EcuaExperience: Pre-Medical and Volunteer Programs

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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.

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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 220 reviews
  • Impact 9.7
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 46 - 60 of 220
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Anna
10/10

Trip of a Lifetime

This experience absolutely changed my life for the better.This program made me grow and allowed me to enjoy and be thankful for the little and the large things in my life, it made me want to spend more quality time with my family. This is only referring to the volunteer portion. Volunteering with HLD is something you can not experience any where else. You get the opportunity to make friendships with the families you are helping.The medical portion truly helped me decide where I want to take my life and how I want it to be shaped. The things I saw, such as looking through the microscope during an eye surgery, and do still make me smile with joy every time I am able to tell someone new. Finally, the Ecuador tour was incredible, I truly feel like I saw a a great portion of what Ecuador has to offer. My favorite experience was tubing down the amazing river and staying in the middle of the amazon jungle. The next morning we all woke up and went on a hike where I got to see all different kinds of bugs and swing from tree vines. If you get the chance, definitely take the extra week in Galapagos, it is a habitat you will never be able to experience any where else. HLD sure takes care of you there and makes sure you get the most out of the Islands through snorkeling, volcano hiking, and more. As a result from what I have learned, experienced, and saw on the trip my only hope is that other people can do what I did.

Yes, I recommend
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Suraiya
10/10

The best summer EVER!!

I have always wanted to travel and explore other places in the world. I never thought I would get the chance to do that especially with such a great group of people. What was even better was being able to see the impact HLD makes and meeting the individuals whose lives we help change for the better. I also really enjoyed the adventurous detours, activities and beautiful landscapes such as the view from the "swing at the end of the world", the horse riding at Cotopaxi, exploring Moussaoui and going on a tour of Quito. Looking back at my experience with help learn discover I know I chose the right program and I would do it all again.

Yes, I recommend
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Brenna
10/10

Best month of my life!!

From the second I got of the plane I knew I had found a new home. I was welcomed warmly by Juan and one of the tutors and brought to 593 hostel where I made immediate friends. The following week in medical rotations I learned so much about current medical practice and techniques and how to talk to patients. It was educational an educational and fun environment where I saw so many different aspects of the medical field and even participated in patient examinations.
The following weeks volunteering was just as amazing! Seeing the happiness of the children every day and how hard the families worked was truly inspiring. The community greeted us with open arms and shared so much with us. We truly felt like part of the community and leaving was the hardest part of the trip.
Traveling was done mostly on weekends and brought us around all of Ecuador. From the Amazon Jungle, to Canoa beach, to Mindo rainforest and of course Quito, there was no path too far away for us.
Leaving Ecuador at the end of my five weeks was like leaving home. I have no doubt I will be returning one day!

How can this program be improved?
I wish we could have spent more time in the Jungle and the Galapagos being truly immersed in the nature and watching the wildlife.
Yes, I recommend
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Carolina
10/10

One of the best experiences I've ever had

HLD provided me with an incredible experience. José and Juan, along with the leaders went out of their way to make every single one of the 28 days we spent in Ecuador amazing. Even though the medical rotations stood out to me in particular, volunteering and exploring Ecuador did not fall short. Working on the houses in Pujilí and getting to give them to the 20 families was one of the most rewarding experiences in my life. While exploring Ecuador we went from swinging at the "End of the World" to waterfall repelling in the jungle to surfing at beach. Every single aspect of the program exceeded my expectations. Food was great and so were accommodations. This will be a trip I will never forget.

How can this program be improved?
Maybe providing the students with more information on all the activities and the raw schedule of what the trip will be like would be helpful. If I would have been informed, I would have packed very differently.
Yes, I recommend
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Korede
10/10

The most incredible experience!

Whenever people ask me about how my trip to Ecuador with HLD went, I always find it hard to come up with words to fully describe the experience.This is because one word cannot do justice to the brilliant work that is put together by the company, Help, Learn & Discover, to make sure that your 28 days in Ecuador are incredible.

From being able to witness a hip replacement surgery, to riding horses next to an active volcano, tubing down the Amazon River, and being able to spend time in the diverse Galapagos Islands, this experience truly is amazing.

