EcuaExperience: Pre-Medical and Volunteer Programs

Video and Photos

paint
paint
ecuador
ecuador
Medical Rotation
Medical Rotation
Pujili community
Pujili community
friends for life
friends for life
OR Rotation in PAS hospital in Quito
OR Rotation in PAS hospital in Quito
Giant Tortoise that is native to the Galapagos
Giant Tortoise that is native to the Galapagos
Volunteer site in Pujili
Volunteer site in Pujili

About

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.

Reviews

97%
based on 231 reviews
  • Impact 9.7
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.2
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 151 - 165 of 231
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Alex
5/10
No, I don't recommend this program

If it wasn´t for the med portion...

This trip did a really good job of the medical portion of the trip each student we worked with was extremely proffesional and we were given amazing oppurtunities and great experiences. The rest of the trip I was significantly less satisfied with, as opposed to a selfless culture of volunteering it seemed more focused on the volunteers having fun than on actually helping the people. Almost a white saviour complex was developed as opposed to actual relationships with the people. The cost was also rather high for the places we stayed in and what we ate, it seemed rather evident to most people that the company was making alot of money off of us. The staff also seemed a little confused as to when things were happening and never really seemed on top of things, there were constant changes to the schedule and some things were just skipped. The people I met on the trip however were generally pretty kind and awesome. Overall I´d say the trip was alright, but could use significant improvement.

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John
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Ecuador volunteering!

This program is super amazing, it´s difficult to pick my favourite part. The people I met were absolutely incredible, the volunteer was super heart warming, and the med rotations were absolutely phenomenol. The problem with this trip is the cost, for $3,700 you get to stay in places that are probably and average of $10 a night, and the meals are also super cheap. If you love to meet amazing people, and you really want to see some amazing things in an Ecuadorian hospital I highly recommend this program. If you want to do this to travel, and even volunteer, then I would definitely recommend a different program. All in all I am super glad I took part in this amazing program, and the people and things are amazing, however this program is not without its faults.

What would you improve about this program?
Could be more organized at times, and a budget to see where the money we pay goes would be great too!
Default avatar
ccater
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Pre-Med

This trip was one of the most amazing experiences of my life. I got to meet so many interesting people, form the leaders and tour guides, to the other volunteers, to the community members in Camarones. One of my favourite things about the trip was how much we really got to interact with and get to know the families that we were building the houses for. I will never forget the incredible people that we got to help out that week.

The hospital rotations were also such a great experience. The med tutours are awesome and getting to observe surgeries so closely is an opportunity that is very rare to get as an undergrad student. At first I wasn't sure how I felt about having a case study as it was summer and my break from school work. However, it ended up being really interesting and beneficial and I actually really enjoyed doing it.

We also got to travel around and see a lot of Ecuador. My favourite stop would have to be Canoa where we got surfing lessons, spent some time in town, and had The Amazing Race. I was travelling with such an amazing group of people, so everywhere we went was always so much fun.

What would you improve about this program?
Before leaving for the trip I really had no idea what to expect. I found we were given fairly little information prior to getting to Ecuador. I wasn't in one of the main cities so I fundraised alone and didn't have any group meetings. I didn't meet anyone from the trip until I was on my way to Ecuador so I felt a little uninformed. Once I got to Ecuador however, I felt like everything was run smoothly and I had no real concerns. It would have been nice to at least have been given some sort of confirmation that someone was going to be at the airport in Ecuador to meet me once I got there.
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GabiK
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Absolutely Amazing Experience

This is absolutely a once in a lifetime kind of trip where you not only learn about a new culture and people, but also about yourself. I am a biology nut, so at he beinnin. of my trip I was most looking forward to traveling to the Galapagos and the jungle. And both of these were absolutely amazing. The Galapagos are the most unique place on the earth, where animals are not as scared o humans and the ecosystem is beatifully preserved. From snorkeling with sea turtles to hanging out in gorgeous Tortuga bay, this place is like nothing else. And tubing down a calm river to get to your hotel in the jungle is just really fun. But as much as I loved these places, by the end of the trip my favourite time had been spent building houses in the small village of Camarones. There is nohig like the feeling of helping out another person and the fact that tou are there physically immersed in the community is amazing. You get to work, play and even dance alongside the villagers an feel how much your effort is truly appreciated. This trip not only shows you more of he world and teaches you about yourself, but also builds friendships and connections. Everything from meals and accomodations to the experiences is planned and always good quality. Overall would highly reccomend this trip to anyone looking to broaden their horizons.

