ELI Abroad Programs
Volunteer Abroad in Nicaragua! Located in the heart of Granada, the youth center provides meals and a wide variety of educational and vocational program for the needy youth...
ELI Abroad Reviews
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!
It was an awesome experience
Submitted by Shannon Burke | January 23, 2017
During the application process the coordinators helped me for months in advanced to help place me in the best program. Malissa was the one who set up my program, she was lovely and very helpful, answered all my questions
The orientation lasted 2 days. I thought it was great. It gets you settled in and lets you see the city where you are staying and meet other volunteers in a fun way.
I spent 125 hours/week volunteering in the Elephant Camp program. The placement makes good use of your time if you take the initiative to get involved with other things otherwise you could probably be left with little to do. The on-site supervisor is great, he is really friendly and took us on lots of activities in our spare time.
I’ll describe a typical day at the placement:
Wake up early, walk to your elephants stall clean up elephant dung and sweep enclosure with your mahout, ride elephant to the bath where you give them a bath, then have breakfast and either watch the show or teach in the local school, then make vitamins and feed them to the elephants, have lunch and then free time where jin took us on different activities, like making the dung paper, visiting the hill tribe village, going ziplining, white water rafting, walks around the village etc, afternoon bath time or mud bath with your elephant and mahout and then shower free time and head to dinner.
The accommodations were awesome! It was right next to the river and I got to wake up to the sound of elephants every morning.
A few of us got infected bites at the camp and our Local Contact took us to the doctor.
From the beginning everything was perfect
Submitted by Cristina Diaz | December 20, 2016
Mama Gladness is amazing, and it really makes you feel at home. The school where I was teaching it was really nearby the house so I could just walk there everyday. They introduced me to the school headmistress and all the teacher, everyone was so welcoming. At Mama's house they gave me breakfast and dinner, and at the school they gave me lunch.
Mama takes you in like her daughter, and suddenly you have this big Tanzania family that fills your heart with the most sincere love I have ever felt. I am still trying to process everything I have seen and live. The kids were absolutely amazing and loving. We played lots of vocabulary games, and I helped the teachers to include different teaching techniques, and different activities to the daily class.
During the weekends I took a chance to get to know the area, specially Lake Duluti and Arusha National Park a little bit.
Thank you for everything, I have no doubt that I will try to repeat the experience as soon as I can.
Program: Teaching the Maasai