You are also given the opportunity to change the lives of 20 beautiful families by building and providing them with new homes and being able to see the impact that we had on the children and their parents are memories that I will forever cherish and never forget.

I want to thank Juan and Jose and the entire staff associated with HLD for the fantastic experience.

Yes, I recommend
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Jason
10/10

The Greatest Experience of my Life!

HLD is a life changing, eye opening, once in a lifetime opportunity! I have done this trip for two years now and both times my experiences were amazing! The great work this program does for the people and villages in Ecuador is so amazing, as they give the families a chance for much better lives with access to much more necessities. The learning portion of the program is a great experience as well difficult to find anywhere else, as students are able to go through medical rotations and view the scenarios the doctors go through each day from things such as childbirths to surgeries. The discover portion of the trip as we travel through Ecuador is a ton of fun and great experiences from doing things like waterfall repelling to surfing the beaches of Canoa! There are so many great activities I never thought I would get the chance to do and am very grateful that HLD was able to help me cross these certain things off my bucket list! I highly recommend this trip to all people and can guarantee they will all have an amazing time!

How can this program be improved?
Honestly this program is amazing and I wouldn't change anything about it!
Yes, I recommend
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Sam
10/10

Incredible Experience!!!

This trip was amazing. It exceeded my expectations and I would recommended it to everyone. I learned so much about the medical field, as well about myself during medical rotations. In the help portion of the trip, we had the opportunity to work along such deserving families and hang out with the sweetest children. And I will never forget giving the houses away, it was such an incredible feeling. Ecuador is a beautiful country and this trip does an great job of exploring and showcasing it. But if you have the chance, go to the Galapagos, it is a trip of a life time. This trip is worth the cost, you get to meet and build great friendships with students all over Canada and the States. Best trip of my life!

How can this program be improved?
I would spend more time volunteering and spend more time in the Galapagos.
Yes, I recommend
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tina
10/10

You should go at least once in your life

I spent a month in Ecuador over the summer this year with HLD and it was the best decision that I had ever made. Everyone that made HLD possible were the most caring, kindest, and lovable individuals that I've ever met. If there was a problem or something that you weren't satisfied with, they made an effort to fix whatever that was wrong. Moreover regarding the trip itself, instead of volunteering for the entire month, along the way we stopped at all the major tourist attractions in Ecuador. It was all carefully planned out. If something unexpected were to happen, there would always be a backup plan. Even if it meant stopping at a different city that was not on the itinerary due to unforeseen circumstances, the hotels/hostels were always safe and the best the town had to offer.

At the end of the trip, I had a tough time saying goodbye to the country and everyone that I met there. I definitely recommend going with HLD especially if it your first time travelling alone. The trip help me grow as a human being, and i wouldn't hesitate to go back next summer.

Yes, I recommend
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Negar
10/10

Best Experience!

It is going to be the best month of your life. You have one week of med rotations that you can see and learn a lot, also there are amazing tutors that will help you out with your questions and teach you many materials. Volunteer week is absolutely amazing, and you get to spend time with great people of the community. Rest of the trip you get to see Ecuador, which is a very beautiful country, and do many activities. You usually spend the nights in the best hotels that are available and have amazing meals. The price of the program is more than worth it, and the month is unforgettable.

Yes, I recommend
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Stephanie
10/10

Amazing, Simply Amazing!!

Ecuador was simply amazing, a country with diversity and vibrancy. As a first time traveler the Bio- premedical program was a great experience, the first week was an intensive week of shadowing doctors and learning the key skills by medical students. They were valuable and informative sessions that only ignited and propelled my curiosity in medicine.

The second week consisted of volunteering in the town of Pujili where I worked with the construction workers and fellow volunteer's to build the walls of the houses. We also explored the various diverse parts of Ecuador, including the beautiful Cotopaxi volcano.

The third and final week included the biology part of my program with exploring the diverse Galápagos Islands. Every part of the Galápagos crawled with beautiful and majestic wildlife, it truly was heaven on earth.
These experIence and 28 days packed the best parts of my life, not a single day that I did not feel challenged. The trip takes you out of your comfort zone takes you to amazing places, allows you to explore amazing things.

