A great majority of the poor in Vietnam do not have access to government health programs. Charity clinics supported by churches and charities and staffed by volunteers endeavor...
It is estimated that hundreds of thousands of Nepali people, especially women and children, suffer unnecessarily due to a lack of basic medical care. Interning at a hospital...
The best thing you'll ever do
Submitted by Stephanie Erickson - Clemson University | July 21, 2016
My experience with ELI was phenomenal. You would never know it was a non-profit by the service you receive. The staff was amazing - they provided me with all the information I needed and answered all my questions leading up to my trip. You can tell they really care about their volunteers! They're dedicated to making sure you have a great place to volunteer and live and explore. They even followed my social media while I was abroad! My experience in Iganga was amazing. I worked in the hospital and got to shadow doctors and assist patients in tons of different wards (male, female, maternity, surgery, pediatrics, etc.). My family was lovely and took such great care of me and cooked such tasty food! The town was cute and easy to get around and fit things. I could not recommend this program or ELI in general any higher. If you are considering volunteering abroad please please go through ELI. I promise you will be sooo thankful you did!
Submitted by Mariana - University of Nottingham | March 17, 2016
My volunteering experience was life changing. I spent 4 months in Nakuru, surrounded by beautiful children and having the opportunity to give them hope was amazing. Getting a smile out of these kids was such a joy! I would do it all over again and hopefully I can go back someday.
Program: Volunteer Teaching in Kenya
Cambodia; you've stolen my heart <3
Submitted by Meuni - Monash University | March 02, 2016
I volunteered at the National Borei for Infants & Children (NBIC) in Phnom Penh, Cambodia for 2 weeks. It was an absolutely amazing and life-changing experience. While i was there I was literally fulfilling a dream that i've had for a very long time. Ever since i was younger, i have wanted to use my career (physiotherapy) to help those in need, in particular- children in less fortunate countries like Cambodia. During my stay, a number of unexpected things happened. For one, I did not expect to get attached to the kids at NBIC so quickly, I miss them more and more everyday. The poverty in Cambodia was not an eye-opener for me as I was aware of it beforehand but seeing the bright smiles and determination on the children's faces is what truly made me happy. I also did not expect to fall in love with the country itself. Cambodia is such a beautiful country, from its temples to its paradise-like beaches to the friendly & helpful locals, it's a magical place that puts a spell on you. It's hard to explain unless you've been there.
The housing was very homely and allowed us to experience the local vibe. The rooms were clean and we were provided with hot showers and air conditioning (a luxury that most other volunteers did not have). The food at the housing was also good with a mixture of asian and western cuisine. Phnom Penh is such a wonderful city with so much to do and see, from $5 massages to amazing restaurants such as 'Friends', to the royal palace and the killing fields.
NBIC was a wonderful place to volunteer at as a physiotherapy student because there is a separate physiotherapy room where you can work with other physiotherapists and volunteers. Physiotherapy would begin at 8am each morning and finish at 4pm in the evening, with children coming in and out throughout the day. Majority of the children had cerebral palsy and a few had autism, epilepsy, down syndrome and some were HIV positive. The good thing about being in that room was that we got to meet and work with a range of different children and were pretty much allowed to treat each child in whatever way we wanted to. Of course the physiotherapists would guide and help us but it was good because we were able to be creative with our treatments. It was great to implement the knowledge i had learnt at university and put it into practice. Physiotherapy for the children would range from manual therapy (mobilising, stretching and massage) to working on their sitting balance, gait, fine motor control and cognitive skills. We would have to come up with different ways to treat the kids but keep them entertained at the time by playing games and singing songs during our physio sessions. This made it challenging yet rewarding when we could see improvements in the children's skills. At lunch time, we would help the other volunteers feed the children which was always fun. On my last day of volunteering, we took the children to Dreamland- a theme park in Phnom Penh where we went on a number of rides and had lunch at the theme park. It was a great day out for both the volunteers and the children!
The only slight downside was that there was an overload of volunteers (who would have thought) at the orphanage as there were many volunteers from other organisations-to the point where there wasn't enough things for some of the volunteers to do and the child; volunteer ratio was 1:1 in some rooms. Other than that, the placement was amazing and I would definitely recommend volunteering for much longer than 2 weeks if you have the time and money. In particular with physiotherapy as you are more likely to see changes in the children's physical abilities.
On the weekends we would go to different parts of Cambodia. During the first weekend we went to Siem Reap and visited the ancient temples and floating village. After volunteering we travelled to Koh Kong, Sihanoukville and Koh Rong Island which was just as beautiful. Volunteering at NBIC in Cambodia was so amazing and I would go back to volunteer there in a heart beat. The memories I created in Cambodia and the children at NBIC will always remain with me. Volunteering abroad is the best way to see a country for its true beauty.
ELI Abroad Youth Initiative program review - excellent
Submitted by Gareth Loughlin - Kingston University | February 25, 2016
I participated in ELI’s Youth Initiative program in the summer of 2015. I have to say, it was a great experience. It more than met my expectations.
Michael Kaidihwa’s family hosted me and were very accommodating. They could provide me with plenty of information concerning customs and culture. They were always friendly and made me feel at home. The food they prepared for me and the volunteers was always great as well, taking into account our tastes, and at the same time encouraging us to try new foods. The room provided was simple and clean. It was adequately comfortable for the 5 weeks I spent there, living with other volunteers.
The free time at the weekends is beneficial to visit other places in Uganda, such as the river Nile in the nearby town Jinja, or even Safari. Keep in mind there are people in need there. Weekdays are spent working.
The work consisted of teaching in a school and a skill centre (a local organisation which fights unemployment). The school hosted us as teachers had around 300 pupils and about 10 members of staff. Both the students and teachers welcomed us warmly and helped us help them.
I find that reviews are more valuable when some difficulties are pointed out. It’s difficult to prepare for Uganda. Vaccinations take about a month cover and malaria medicine must to adjusted to (if taking doxycycline, it can make you nauseous, take before eating and walk after). Also, keep in mind, the heat can make you exhausted. Beware of culture shock not only when you arrive but also to your home country.
My trip with ELI Abroad taught me many valuable lessons on this trip. For example, I believe that you cannot truly understand the needs of others until you experience it yourself. It takes going somewhere to become conscious of the situation.
This program is great for people with some travelling experience or the very experienced. I still stay in contact with the people I met over there and plan to return in the near future. I would like to thank ELI Abroad helping me with my placement over there, and I have since then decided to become a qualified teacher!
And now for something completely different
Submitted by Hannah L - UC Davis | December 30, 2014
I initially contacted ELI about the animal rescue program, but given my interest in veterinary medicine, ELI took the initiative to create a new experience for me with the Universidad Central de Ecuador veterinary school. I volunteered in the teaching hospital and was fortunate enough to get to scrub in on teaching surgeries in addition to seeing client owned patients every day. This experience was everything I wanted it to be- I got the veterinary experience I wanted and got to live in a near by homestay that was walking distance to the clinic. The ELI staff were amazing in every way - supportive, and willing to get creative to design a program that fit exactly what I was looking for. I highly recommend them to everyone I know who is looking to volunteer abroad.
Program: Animal Rescue Project