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.

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 226 reviews
  • Impact 9.7
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.1
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 76 - 90 of 226
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Lorena
10/10

Life Changing Experience

Ecuaexperience is the type of trip that you can only fully appreciate once you have participated in it. The three componente of Help, Learn and Discover were executed perfectly and everyday we had a list of activities that we would take part in.

The volunteering Help component of the trip was a very humbling experience. The community that we were able to work along side was extremely deserving and welcomed everyone with open arms. I had the privilage of being the groups treasurer which gave me the opportunity to first hand buy all the needed supplies and essential components that each house needed with our fundraised money. Every single penny was used for the houses and nothing more. The work was hard and long but regardless we all came out smiling everyday. The workers that help build the homes are actually the people receiving the homes, so they are extremely hard working and very patient with us considering the fact that most of us had no experience. We also had the oppurtunity to see the current living conditions of the family and that was extremely eye opening. These people are very deserving of everything and more and it brings me great joy to be able to take part in making in impacting their life.

The Learn portion completely surpassed my expectations. We were able to take part in 5 rotations including OR, ER, radiology, peadiactrics, sports medicine and activities such as infernal medicine, learning how to stitch, advanced CPR, and drawing blood. During the rotations we were assinged to different tutors. They extremely knowledgable in everything, great teachers and easy to get along with. We also got to interact with the patients and even speak to some of the doctors which I was not expecting at all. This portion definitely helped affirm my desire to work in the Health field and I would highly recommend it for any one considering to join it as well.

Ecuador is a beautiful country and the Discover portion did a fanstastic job at showing it to us. The scenery is breath taking anywhere you look and the color of green is endless. Each city that we got to visit had so much to offer and everyday you wish you could stay longer. The hotels we stayed at throughout the trip completely surpassed my expectations and were worth every penny. Canoa beach was my personal favorite.

Overall the trip was an amazing experience and I feel blessed having the oppurtunity to have taken part in such a great program. You come out a completely different person and I'm forever grateful for that.

How can this program be improved?
I loved every single thing about the program and would change nothing a bout it.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Augusto
10/10

An experience that has everything

I did the medical program in June for 28 days and it was the perfect amount of time with the perfect amount of experiences. The three components of volunteering, seeing the country, and participating in medical rotations were expertly organised and executed very well. During the whole trip we were constantly being looked after, but not in a smothering sense, we were still very free to explore, but I felt very safe as well. During the "discover" portion of the trip I hiked a portion of the Amazon, went tubing in the Napo river (amazing!!), enjoyed a relaxing night in the Amazon jungle, enjoyed a relaxing resort stay at Canoa beach, and saw so much wild life, culture, great sight seeing, and hit so many tourist hot spots. It was amazingly comprehensive! As for the learn portion, 3 participants were paired with a senior medical student and they taught us very neat things, gave us great resources, took us on the wards, let us interact with patient, and see incredible surgeries. I was able to watch a brain biopsy (so cool!!!), and the students and staff were so accommodating and awesome . Lastly during the volunteer portion we helped build 20 homes for families in Pujili. It was really tough work, and I am very glad I did it. It really put into perspective what I have at home made me really grateful for it all. We worked alongside the people who would be living in the homes and we all got to know each other and really bonded. The kids are so cute and playful. This was such an amazing experience. I think anyone considering a medical career and wanting to see what the world has to offer should definitely consider this program. Out of everyone in my group (we were only 12, but other months had up to 40) we were all raving about how great this experience was. So many experiences, and at the end of everything, these other participants become your best friends. It was sad to leave. In short, amazing program!

How can this program be improved?
This program is great. Unfortunately, due to the nature of seeing so much that the country has to offer, there may be some long shuttle times, but hey every trip goes by with great company!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Thahsin
10/10

The best volunteering trip for post-secondary students!

I did the Pre-med program on May 2014 and I had the best time of my life. It was such an unique experience that changed the way I viewed everything in life. I especially enjoyed the medical rotations because we got to see very cool surgeries in person and learn so much. It is something that isn't available for us undergrad students here in Canada.

