decisions I have ever made. We got to travel around such beautiful areas, help build houses in a deserving community, and partake in medical rotations at the hospitals in Quito. The medical rotations were amazing and helped solidify my desire to enter into a career in health care. Building houses in Pujili was such a humbling experience that I will never forget. The families are all so kind and grateful despite having so little. Every day I spent there I became more and more appreciative of the life I live. It’s difficult to choose which part of the trip was the most rewarding but I think one of the best parts was meeting so many new friends and creating so many new memories with them that I will never forget. I was quite nervous to go on the trip alone but by the second day I already felt like family with everyone on the trip. Ecuaexpereince is such a phenomenal company to travel with and you won’t regret signing up for this trip!

Yes, I recommend this program

Such a fun experience!

This was my first time traveling out of the country with my friend and it was such an amazing experience. I heard about them from a classmate back in high school. Juan and Jose are very attentive and listened to all of our concerns. Throughout the trip they provided us with ongoing support. The medical rotations were amazing and I have learned so much. Not only that, I have also made sooo many friends whom of which I still keep in touch with. Ecuador is an amazing place to travel to. Its various terrains and wildlife are so interesting to see. HLD took us to some of the most beautiful places I have ever seen in my entire life! The accommodation they provided was also great. Helping out with building houses for the local community was also an eye opening experience. It is nice to know that I made an impact by going on this trip.

How can this program be improved?
I would've loved to try more authentic food in Ecuador but I understand that a lot of the people in my group weren't too adventurous/comfortable with eating food other than hamburgers and fries. I would've also loved more support from the leaders prior to the trip regarding the fundraising aspects of the program.
Yes, I recommend this program

Change You Life & The Lives Of Others

I had always wanted to volunteer abroad but there were so many different programs and countries to choose from I didn't know which ones were worth it/ which were safe. I wanted to volunteer to help others but I also wanted the travelling aspect without breaking the bank. I wanted to meet new people and make new memories. That is EXACTLY what I got with HLD!

Volunteering in Pujili was an amazing experience. We built houses alongside the families who will get to live in them once they are completed. The connection that was made alongside these locals was breathtaking. For people who have so little they were easily the happiest, most grateful and welcoming people I had ever met. They gave me a new perspective on how I live my life that I took back with me once I got back to Canada. The goodbyes at the end of my trip was one of the hardest things I had to do because of the bond that formed between the volunteers and locals. But I would do it all over to see them again.

My trip was only 18 days but I felt like I saw so many amazing places while I was there. From hotsprings to waterfall rappelling to the Amazon rainforest hike and everything in between the travels took my breath away every time. Each resort was safe and comfortable plus delicious food.

Lastly, I just want to say the one thing that surprised me the most was the AMAZING friendships you create between the other volunteers and leaders of HLD. We all come from different areas of North America yet even months later many of us are still best friends. It is so easy to connect with the people you are travelling with. You go horseback riding together, sing on the bus, dance at the bar, stay up for hours in the hostel talking and listening to music, digging holes and moving bricks. These are people I will be friends with my whole life and that is thanks to this phenomenal program.

I highly recommend doing your research on HLD! I would go again in a heartbeat.
Here are two videos one of my friend's did from our trip in June! (one is of volunteer sights and the other is some travels we did). If you have any questions feel free to reach out on my Facebook (Madison Chalmers)!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Excellent Experience

It was an great blend of adventure, volunteering, and medical experience. Everything was well thought out for the benefit of the kids in the program. The trip goes by really fast, which is mostly due to the riveting itinerary from the start. The staff members were all really kind and engaging and made us all feel really comfortable and safe. The communities we helped were so humble and appreciative of the work we did, which made it seem super valuable. The medical rounds were stimulating and confirmed or denied many of the students desire for entering the medical world.

Yes, I recommend this program

HLD Ecuador

I loved the help, learn, and discover aspects of this program. Helping was the best experience; I really enjoyed how much interaction we got to have with the community. I learned and discovered so much not only during the medical rotations and touring but during volunteering as well. I feel that everything was very well planned out and exceeded my expectations. I have learned so much, from seeing how people make money everyday, how they live, but most importantly seeing how hard they work for what seems like almost nothing but NEVER complaining and always doing the most for others and their families has been the most humbling learning experience.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Paw Law

Experience of a Lifetime

This trip was one of the most incredible things i have ever done. From the people i met to the experiences we shared and the things i learned, my experience with the HLD far exceeded my expectations. HLD offers such a unique way of experiencing the beauty of Ecuador as it allows you to gain so much more out of it than you can ever imagine.