What would you improve about this program?
My one criticism is that it is a bit disorganized before departure, but once you get to Ecuador everything is sorted out and the trip itself is relaxing and fun.
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EChen
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Experience of a Lifetime!

Going on this trip has definitely been one of the most life-changing experiences of my life. Not only did I gain valuable medical education from my week of med rotations (where I got to observe hernia repairs, knee reconstruction surgery, C-sections, live births, hysterectomy, etc), but I was also able to become more well-rounded as an individual. Everything we did during the discover portion of the trip, such as waterfall rappelling, jungle hiking, tubing down rivers, and surfing, taught me something new about myself and helped me learn to appreciate nature so much more. The most amazing part of my experience was the volunteer portion. Not only was it rewarding to be able to provide families in need with sustainability and to have such a positive impact their lives, but it was also heartwarming to be able to share this experience with the families, community, and my HLD family. I could not have asked for a better experience and will always be so grateful for the amazing second family I was able to meet on this trip.

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Kevin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Great experience!

This trip was a great experience. All our days were busy and I was able to learn a lot.
From volunteering, to touring the cities and doing med rotations, I learned a lot about the culture, the people and also myself. It was a good balance of socializing and also doing hard work at the volunteer site. The country is beautiful and this trip definitely was able to show all the great things that the country had to offer.

What would you improve about this program?
More time at the volunteer site!
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July
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Trip of a lifetime

This was a fantastic trip that allowed me to see so much of Ecuador with new friends! Everyone on the trip was great including the leaders. The food and accommodations were good and the volunteer site was a great experience.

What would you improve about this program?
I would change the cost but that is a hard thing to change ! Overall it was great!
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MaricelyE.
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Ecuaexperience

This trip was truly a once in a lifetime experience. I was lucky enough to be a part of the pre med program in July. The first part of my trip was at the volunteer site which was actually my favourite part of this whole program. There are really no words to explain how amazing it was to meet the families, play with their children and work on the houses with them. The work was hard but everyone was always laughing and joking around I would usually forget how tired I was. Throughout the week we got to play soccer against their local team and they threw us a goodbye party. The people at the volunteer site were what made this trip unforgettable for me.
The next part of my trip was the medical rotations. I am honestly so glad that I had the opportunity to experience this because it made me realize how much I want a career in the medical field. Usually I have a tough time waking up in the morning but knowing that I had med rotations I would wake up right away. Everyday I learned something or saw something new. The med tutors were great at explaining what we were seeing and were always happy to answer any questions. I really appreciated how interactive the whole experience was.
The final part was the discover portion which was so much fun. We got to visit so many different areas of Ecuador. My favourite part was Canoa which is where I got to do the amazing race, surf lessons and paragliding all in one day! Throughout this time I got to go waterfall rappelling, tubing, hiking through the jungle, visit a chocolate factory and stand on the Equator line. I would easily recommend this program to all of my friends because I know they are guaranteed to have an amazing time.

What would you improve about this program?
A little bit more organization would have been nice, sometimes I felt that we were waiting around but overall no complaints.
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Amanda
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Fantastic Program!