The volunteer portion was also amazing. We got to work along side the Pujili community to build 21 homes for them. We got to see how they used to live in poor conditions which made me appreciate all the little things in life. They are one of the most kind and generous people that I have ever met in my life. They always had so much to give even though they had very little for themselves. We bonded very well with them during our stay in Pujili and the kids there were adorable!

I highly suggest every post-secondary student to give this program a try because I had the best time of my entire life! I highly suggest all pre-med and pre-dental students to go on this trip since there's so much you can learn and get a head start on your medical career!!

How can this program be improved?
There is nothing I would change about this program because I thought it was perfect for me! Every single day is perfectly organized in a way that allows students to get the most out of their day. Each day is very eventful which is what makes this program very exciting!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Caitlyn
10/10

The best trip I could have ever chosen to do!

As a person skeptical about volunteer trips, I was wary of a trip that sounded as good as HLD did. When doing research, no trips came close to offering what Ecuaexperience could and I was slightly nervous. These worries, however, proved to be irrelevant when I arrived in country and had the experience of my lifetime.

I participated in the BioMed 1 program in May, choosing to do so because it combined the best of volunteering, adventure and medical rotations. During the first two weeks, we had the opportunity to explore Quito and do our medical rotations. The students were separated into smaller groups and assigned different rotations with different tutors each day. I don't think I've ever learned more in such a short amount of time as I did with those tutors. Each tutor excelled in teaching and providing us with insight into the medical field. I saw amazing procedures and had the opportunity to discuss the difficulties and rewards of working in the medical field with Juan and the other tutors. I truly appreciated how much everyone cared about our experience, and how much Juan tried to accommodate all the things we wanted to see and do in the hospital.

After my medical rotations, we travelled to Pujili to do our volunteer portion of the trip. Again, any worries I had about the authenticity of our work were eliminated once we arrived. We worked hard alongside the community and every penny we raised was put towards the construction of the houses. One of the most amazing parts of the trip was seeing the joy and appreciation that the community had towards us. There was also difficulty in seeing the original homes of the community, and the conditions in which they lived. When Juan and Jose spoke to us and discussed why we do this, and how much it means to the families to have solid houses, or to have their kids closer to school, I don't think anyone left unchanged. I genuinely believe that HLD has a huge impact not only on the lives of poor communities, but also on the students participating on the trip.

As a part of BioMed, I had the opportunity to go to the Galapagos and was so excited to visit the islands that are so thoroughly discussed in my university classes. I was floored by the activities that we got to do, from hiking, kayaking and seeing the natural wildlife of the Galapagos! The entirety of the week spent there was amazing and unforgettable.

Additionally, I did the additional week to Peru. This experience was amazing, Jose really went out of his way to make our experience as incredible as possible. As a smaller group, we got really close to one another and had so much fun! All the tours we did were really cool, specifically noting Machu Picchu, the Nazca lines, visiting ancient ruins and travelling to Lake Titicaca.

As a whole, this experience was beyond amazing. Every place we went, tour guide that we had and opportunity that we were given went far beyond expectations. While, I would have loved spending more time with each experience, I think that this trip was the best possible combination of helping, learning and discovering. Jose and Juan truly care about the experience we have and go above and beyond to improve the trip in any way for us. I cannot thank them enough for giving me this opportunity to be on the trip!

How can this program be improved?
I think that this program offered the best experience possible. Any limitations from differing portions of the trip were far outweighed by the overall experience.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Karina
10/10

Bio-Med: Best time of my life - no joke

This trip completely exceeded any expectations I had and surprised me with a whole lot more then I could have imagined! My time with HLD was jam-packed with activities that allowed us to really experience what Ecuador has to offer. Everything was so well organized and we always had a great time. Jose and Juan are phenomenal. For those interested in med, the things you will learn and see during your medical rotations are unlike anything you could have in Canada during an undergraduate degree. I felt so privileged to be getting private courses by extremely knowledgeable tutors and learning hands on in the field. As for the volunteer portion of the trip, I wish I could have stayed longer. We worked hard and for long hours and it was so rewarding at the end of each day. Seeing those kids being so happy with so little, and their parents so appreciative of our help, it was an amazing experience that I will never forget. The fundraiser money really goes straight to buying supplies so it was cool to see the process and see how we made a difference in these peoples lives.

