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Volunteer Abroad Chile: La Serena Orphanage Assistance Program with A Broader View

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Orphanage in Chile

Chile is a wonderful country and La Serena is a very beautiful city. Downtown is very cute and some days there are artisans tents lined up in the plaza. I never felt unsafe in La Serena or Coquimbo but I always tried to be aware of my surroundings. Everyone I met were very friendly and helpful. People were often intrigued about where I was from and what I was doing in Chile. I met a tia at my orphanage and she made me feel like one of her family. She and her daughters showed me all of the beaches of Coquimbo (they are all very beautiful but COLD in winter!)
The orphanage provided the kids with everything they needed. It was much better kept and supplied then I had expected. My favorite part of the orphanage was the smile on the little kids’ faces when I walked in the door every morning. I worked with the toddlers: four months to two years old.
My host family was fantastic. My home was very comfortable, having warm water and wifi. My host mom and I spent many evenings jogging on the beach or Zumba-ing in the living room. Her food was delicious and the family was always welcoming. I had a “sister” and “brother” at the house who hung out with me and helped me figure things out here in Chile. One of my favorite moments with my host family was watching a U17 soccer world cup game with my host parents – it was Chile versus United States. My host father is very into soccer so he was yelling and shouting at the TV and whenever I watch sporting events I end up doing the same. The house was full of celebrations and frustrations during the course of the game. Chile won in the end but the game was a highlight of my trip and it gave me something to connect with my host dad on.
I really had no problems at all with my host family. The only challenging part was the "Chilenismos/slang" and the difficult Spanish accent (they speak way to fast). I did improved a lot over the two months in Chile.
I would definitely do my whole trip again and not change a thing. My project was rewarding, Vilma was supportive and understanding, and my host family were fantastic. La Serena and Coquimbo were wonderful places to base the program out of because they provided many different opportunities.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

La Serena Chile Orphanage

I have to start by saying that my program and trip was amazing, the experience of living in Chile was something everyone should have. I was nervous to travel to La Serena without knowing a soul, but my host family welcomed me and made me feel at home. The work can be difficult and tiring at times, but it is worth the effort. The kids are adorable and it is obvious to see the difference the volunteers make. I did branched out and tried so many new things while there. It was like I went through years’ worth of experiences in six weeks. I did also learned lots.... My Spanish did definitely improved: both my understanding and speaking. I did learned how to navigate through an unfamiliar city at night and ask for help if needed. I did learned how to keep multiple toddlers entertained, if not quiet sometimes. Overall, the last six weeks of my stay was some of the most memorable ones of my life. This trip did heightened my desire to travel more and see the world as well as continue to volunteer and help those who are less fortunate than I am.
The host family exceeded my expectations. The mom, Vilma, was amazing. She was so thoughtful and helpful. She packed my lunch every day and had dinner ready for me when I was hungry. We traded off picking movies to watch together on the weekends and played cards during the week. I never felt unsafe or in danger. Walking to work in the mornings while it was still dark made me a little uncomfortable at first, but I never had any issues. Most people in La Serena were very friendly and helpful. Everyone smiles and says hola as you pass on the sidewalks. The city of La Serena is a good size and offers enough to do to stay occupied on the weekends. I didn’t really go out much on weeknights.
A few days after I arrived in La Serena, I received an email from ABV checking to see how I was settling in. We corresponded a few times. I decided to work at the day-care center for my last two weeks instead of just staying at the orphanage. The staff was very easy to work with to allow me to make that change. Thank you again for everything.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

La Serena Chile Orphanage

My experience in La Serena was really amazing and I am so glad that I did it. The work that is done at the children’s home is truly incredible and I am really happy to have been a part of this project. Getting to know the children and the workers was so great and I learnt a lot during the 6 weeks, whether it was about Chilean culture, the language or washing and changing babies. Also my host family (Wilma, Juan Carlos and Romina). Wilma did so much for me during the stay, she was always willing to help me with anything at all, and nothing was too much for her. The family really did make the experience for me, I felt completely comfortable and welcome in their home and learnt a lot about Chilean culture from them.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Day to day Chilean life

I volunteered to gain a better understanding of day to day Chilean life, improve my Spanish and learn traditional children songs and games. I achieved all three and will have a pen pal relationship between the nursery school in La Serena and my Spanish speaking pre-k in Minnesota

I wanted to thank A Broader View for your flexibility in letting me extend my stay in service. I am deeply grateful and I want to thank Lone for arranging my volunteer-ship at the nursery school. It has been a valuable experience and I have formed lasting ties with the teachers there.