Nothing compares, it's simply amazing

Ecuador is truly an amazing and welcoming country a place that's has changed my life forever, the amazing friends and family that I have made that will last a lifetime. From the volunteer work to exploring the diverse Galápagos islands, these experiences I will treasure forever.

Thank you HLD for a phenomenal experience!!

How can this program be improved?
Everything was amazing.
Yes, I recommend
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Anisha
9/10

Absolutely Amazing

They all say that traveling in a foreign country is memorable- HLD DOES capture that essence beautifully. It's a trip that helps you discover the country of Ecuador and yourself- through hiking in the Amazon, repelling down waterfalls and volunteering in Pujili.

Yes, I recommend
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Tisha
10/10

The experience of a lifetime... and then some!!

Where do I even begin? Help, Learn & Discover provided me with the best summer of my life thus far. The amount that is packed into the program's 28 days is beyond what I could have ever imagined.

People ask what your favourite part of the trip is and you just want to say ALL of it. There's really no experience offered quite like it.

The first component of the trip being "Help" gave us the opportunity to assist in the construction of 20 house builds. Some of the most rewarding days were spent with the wonderful people of this community. I was so overwhelmed by the joy and gratitude these people have. To say it was a humbling experience would be an understatement. Prepare to have your hearts swell for the community, and for the children that cling to your sides.

I was part of the Pre med group, so the "Learn" aspect involved shadowing local doctors in both public and private hospitals. The tutors are absolutely brilliant and you're thrown right into the midst of it all. We saw unreal surgeries, and had so much knowledge poured into us, it was amazing. If medicine is something you're even considering this will SEAL THE DEAL.

With just the two components above, I feel as though it's already well worth the price of the trip. BUT THERE'S MORE. We also got to "Discover" Ecuador. This involved an authentic culinary experience, tubing down the amazon river, rappelling down waterfalls, riding gondolas across the valley, hikes through the jungle, walking tour around the city, swinging at the end of the world, learning to surf, lounging on the beautiful beaches, horse back riding by volcanoes, and so much more. There's a lot to see, and HLD makes sure you see all the best parts. There's no way I would have been able to see half of the things that I did if I had been on my own.

The staff was incredible...12/10. Jose and Juan will provide you with nonstop laughs and the best opportunity imaginable.

Thank you HLD for a summer I'll never forget.

Yes, I recommend
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Savannah
10/10

Best way for a student to see Ecuador!

For everything that I learned and tried for the first time on this trip, the price of HL&D is more than worth it. We traveled everywhere from the mountains and volcanoes to the countryside and the beach and stayed at all the nicest and most authentic accommodations along the way. The program owners and managers are so invested in their cause and in their volunteers, I had fun and felt safe at every stop along the way. Thanks to HL&D for a great summer!

Yes, I recommend
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Penny
10/10

Amazing Trip

I did not know what to expect on this trip but it exceeded my expectations in all areas. I was very impressed with the medical portion of the trip. We were allowed amazing access to the hospitals especially the surgery. I was always busy and I never felt that I was just sitting around.

Yes, I recommend
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Hojung
10/10

want to make a difference? HL&D is a good place to start

My four-week stay in Ecuador was amazing. Simply unforgettable. Learning to suture, diagnosing REAL patients, bargaining at the Otavalo Market, touring the city of Quito, partying on a party bus, being in a surgery room, tubing down the Amazon, hiking in the Amazon in Misahualli, casually swinging at the end of the world in Banos, building homes in Pujili, braiding little girls' hair in Pujili, playing with the little kids in Pujili, dancing to El taxi on the bus, learning to surf in Canoa, watching the sunset every night in Canoa, winning the Amazing Race with my amazing team, visiting the Chocolate Factory in Mindo, paragliding in Canoa, meeting great people and great friends, visiting the homes of the families we were building houses for, horseback riding in Cotopaxi, and lots of thinking about life were all accomplished in four weeks.
Expect lots of laughter and fun.

With that, I would like to thank Ecuaexperience for their hardwork to ensure that each and every student was having a great time. Thank you!

How can this program be improved?
Longer volunteer period would be awesome!
Yes, I recommend

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...