How can this program be improved?
I can't see anything that could be improved. 10 years of HLD seems to have led to a perfectly organized program.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sophie
10/10

Best month of my life!

As I knew little as to what the day to day activities included I was a little unsure of what to expect upon arriving in Ecuador, however within the first hour of arriving I knew I was in for a trip of a lifetime. I am confident to say that my time spent in Ecuador will be some of my most cherished memories, and I was definitely not ready to come home after my month there went by so quickly. I would recommend this program to absolutely every student I know!

I participated in the Bio-Medical program in May of 2015. I think one of the most compelling parts about this program that really sets it aside from other organizations is the diversity of things we did on this trip, all falling under the different categories; help, learn, and discover. For the help portion, I can't begin to explain how rewarding it was to work along side the community building houses. It was hard work and challenging at times, but being able to create a bond with the community was really an eye opening experience for me. The learn portion of the trip really exceeded my expectations.The med tutors were amazing, always ready to explain procedures and answer questions. One of my favorite parts of the trip was shadowing the doctors and watching numerous surgeries! Finally, the discover portion was unlike anything I could have imagined. Highlights included waterfall repelling, horse back riding, surfing, snorkeling with sharks and sea turtles, hiking through the jungle, and tubing down the amazon river.

All of these different components made for an unforgettable month, however what really made the trip extra special were the owners, Juan and Jose. They really go above and beyond to make sure that every student feels comfortable and safe while enjoying their trip. By the end of the trip, both the leaders and the fellow students felt more like family than friends!

How can this program be improved?
The only way to improve this program would be to provide a bit more information before hand so students can pack efficiently. However I had zero complaints once actually in Ecuador!
Yes, I recommend this program
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Matthew
10/10

Experience of a Lifetime

When I initially signed up for this program I didn't really understand what kind of amazing trip I was about to go on, and what incredible people I would meet. It started with the group meetings with other Vancouverites who were going on the trip. The fundraising we did and coordination at times was difficult, and with little fundraising experience I wasn't entirely sure what I was doing, but there was so much more gratification knowing that all the funds raised were raised by us. The leaders in Vancouver were also useful sources of information about the trip and fundraising, and helped us every step of the way.

When I landed in Ecuador, it was then that I realized I was going to experience a unique, culturally rich and beautiful country. And our tour around Ecuador really solidified this idea, from the coastal and sunny town of Canoa, to the Amazon Rainforest, to the Cotopaxi (one of the world's highest active volcanoes). But the two most rewarding portions of the trip for me was the volunteering in Pujili, and the medical rotations in Quito. During the volunteering, we worked alongside the community and formed bonds with the children, even taking them to a movie, something novel for the majority of them. The work was hard and dirty, but seeing where our fundraised money was going and what we were doing for this people, the new lives we were helping give them, made it all worth it. In the medical rotations, we toured various wards of the hospitals with medical tutors (5th and 6th year medical students in Quito) and shadowed doctors in the OR. The tutors were extremely knowledgeable about each subject and were easy and friendly to talk to. We learned a whirl wind of information, from both inside and outside rotation learning, but I feel that I came away with a much better understanding of what it means to be a doctor and what it means to work in different wards of the hospital.

All together this trip was life changing. The people I met, the friends I made, and everything I learned are things I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I am very thankful I was able to go on this trip.

How can this program be improved?
If we could have had a bit more time doing the medical rotations and a bit more time volunteering.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Sum
10/10

Best experience of my life!!!

