This trip has been beyond my expectations from the day we arrived in Quito.
Hostels/Resorts- I was preparing myself for the typical hostels you see on TV but every place we stayed at was beyond my expectations. Clean rooms, attentive hostel staff, house keeping, warm showers, and endless activities. The resort in Canoa was hands down my favourite with the beautiful view of the ocean, pool front room, best food all trip, and amazing hotel staff.
Food- The variety of food that was offered was surprising. From rice and chicken, to burgers, to steak or seafood, there was always something on the menu for everyone! We even got to go to a fine dining restaurant a couple times which was a really nice change to the typical casual dining on the trip. Juan and Jose were extremely attentive of my dietary restrictions as well which was helpful because of the language barrier.
Activites- The amount of activites and sites seen on this trip is incredible. Together they make the trip 100 percent worth the price. You can literally experience everything that Ecuador has to offer. Tubing was my favourite activity. It was also really nice that everything was optional. If there was something you didnt want to participate in, there was no questions about it and they often suggested something you could do that day like go into town!
Night Life- Fun, SAFE, and optional! Occasionally we had the option of going to a club or karaoke bar. Jose was always with us so he could help us order drinks in spanish which was very helpful! It was nice to just have fun with everyone even if you didnt drink. Everyone was really respectful of peoples beliefs and ensured to include everyone in all activities.
Volunteer- The volunteer portion was amazing! I personally wish there would have been a few more days but with the amount of activites they want us to experience in the month its understandable. The community was extremely helpful and grateful for what we were doing. The children were playful but always wanted to lend a hand as well. The inaugeration party was a highlight of the trip. The community prepared lunch and dinner for us and threw us a big party! Lots of locals, friends, and family came and together we danced all night!
Med Rotations- This was an extremely knowledge filled week. Being a commerce student I wasnt sure how I would enjoy this portion of the trip but was looking forward to shadowing doctors and experiencing something so unique. It was a lot of information being someone that has never taken a science class but being so hands on made it worth it! We learnt how to do stitches and CPR as well which is important for anyone to know! The case studies were interesting but nothing too hard. Presenting them was fun and gave everyone a good laugh!
Juan, Jose, and Leaders- These people made the trip as amazing as it was. The fact that they were SO attentive and always ensured we were 100 percent satisfied is unlike any trip I have been on. Everyday they greeted us individually and asked how our day has been so far. They reminded us that if we were unhappy to please tell them and they will do whatever they can to flip that around. Having them there also made the trip customizable. Their personalities, dancing, singing, and jokes kept us entertained all week! The student leaders were great too. They blended right in with us and joined us in all we did but were also great for support on any topics.
Overall- Best trip I have ever been on! I look forward to returning home having met so many people and created so many memories. I would highly reccomend this trip for anyone interested in travel, volunteer, or medicine.