I can absolutely say that this program lived up to every expectation I had and more. It was a life changing month filled with new adventures every day. From waterfall rappelling to hiking through the amazon, each day was filled with something new and exciting. The volunteer portion of the trip was incredible as well, it was so rewarding to spend time working for families that were so grateful for what we were giving them. It is such an amazing feeling to know that you are working hard to make a difference in another person's life. I was in the biomed group so I also travelled to Galapagos Islands, which was one of the greatest weeks of my life. I loved the water activities such as snorkelling and kayaking. At the end of the month, my group participated in hospital rotations, which was an incredible learning experience. It was amazing to be so involved and up close to surgeries in the hospital. Overall, this program was really incredible and I will always remember the impact it made on my life!

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Diego
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

HLD- Amazing Experience

At first i was hesitant regarding the trip. Financially it can be a bit demanding and seemed a little disorganized. After arriving however, everything exceeded my expectations and had one of the best experiences of my life.

From the learning aspect, the ability to have such a close up look into the medical field was mind blowing. Everyone was extremely knowledgeable and very helpful. It was also a very fulfilling trip with the ability to help in the community. Physically helping with the construction of houses was rewarding.

Not only focused on helping and learning, we were also given a great opportunity to see the country and experience the culture first hand.

What would you improve about this program?
Little disorganized at times and can be frustrating trying to get ahold of the company from a different country.

I think that a little more organization when it comes to travel arrangements and the use of time in different locations would be something to change
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Anna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

May 2013 Ecuaexperience Vollunteer

This was the trip of a lifetime and a wonderful opportunity to learn and grow on an individual level as well as gain valuable life experience. Not only did I learn more about the world I live in but, I also had the opportunity to meet a lot of fantastic people both on the trip (students, staff and guides) and in the local village of Camarones.
It's challenging to find one main highlight for the trip as each component provided a very different and amazing aspect of the Help, Learn & Discover program. The volunteer site was such a powerful experience for myself and spending 12 days there was very worthwhile. The gratitude, love and kindness of the people there is overwhelmingly beautiful. It was also wonderful to see the progress on the homes day by day and see the difference
that everyone's hard work made.

The Learn component is geared towards students who are in the bio/pre-med program. Although I have not done this program I would highly recommend it to any student who has ever thought of becoming a doctor. It provides very practical experience and you will finish the program knowing if that is the career path for you.

The Discover portion was fantastic!! We did everything from waterfall repelling and white water rafting in Mindo to volcano hikes and snorkeling in the Galapagos (take the extra week and go to the Galapagos, it's breathtaking) to surfing lessons in Canoa.

What would you improve about this program?
It was a bit of a challenge to find food to accommodate dietary restrictions, but you can bring your own (bars/snacks) or purchase extra food along the way (it's very inexpensive).
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Sandra
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

May 2013 Med Trip

This trip was an absolutely amazing experience! I got so much more that I expected and imagined out of all 3 parts of the trip; med rotations, traveling, and volunteer.

The Med rotations were definately one of the things that most attracted me to this trip, and they did not disappoint. Its crazy how much we learned in just a week. It was an experience I could not have gotten anywhere else. We all got to see a wide variety of surguries and my group was even lucky enough to see a birth. But we also learned a lot from the workshops and the case studies too. The tutors were amazing, so knowledgeable and always answered all our questions, and went above and beyond to make the rotations exciting and educational for us. They were well chosen and definately were a huge part of why the med rotations were so great

The traveling around Ecuador was super cool because we got to know all the different sides of what Ecuador had to offer. We never stayed very long in one place, even though they did try to arrange longer stays in some of the nicer places like Canoa, but that was ok because thats what made it possible to see so much. We got to do some pretty sweet activities like surfing and waterfall rapelling too. Our tour guides Olivia and Tom were also awesome!!

The volunteer part was once in a lifetime experience. Nothing compares to actually meeting these families that will be receiving the houses and getting to know them, playing with their kids, and working along side them for the week. The work was hard but so rewarding, and at the end of the week it was so hard to say goodbye to the community. One thing that really struck us was how grateful they were and how generous and willing to give, even though they had so little! They made dinner for us the first night, and had a `dance party` for us to show us their appreciation. It was really special to witness.