This year is the second time I have joined HLD to help build homes for underprivileged families! We returned to build another 20 homes in the village of Pujili and the experience was just as rewarding as my first!!! The homes we were building were for new families and I experienced community interaction to a whole new level!! Despite a language barrier between both the students and the community, both cant help but become close to one another as we both worked extremely hard this month for the future homes of this community! Ecuaexperience is constantly evolving and I noticed many changes in regard to the destinations we visited as HLD are taking students to newer, more exotic and wonderful locations!! I would highly recommend this program anyone and everyone as you will receive the most eye opening, rich and rewarding experience of your life, for both new and past students!

How can this program be improved?
I would not change anything about this program as everything always went according to plan and there were rarely any hiccups or unexpected changes! The owners, Juan and Jose, ensure everything is on schedule and that all events are properly organized.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Natasha
10/10

Experience of a Lifetime!

This month spent in Ecuador was the best month of my life. It balanced education, adventure, and social aspects perfectly. Through the BioMed program, I was able to get first-hand healthcare experiences that are not possible in Canada. I gained so much knowledge about both specific patient care, and about the general fields of medicine that will help me in choosing a career path. The galapagos was definitely a highlight of the trip, from hiking to snorkelling and kayaking we were always busy and seeing SO much wildlife! The volunteering portion was incredible, however it would have been nice to have more days volunteering than what we did (as part of BioMed).
Overall, the memories from this trip will stay with me forever, of this amazing place and the people I got to share it with! Ecuador is an beautiful country that everyone should get the chance to experience, and HLD is a perfect way to see it all! I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but it exceeded by expectations and I highly recommend this program.

How can this program be improved?
If I could change one thing it would be that we got to volunteer for longer.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Connor
10/10

Best month of my life

There was constantly an activity or experience to be had. Rarely any breaks. It felt as if six months of experiences were packed into one month. The medical rotations were extremely in depth. It´s impossible to find that type of first hand experience in Canada. The friends that are made on this program become lifelong friends because of all the experiences you share. The travel covers everything from the jungle to the mountains to the ocean.

How can this program be improved?
If I had to change one thing about this program it would be to have a little bit more information in advance to be able to pack more appropriately.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Jonathan
10/10

Great experience

This program was eye opening for me! It really gave me the opportunity to see how people live in parts of the world other than Canada. The fact that the owners Juan and Jose were involved in the trip made it a far better experience. The med rotations were very interesting, the volunteering was very rewarding and the tour portion was a blast!

How can this program be improved?
Information could be provided earlier as to when flights should be booked.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Yasmine
9/10

This Trip was Crazy

In one day on Help Learn and Discover, we learned how to do examinations of the head neck and thorax, had a Spanish lesson, and ended with a dance party on a bus driving around the city. This trip gives oppourtunities to do things that I would have never have thought I would be able to do in my life. Every day is planned to make sure the participants can get the most out of the trip socially, culturally and in terms of medical education. I am so thankful to have been able to be a participant and would recommend it to any student.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Alyssa
10/10

Trip of a lifetime !

This trip surpassed by expectations in every way possible. I was super excited when I heard about this amazing trip at my university, but no amount of information or presentations prepared me for the amazing adventures and life long friendships that I experienced during this trip.

I participated in the Pre-Medical Program for May 2015. I was blown away by the variety of things we did in 1 month. Some of the highlights during the "discover" part of the trip included horseback riding around a volcano, waterfall repelling, tubing (right to the doorstep of our hotel), surfing, hiking in the jungle, and much more. The one week of medical rotations gave me first hand experience in a hospital setting and the med tutors who we shadowed taught me more than I could have learned in any university course! One of the most life-changing parts of the trip was helping to build houses in the community. Each day was challenging and filled with hard work, but getting the chance to bond with the locals made it 100 percent worth it. The kids of community were the happiest, most loving children I had ever met and we quickly grew close with them, despite the English-Spanish language barrier.

Although every activity was amazing, the people are part of what made this trip so special. The owners of HLD, Juan and Jose, go out of their way to get to know each participant and to ensure that every activity goes perfectly. The leaders were amazing and the friends I made felt much more like family. I would recommend HLD to anyone wanting to travel Ecuador!

