Tyler Werboweski - 2017 Program Participant

What inspired you to volunteer abroad with Maximo Nivel?

By volunteering with Maximo Nivel, I was able to volunteer and be immersed in the culture of the city I helped in. Traveling has always been a passion of mine, and this program allowed me to travel the world in an aspect most tourists never get to experience!

Tourists at Machu Picchu in Peru
Machu Picchu

Why did you choose your specific program?

I found the program I volunteered with through an external company called International Volunteer HQ (IVHQ). Maximo Nivel allowed for medical personnel to have the opportunity to help a local clinic, and practice skills. Maximo Nivel and IVHQ both were very transparent from the beginning, and answered questions I had throughout the whole application process. This program allowed me to volunteer during the week, but allowed time to tour the city and weekends off for tours throughout the area.

What was your favorite part about Peru?

I enjoyed everything about my host country! I volunteered in the city of Cusco and the city has so many amazing sites. The culture throughout the city and surrounding area leaves you awestruck. My host family was inviting and made me feel like a member of their family. The city is easy to get around through public transport, and there is always something to see!

Medical volunteer at Centro de Salud Santa Rosa in Lima, Peru
Center de Salud Santa Rosa

What made your experience abroad unique? 

Maximo Nivel has amazing host families that allow you to stay with them during your program. This experience has made my experience truly unique as I feel like I have gotten to see a different side of Peru. As a tourist, you may only see the main attractions, while having a family to be a part of gives you insight on different spots that only locals may know of. My host family has helped me plan activities and have opinions and tips on lots of amazing spots and food to try! My host family has also allowed an opportunity for me to learn and practice Spanish, and helped me with phrases to get through my day in Cusco.

How did local staff support you throughout your program?

The Maximo Nivel staff in Cusco has been amazing! There are not enough words to describe the support, and welcoming atmosphere, from every member of the international team! The staff members answer all your questions, help you if you need it, and even listen when you need someone to have a meltdown to!

These amazing people truly care about every volunteer they have and want to make this experience the best adventure you can have. Throughout my short time with the team, they made this experience memorable and I can never say thank you enough!

My first day I struggled with being in a foreign country and not having enough Spanish repertoire to get a cab home. The field managers helped me to get a cab and let me talk through my frustrations. They gave me an outlet that allowed me to regroup and breath. If it hadn't been for the support of the international team, I think my enjoyment of the project and program would have been negative.

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently?

Personally I wish I would have studied more Spanish before coming on the trip. While Spanish is not a requirement to come to the project and Maximo Nivel offers Spanish classes, I feel that there were times that I struggled to keep up with some conversations. While this is something I wish I did differently, I also realize this is what gave me the drive to learn Spanish and focus in my class.

Tourists taking a selfie at Machu Picchu
Selfie at Machu Picchu

Describe a typical day in the life of your program.

A typical day in my program was:

  • Wake up around 6:30 a.m.
  • Eat breakfast and get ready for work
  • Catch the bus at 7:30 a.m.
  • Arrive at work by 8:00 a.m.
  • Assist in Center de Salud (i.e. work in Topico conducting suturing, injections, clean wounds etc)
  • Finish work at 12:00 p.m.
  • Take the bus to my homestay and have lunch
  • Tour the city from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Have Spanish class 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
  • Dinner with family 7:00 p.m.
  • Evening free for homework and visiting

What did you enjoy doing in your free time?

In my free time, I toured the city of Cusco. There are many amazing things to see, such as Christo Blanco, Qorikancha, Plaza de Armas, Tipon, and many other amazing locations! I also spent the time visiting with my housemates and host family.

What was your accommodation like? What did you like best about it?

My accommodation was wonderful. I had my own room for the first week, and shared with a new volunteer the second week. My family fed us amazing food every day, and the house was absolutely gorgeous. We had a nice outdoor patio, which we could enjoy the sun and visit. It is hard to pick one thing I like the best as the whole experience with this family was great.

Volunteers and their host family in Peru
My host family with fellow volunteers

What is one thing every participant should know before participating in your program?

Every participant should know that you will get out of this experience what you put into it. The experience is not meant to be easy, but it is rewarding!

Now that you're home, how has your program abroad impacted your life?

This experience has made me appreciate the amenities and services I take for granted. After working in health care in Cusco, I am able to appreciate the system I have in Canada. I also have been given a new found drive to see more of the world, and volunteer more.

Would you recommend Maximo Nivel to others? Why?

Absolutely! Maximo has been amazing! This is an experience unlike any other, with a passionate team dedicated to making the greatest impact in the community, while allowing volunteers to experience a new place.