Overall this trip was a great experience and I would definately reccomend it to anyone! You will do so many amazing things in a month and build so many lifetime memories and friendships!

What would you improve about this program?
One thing I would have liked would be to spend more time at the volunteer site. :)
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Ecua2013
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

August Pre-Med Group 2013

This was a trip of a lifetime. The group tour guide as well the owners did an amazing job of making everyone in the group feel included and excited about all of the events on the trip. They helped to foster teamwork and camaraderie in the group, and provided useful and interesting information about the different places we traveled to in Ecuador. The accommodations throughout the entire trip were amazing, as well as the food on tour and at the volunteer site. Volunteering was a highlight of the experience, as it was evident that the money raised by the group and the physical labour done by members of EcuaExperience made a major impact in the lives of the families in the community. Getting the opportunity to work alongside individuals who would be moving into the houses was an amazing opportunity and a chance to experience another culture. Another unique aspect of the trip were the medical rotations. From watching natural births to learning how to stitch, this week displayed many of the different fields in medicine as well as giving students insight into the daily lives of doctors. This is an experience that would probably be impossible to replicate in Canada outside of medical school. Overall, the trip was unbelievable; the group was filled with amazing people, I learned more about working in healthcare, and also gained exposure to a different culture. Once in Ecuador, the trip was very well organized.

What would you improve about this program?
I wouldn't change anything about the trip itself. The only change I would make is to some of the organization beforehand (for example, receiving receipts for payment).
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Alaina
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

August Pre-med

This trip was overall an awesome experience - due to it's nature you meet so many great people and experience so many new and exciting adventures.

Help - The volunteer site was amazing to see! We didn't get to see much of the beginning but the end result was really great and giving away the houses was such a fun experience, definitely a perk of going in August.

Learn - This part was incredible, we learned more than I could have imagined and standing behind the surgeons in the ORs was something you'll never get in Canada. If you're unsure if being a doctor/medicine is for you this is 100% the best way to find out. I even thought the case studies we did were a lot of fun!

Discover - We went to so many places I definitely got a feel for Ecuador. We saw ocean, mountain, rainforest, shopping, hot springs and did lots of activities like hikes, rappelling and tubing. We sacrificed time spent in each place for quantity but I'm glad we saw as much as we did.

What would you improve about this program?
Help - While this part was great it would have been nice to spend more time there. We were scheduled for a week there but ended up only there for 4 days and of those days we weren't always working due to lack of supplies (frustrating since there was no lack of fundraised money).

Learn - No complaints! Great experience

Discover - Although we saw lots, we didn't see enough in my opinion. Disorganization was a big factor...our group didn't even make it to the equator monument which may not be a big deal for some but it was something I really wanted to see & take pictures at. I also wish we didn't visit the same places twice; I feel as though that time could have been better spent.

Overall I really think more organization and communication would solve most of this feedback and make ecuaexperience a top-notch program.
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Zoe
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Bio/Pre-med

An amazing way to travel, meet incredible people, learn, and feel as though you have made a difference in the world. This program taught me so much from seeing culture changes up close in the village of Camerones, exploring the landscape and biodiversity of the galapagos islands, to watching natural births and open heart surgerys in the hospitals of Quito. Looking back It's hard to imagine how we fit so many amazing adventures into only 4 weeks. Everyday is filled with new experiences from surfing lessons on the beaches of Canoa to jungle walks and tubing in the Amazon. I would recommend this trip to anyone who is looking for an unforgettable adventure in a beautiful country with people who create a positive, fun, free atmosphere. At the end of this trip you will feel as though you have found your second family.

What would you improve about this program?
-As there were many groups travelling in all different directions some days seemed a little bit disorganized which led to time being wasted. This occurred a lot on the volunteer site, where there was a ton of mis-communication and the first hour of every shift was spent moving people around, finding tools ect.
-Having HLD T-shirts/bandanas before the trip to wear at the airport would have also been beneficial so that people travelling alone could identify other HLDers at the airport!