The LEARN part of the trip, we got to spend a week in Quito shadowing doctors by visiting different departments and actually standing right there inside the operating rooms watching surgeries! To this day i still am in awe of the fact that i got to stand right next to the surgeon while he operated on a patient. It’s an experience unlike any other, especially for aspiring doctors. They were just very helpful in answering questions, the knowledge i learned from them and the experience in Med rotations has definitely given me the motivation and completely solidified my decision in pursuing a career in Medicine.

The HELP portion was definitely the most life changing, as you’re in the community building houses for the local people who cannot afford proper housing themselves. It is sometimes hard, physical work as we scrap the houses so we'd have a smooth surface to paint on but at the end of the day you finished with the most rewarding feeling that we’re actually physically making a difference in other people’s lives. To see the result of our work at the end of the day, and to know that all of our fundraiser money is going directly toward people who truly need it is amazing. We worked alongside the locals and play with the children, we quickly built strong, lasting bonds with them, making it very hard to say goodbye when we had to leave. It feels good knowing that we had a little part in helping them build a future for themselves.

The DISCOVER part of the trip, which was spread throughout the whole month, helped keep us relaxed and sane, as we traveled to some of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen and got to do some pretty exciting things. From hiking in the jungle to waterfall rappelling to surfing to tubing down a river through the Amazon, the month was packed with so many exciting things that I look back and wonder how we managed to fit all of it into only four weeks. What really made this trip for me was getting to do all these incredible things with some of the best people I’ve ever met. I come into the group not knowing anyone and left with some of the greatest friends.

If you are unsure about whether or not this is the trip for you, just take a leap of faith, it might be the best thing you did for yourself.

Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience

Help Learn and Discover was an amazing experience. I have an inexpressible gratitude for being able to go the trip. If you love traveling, experiencing new landscapes and communities, and making new friends - you can do this all with HL&D and get more out of it than you expect. Jose and Juan, alongside their team of leaders, do an incredible job of organizing every day so that students get to experience their country in the best way possible.

My favorite part was volunteering. I wish it was longer! I went for 18 days and volunteered for 4. Our group did not want to stop working when Olivia called us for lunch. We dug holes and worked inside the houses scraping, sweeping, priming, and painting. It is an eye-opening experience for everyone. The community we worked with was very inspirational. They worked very hard and made us feel welcome every minute. It felt amazing to see our team working there and actually working on the houses and how grateful the community was to have us there.

To be completely transparent, the trip is busy. Like Jose mentioned - if you want to sleep in and drink wine and eat pizza, you have chosen the wrong place to travel. But if you are thinking about going on this trip and seem to love every aspect of what HL&D offers, don't hesitate! It offers so much more to those who will appreciate every moment of it. Ecuador is a beautiful and welcoming country and the program is filled with so much fun! And being with like-minded people just amplifies the whole experience. You enter as strangers but when helping, learning, and discovering in Ecuador together, you leave as friends with such a unique bond its hard to describe!!!

Yes, I recommend this program
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Being outside of my comfort zone had never felt so amazing!

"HELP, LEARN & DISCOVER", a company name that simply describes an incredible experience. I helped, learned, and discovered in the 28-day Pre-Medical Program,

"Help": Helping began even before the program began, I learnt how to fundraise on my own and as apart of a team in order to build homes for the less fortunate families in Ecuador. There was so much support from the company and it's leaders! As a group, we then were able to see exactly where and what the fundraised money went towards, and physically help build homes for the most generous and deserving families in Pujili.

"Learn": There is an endless list of things I learned on this trip. I was able to watch open surgeries and perform various medical procedures, such as stitching and taking blood! The medical experiences were indescribable. Not only did I learn medical knowledge, I learnt so much about myself and life on these 28 days. I learnt how to be okay with discomfort and change. I learnt how to see things from another perspective, and to always be grateful for where I am and I what I have.

"Discover": going into this program, I knew very little about Ecuador. I was in for a pleasant surprise, we travelled all over Ecuador, experiencing the different biodiversity and climate changes from place to place. It's an absolutely breathtaking place to be, from the great food, the great people to the great culture. There will always be a place in my heart for Ecuador and HLD. I recommend this program to EVERYONE!

Yes, I recommend this program
selfie with snapchat filter

It is going to change your life too!

If you want to live an experience of a lifetime, it's for you. This program is going to bring a lot to your life. An experience refreshing, amazing who is going to take you out of your comfort zone.
Every moment of that trip, i was surrounded by wonderful people who had and are still having an impact in my life.

Starting with our medical rotation in the 28 days pre-MED program, i met some MED school students that were leading the rotation and they taught us a lot about medicine with some class, some demonstration and some practice too by sharing their knowledge with us.

