Review of Volunteer Abroad Project with International Student Volunteers

P1040880

It’s crazy to think that I have been home from Ecuador for a few weeks already. I can’t believe I’m getting ready from to start school again and get back into my old routine. I miss Ecuador and I’m definitely ready to go back.

I’ve been thinking a lot about ISV and my group since I returned. I miss all of my new friends and we have all been messaging each other and posting our pictures to Facebook. I know word of mouth is such an important way that companies spread the word about their programs (especially since I was in the ISV Club at school), so I figured I would right my review of International Student Volunteers.

5

Pros:

Pretty much the whole experience was a pro in my book! I think ISV had a really well organized program in country, and the adventure tour went so smoothly. They really knew what they were doing and I felt 100% safe the whole time. I liked that we had local people as our guides during the program because we got to know some real Ecuadorians!

I absolutely loved my entire group! We all got along so well and it was so awesome being surrounded by students from all around the US & Canada. What screening ISV is doing is working! Plus, it really helped me develop self-confidence and self-awareness because I didn’t know anyone going it. I really had to socialize and make new friends quickly! I know these are people I’ll be talking to for years to come :)

I liked that the program had structure during the day & with our activities/schedule, but we also had free time to do what we wanted at night. I didn’t feel stifled or overwhelmed by rules. They let us live like normal college kids!

The adventure tour was definitely the highlight for me, and I am so glad I did it in addition to my volunteer program. I tried so many new activities that I never would have done on my own, and I really pushed myself to explore my boundaries. That’s what traveling was all about and I really feel like I grew a lot in only a few weeks.

IMG_7623

Cons:

The volunteer work itself didn’t feel all that impactful at the end of the day. It was awesome living with a host family and in a small town because we got to experience the Ecuadorian way of life. But I don’t think we really made a huge difference in the community. Plus the work was a little bit scattered, since there were so many different projects that we were working on simultaneously.

I also feel like the level of support from the organization could have been a little bit better. I was really unprepared before leaving on the program, and I had barely any communication from the office. I didn’t know what to expect or what Ecuador was going to be like, which would have been nice considering we paid a decent amount of money for it. Thankfully, I’m a pretty laid back person and just figured it out. But when I arrived in Ecuador and met up with my fellow group members, we all kind of joked that “what if this was just a scam” and we’re a bunch of gringos hanging out in Ecuador for 4 weeks. Thankfully that wasn’t the case!

IMG_7548

Are you ready to volunteer abroad? Learn more about the project International Student Volunteers sponsors at their website.

Advertisements

Author: Megan Arz

I am a travel and food obsessed Midwesterner living in Chicago and dreaming of the world. I work as a full-time program manager for Greenheart Travel, but I am also committed to integrating the travel lifestyle into my every day routines. I am passionate about ethical travel, meeting new people, creating unique memories and eating local cuisine!

What do you think about it?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s