How can this program be improved?
Once I arrived in Ecuador, I have zero complaints about how the trip was run - it was more amazing than I could have ever imagined. The only thing I would change prior to the trip would be making the application deadline for the May group earlier than it currently is. After talking to fellow peers on the trip, many of us felt that we did not have enough time to fundraise with the pressure of studying for final exams. Had we met with our university groups and leaders sooner, there would have been more time to plan larger fundraising events.
Yes, I recommend this program
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Caitlyn
10/10

A Trip To Never Forget

As a student with little information prior to going on the trip I had no idea what to expect and put all my trust into the program and the people behind it. I'm glad to say I went on this trip regardless of my knowledge prior to, it was honestly the best 5 weeks I could of asked for. I can even say I wasn't ready to go home when I did, I could of stayed there all summer long. My ecuaexperinece in Ecuador and the Galapagos is one I will cherish for the rest of my life and never forget.

The help portion of he program was especially rewarding for me, I couldn't of imagined how helping those who are less fortunate by building them homes would change my life. The joy and happiness on the communities faces would fill your heart with enough joy for the rest of your life. The community was so greatfull for their new homes and for their lives to change. I also loved how much we got to interact with the community and really connect with the people. From the friendly games of soccer, movie night with the kids, the welcome and goodbye dinners, as well as just working along side them to build new homes. I am so happy I got the opportunity to help this special community in Pujili no matter how much hard work it was and how dirty we all got at the end of the day.

The learning part of the trip was more then I ever dreamt of. The amount of information we learnt during our medical rotations and outside from doctors and the tutors was mind blowing, the experiences we saw in the different wards of the hospital was fascinating, and the just the experience of it all was amazing. There aren't many places in the world that will allow you to see what we saw, learnt what we learnt, and got an insight of the world from a doctors perspective and still feel safe and excited for what's next to come. The medical really allow you to see what career path and what lifestyle you will be going into if you choose to become a doctor.

The discover portion of the trio was absolutely nothing I could of ever imagined. The scenery in the beautiful country of Ecuador is nothing I've ever seen before from the volcanoes, rainforest, waterfalls, beaches, and hot springs were wonderful. I never thought one country was capable of so much Beaty. And the Galapagos was yet another beautiful surprise from the amazing blue oceans, white beaches, the wildlife, and sea life was so awesome. I couldn't of imagined being anywhere else but on this trip and meeting the amazing people I did. This organization is a great mixture of volunteering, discovering what Ecuador has to offer, and learning about what your carer might look like in the near future.

Yes, I recommend this program
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Natasha
10/10

Best 5 weeks of my life!

I went on the Pre-Med 1 trip for the month of May 2015. I wish the trip could have lasted all summer. The variety on this trip is incredible including surfing, water repelling, medical rotations, working with the community volunteering, hiking volcanoes, a rainforest and the jungle, tubing, horse back riding, snorkelling and much more! What really makes this trip so special is the two owners Jose and Juan. They make you feel like family while you are there and truly care that you are having fun and are safe at all times. If you are interested in medicine, the pre-med option is a great opportunity to really see if this is an environment that you enjoy - you actually get to stand in operating rooms watching surgeries, learn how to draw blood and make stitches, opportunities you would not be allowed to do in North America in your undergrad. Working at the volunteer site is very rewarding, seeing the conditions people live in on a day to day basis and how happy the children are even though they live in very poor conditions. This trip is a great combination of learning, laughing, working hard and having fun. Get ready to sing lots. dance, wear a constant smile and have the time of your life! If anyone was to ask me what would I say to future HLD students I would tell them get ready to have the best time of their lives!

How can this program be improved?
Nothing. Some may say that they would rather have more detailed schedules of what we are doing each day as we were just given scedules that had the places we would be each day, but personally I loved the element of suprise not knowing what we were going to do next made the activities so much more exciting!
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...