The Help, Learn, and Discover: Ecuaexperience program was the greatest month of my life, hands down. It has something for everyone.
HELP: Students get to volunteer a portion of their time in Ecuador to helping a community build homes (and a better lifestyle) for themselves and their families. Students were able to interact with the community (including their adorable children) while putting in lots of work to ensure safe and beautiful homes were built. We also had a great amount of fun doing it!
LEARN: Students were also involved in medical rotations in which we were able to visit different wards in the hospital and experience things like the ER, OR, and ICU. We also did case studies that involved learning objectives that we presented in front of a group of medical students. This was a great learning experience that allowed us to think hard about our cases (rather than do simple research and presentations). The tutors themselves were extremely knowledgeable and helpful. They were kind and eager to teach us.
DISCOVER: This portion of the trip allowed students to visit different parts of Ecuador and learn about its vast culture and history while still having an incredible amount of fun! From horseback riding at the base of a volcano to an amazing beach resort, there is never a dull moment. Every minute of this trip was fun. Even the bus rides were great as we all grew as a family during this time and sang along to popular songs.
LEADERS: The leaders of this trip were extremely fun but made sure we had a safe experience as well. In particular, Juan and Jose (founders of Ecuaexperience) were the best hosts anyone could have asked for. They did not have many restrictions on students, giving us the freedom to have a lot of fun but remain safe. They were also involved with the students and created long lasting relationships with all of us. They're fun, energetic, and extremely caring about anyone and everyone. I'll never forget everything they've done for me.
FAMILY: The people you meet on the trip come from all parts of Canada and the United States and each has their own unique back story. But on this trip, every single one of them becomes a part of your family. Life long relationships WILL be formed. The hardest part about this trip is leaving everyone you've met at the end.