Also, we went to help the Pujili community by giving them a place to live and they welcome us like if we were part of their own family, their unconditional love for us changed my point of view about life.

There were a lot of activities organized for us everyday and each of them was different and exciting. They make me do things I would probably not do with what we called our real life because i can only think about a dream that came true when i'm thinking about this trip.

In some we learned , we helped and we discovered this amazing country. Now it's your turn to live it , tell it and share it so everybody can live this amazing experience

Thanks to all the organisation , in particular Juan and Josee

Yes, I recommend this program
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Pre-Medical Ecua Experience

This program offered me a trip of a lifetime! I had signed up in hopes of receiving a new experience, especially in relation to the medical field, and I received just that and more. From the first day I arrived, I felt welcome. I met many amazing people and I got an even better experience than what I was expecting. Even within our first week, when visiting the city of Pujili, I felt even more welcomed by the community members there as they greeted us with food and dancing. As we started our tour Ecuador, I had enjoyed every single sight and took every single picture. We got to participate in a wide range of activities that I would never be able to do in my hometown (i.e., horseback riding, water repelling, tubing, etc.). The touring part for me was all worth it! Then on to medical rotations, we had classes on Internal Medicine, abdominal pain etc. I woke up every single morning excited to go learn more about something I hadn't known, and I was even more excited that we could apply it to the patients, acting as if we were actually doctors. I felt like this trip has given me so much experience and insight for what I can use in the future and I definitely recommend this trip to anyone who is interested!

Yes, I recommend this program
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One of the Most Important Things I Have Done In My Life

This trip is special. From start to finish I felt like I was at home. All of the people I met were extremely welcoming and very supportive.
Starting with the medical portion of the trip for the individuals who are on the pre-med portion. The experience in the ER and OR, as well as learning some fundamental skills was something that I have found of extreme value in bettering my understanding of the realities of medicine, as well as the amazing interactions with local medical students. Every question I had was answered with clarity and in depth, and I felt that when I left the trip that I got as much out of the time as I possibly could have.
Then the volunteer portion of the trip. The community that we worked with was inspirational. Working beside the locals on this trip was an absolutely amazing experience. Their hard work and determination were something that I had never seen before. They shared their families with us and truly made us feel like we were part of their family as well. It was very difficult to say goodbye to these people, and it was so very special to see them in their new homes.
The exploration portion of the trip was incredible as well. You have to see these sights to understand the indescribable beauty of Ecuador. It was very special to travel through the Andes, to the cost, and to the Amazon and do incredible activities along the way. This portion still feels like a dream.
From beginning to end I felt among friends. I am still talking to the people I went on the trip with and I feel so thankful that I had the opportunity to go on this trip.
I would recommend 10/10 to anybody considering this type of trip.

Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable Experience

I traveled to Ecuador with EcuaExperience in the summer of 2015 for the 18-day pre-med program and I am certain that I will never forget my time there. Learning through live surgeries and mentorship from medical students in the medical rotations, coupled with exposure to life in Quito and working with peers to construct houses, provided for an entirely unique experience that left me wishing I had signed up for the 28-day trip by the time I was already heading home.

The highlight of my experience in Ecuador came when we were given the chance to interact with and entertain members of the refugee camp who had lost their homes due to the, then recent, earthquake. I will undoubtedly carry these memories with me for the rest of the foreseeable future.

Overall, I was given the chance to leave comfort zone for the majority of this trip and it has had a substantial impact on my development as an individual. I highly recommend EcuaExperience to anyone who is looking to learn, be challenged, and work towards their personal development.

How can this program be improved?
At this time there is nothing I can think of that would have enhanced my experience in Ecuador.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Best Month of My Life

This trip was such an amazing and eye-opening experience. The accommodations in Quito were fantastic and the staff were very kind and approachable. Medical rotations were led by Med school students who taught us how to properly diagnose patients, answer any questions we had during the operations and directed many workshops.

Traveling to the building site and working with the community to finish the houses that everyone had been working hard on was so rewarding when they were finally given away to the families. The community had been looking forward to that day for such a long time and I was so honored to be a part of it to help them achieve their goal.

We experienced something new every day and each day was full of activities. One day we're horseback riding in the Andes and the next, we're tubing in the amazon. These are memories I will hold on to for the rest of my life.

Thank you, Juan and Jose for such an amazing experience!

Yes, I recommend this program

About Ecuaexperience

Help, Learn and Discover is an innovative organization offering educational programs in Ecuador, South America. We strive to offer a fulfilling life experience which combines helping those less fortunate with learning about a specific academic area...