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Aintzane Varela Armendariz

Project: Hospital for Kids, EQ-SE21, Ecuador

Length of time in project: 6 weeks

Home Country: Chile

“I visited Ecuador for the first time in 2011 and immediately fell in love with this wonderful country.†As I realized that the country needed help and that I could perhaps contribute, I began looking for volunteer opportunities in Ecuador and stumbled upon the web page of VOLUNTEERWORK LATINAMERICA. They organize volunteer placements in Latin America and have amazing opportunities such as volunteer projects in Peru, work holidays in Chile and volunteer projects in Argentina and other countries, such as Ecuador.

As a nursing student, the volunteer project in the children’s hospital in Quito appealed to me and I decided to apply for this program. I felt I had the necessary tools at hand to help children who are in hospital for a long time, feeling alone and scared.† During my volunteer work in the hospital in Quito I played and talked with the kids, and explained them about the treatment they were being given and talked to them about health in general. I tried to comfort them as much as possible. I enjoyed my work a lot even though it was very emotional as well.

All in all, it has been a life-enhancing experience. As volunteers, we were able to offer comfort and support to the children. I also learned how to communicate with the family members of the children, which has been very important for my professional career in the medical field. For me, working as a volunteer in Ecuador has been an unforgettable experience. I recommend everyone to take the step and dedicate your time and energy to those in need. You will get so much love and happiness back!”

Joshua Sutton

Project: Marine reserve, CHR-EC4, Costa Rica

Length of time in project: 12 weeks

Home Country: Great Britain

®My stay at the Camaronal Marine reserve was exactly what I needed, not only for an exciting experience abroad and a break from studies, but also to improve my work experience and CV. After leaving my home, family and friends I was slightly apprehensive, to say the least! However, on landing in Costa Rica I was picked up by the friendly staff, and driven through the tropics to my host family, who welcomed me with open arms into their beautiful home (Still the best food I have tasted during my time in Costa Rica).

Moving from my host family, I spent 8 weeks working in the beautiful Camaronal Marine Reserve helping conserve the coastal environment and the breading turtle communities, nesting on the beach. The volunteer program at Camaronal really taught me vast amounts of knowledge and has inspired me to work within the marine ecology field. Not only this, but it also gave me a brilliant opportunity to learn Spanish and meet a whole new group of friends and contacts from around the world!

I would recommend this volunteer project in Costa Rica to anyone who wants a change to their day-to-day lives, and put something back into the environment. Also, to anyone like me who is studying with an aim to work within the environmental sector. In such a competitive field, I truly believe this rewarding and truly enjoyable experience has given me a great head start!®

Virgil  Smits

Project: Primary school in Cusco, PC-SE79, Peru

Length of time in project: 4 weeks

Home Country: Netherlands

I had a fantastic time in Cusco, Peru. The family and accommodation was exactly where I asked for; in the centre of Cusco so everything in walking distance. The family house, where I stayed with two other volunteers, turned out to be a family hostal, so well organized, clean rooms, hot showers and good meals! Very friendly the whole family even though we didnít have all our meals always together. My Spanish wasnít as good as I hoped, so the ideas which I had planned to do at the primary school turned out differently. I mainly helped the sports teachers with their lessons and the kids loved it. The private lessons Spanish at the partner school in Cusco were a great help to improve my communications skills, which is a necessity to get the most out of this amazing experience. I loved the children in Cusco. They are very open, curious and eager to learn. Mainly because of them, and many other things, this made the volunteer work an intense life experience.