ELI Abroad Programs
Intern in Dublin! Work with marketing departments or firms in a wide range of areas. You will be able to work on specific projects, or be involved with long-term strategies....
ELI Abroad Reviews
One week left!
Submitted by Bailey Miller - University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire | July 05, 2017
Namaste! My name is Bailey Miller. I am a senior at the University of Wisconsin- Eau Claire studying Communication Sciences and Disorders and Teaching English as a Foreign Language. I am currently volunteering through Experiential Learning International (ELI) in Kathmandu, Nepal for 4 weeks. I have two placements- one in the Child Development Center (CDC) and the other in a local monastery. I just completed my third week and, sadly, only have one more to go. I’d love to take this opportunity to share with you my experience here in Kathmandu up to this point.
I spend Mondays and Fridays at the CDC, which is actually the lower level of a Kathmandu public school. I alternate between a 2-4 year old classroom and a 5-6 year old classroom. I collaborate and assist teachers in focusing on developmental milestones, play skills, hygiene, and teaching basic English. The children are energetic, loving, and hard working. As the CDC is part of a public school, I see children from all types of backgrounds. It is a very humbling and rewarding experience. It has allowed me to reflect on the value of education and revived my passion for working with others.
From Tuesday through Thursday, I additionally teach English to 25-30 students at a local monastery. The students are Buddhist monks between the ages of 8-16 years. The monastery, among many other aspects of this country, has exposed me to a completely different culture. I have become a more open minded individual. It is a guarantee that the students have taught me just as much, if not more, than I have taught them.
I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to spend time in Kathmandu. The ELI team has been an integral part of my journey in discovering ideal placements and has acted as a knowledgeable and reliable resource. I have developed great relationships with local Nepalese people and obtained an extremely valuable and fulfilling experience.
Nepal is a truly beautiful and fascinating country. The streets hustle and bustle with the noise of the city, yet people are patient and giving with their time and resources. Nepal has a history far beyond any I have experienced which takes the shape of beautiful stupas and temples. The food is (of course) fantastic and the other volunteers in our volunteer house are just as willing and excited to experience the city together. I wish I could stay in Kathmandu longer. One week left!
Program: Teach at a Buddhist Monastery
It was a great experience
Submitted by Courtney Adams - - | June 21, 2017
The application process was excellent. Everything was prompt and went smoothly. Staff was very helpful and timely with answering e-mails. And the ELI Portal definitely helped to keep things organized.
Malissa Spero was my advisor and she was amazing! Always timely with her responses and very informative. She always made me feel comfortable about taking this trip and confident in using this program. Upon arrival I went to orientation in Dublin and we met everyone else who was just arriving to do a similar thing, and they told us some norms within our country and showed us a map of how to get around, as well as, how to act with our host families. My in-country coordinator was David. He was awesome, and very friendly. He made us all feel welcome and comfortable. He was so helpful through everything.
I worked for a communications company outside the city center. It was amazing! A typical day was me coming in at about 10 and I would do my daily measuring of articles in the media for one of our clients, and then I would send e-mails, look up information that I was asked to gather, and wrote press releases. I also got to brainstorm pitch ideas for a new coffee shop that was set to open after my departure.
I stayed with a host family and they were great. It was a single mother, 18-year-old son and 10-year-old daughter. We had no problems, she was very lenient, always had dinner around the same time on the table and offered me more than she had too. It was a great experience and I plan to keep in touch with them!
It definitely met my expectations
Submitted by Anders Mærkedahl Justesen - - | March 07, 2017
I worked with the Malongo Integrated SACCO Society Ltd in Iganga. Upon arrival, Michael Kaidhiwa who was my in-country coordinator, was very accommodating and helpful during my stay, he took me through the current situation of microfinance in Uganda, and more detailed about the Iganga area. He was very kind, and also oriented me about what possibilities I had available in my spare time, and what places I should travel in the weekends.
On a typical day I spend most time doing research for the SACCO, and doing so from the local Musana Sol View cafe, which I found to be a great study environment. Now and then I went on field trips with the loan officer, to first and foremost get loan repayments, but also later to do interviews about the SACCO's members' relationships with the SACCO. And at least once a week I discussed my research and ideas for future changes in the SACCO with the manager. It definitely met my expectations, and has been truly educating. The only problem was if I was working with the same topic for too long, to a degree where it became too trivial, in which case it was easy to get my mind off it with a field trip or a simple change of topic until I was ready to get back.
I lived with the Kaidhiwa family, who was a truly friendly and hospitable host family, and I don't think I could have possible asked for any more in terms of accommodation.
The ELI Portal was definitely effective in helping me with the application process, I found it working exactly to fit the needs. My program adviser, Kevin O'Neill was very helpful and was always available whenever I had any questions. Its just that I found the application process pragmatic to say the least. It was easy because of the guidelines and the available assistance, but a little complicated in my case because I never made a whole resume and such before.
Program: Microfinance in Uganda
A good program
Submitted by Suzanne Lewis | January 23, 2017
The application process was pretty easy, lots of my questions answered. I was picked up at the airport. It was very nice. The orientation took a few hours. Vi did a good job showing me around and introducing me to people. It would also have been better if I was shown around to all the departments from the get go. My placement was at Pasteur Institute Dalat. I volunteered for 30 hours/week.
We started at 8, worked in the clinic, lunch for 1-2 hrs then worked til 4. Good amount of time. I was also included in my host family's activities.
Wonderfully fun time in India
Submitted by Arianne Battersby | January 23, 2017
Everything here went smoothly during the application, but one point of confusion was that I wasn’t 100% clear on what it meant to “apply”. At the time, I was applying for the ELI scholarship contest so I filled out the registration form to get myself into the system and receive more information on the programs. This later was confusing when I wanted to officially proceed with my application but hadn’t received the questionnaire, etc. I know this was just my mistake, but I think it might be helpful/more preferable to future volunteers to have the application process be 2 steps: the “hey I’m seriously considering this, here’s my information” step, followed by the “ok for real, officially sign me up” step. I thought they were very thorough and helpful! Before receiving them I was afraid that I would be bombarding Kenton with questions regarding what to bring/etc, but the predeparture materials covered pretty much everything!
Kenton was my ELI contact. He was wonderfully helpful and I VERY MUCH appreciated his prompt email responses!
I wasn’t met at the airport, but I had been notified & instructed on how to take a prepaid taxi ahead of time. This went fine; the only trouble I ran into was that FastTrack always has a guy take you to your taxi + carry your luggage and he requests a tip (I encountered this every time I took a prepaid FastTrack cab), but I wasn’t prepared for this and didn’t have any small change on me. I think it would be helpful to give volunteers a more thorough description on the taxi process and what to expect, just because that first transaction and interaction in India can be overwhelming!
The orientation was VERY helpful, and fun too! I really enjoyed meeting Viba and visiting the temple & cathedral. It was a great way to be eased into Chennai and learning how to get along there.
My placement was in Prema Vasam. I lived there so I was there all the time!