Review Volunteer Catie O'Dwyer in Kathmandu Nepal at the PreMed program
How was the local Coordinator and the staff and the support provided in-country? The support provided in country was helpful when needed. I could always ask the local coordinator with any questions or concerns and help was always given. During my stay I became sick and everyone was very willing to help with that. I always felt as though help was there when I needed it but I was still given plenty of freedom
2. What was the most surprising thing you experienced while in the program? The most surprising thing I experienced was the difference in weather. Nepal is very different than anywhere else I have been. It is fast passed at times but everyone is incredibly helpful and kind. I really loved the attitude of everyone I met in country.
3. What was most difficult thing you experienced while in the program? The most difficult thing I experienced where in the program was probably the language barrier. It never impacted my experience very much but at sometimes it make communicating a little harder. It was also difficult in the hospital because it was often hard to understand what was happening until it was explained. Take the Nepalese lessons or have a cheat sheet with phrases.
4. Any tips for future volunteers….(clothing, travel information, packing, sightseeing, donations) I packed pretty light and I think this is a good decision. You can buy anything you have forgotten nearby your work site. It’s usually warm so light but conservative clothes are best. As for sightseeing, your local coordinator can be very helpful in giving you places to go asking for a guide can be helpful as well.
4.1 Other things volunteers should know: Kathmandu can be very dirty and polluted, depends of the neighborhood. If you are not used to the smell or smog it can be kind of hard on you. Having a scarf or something to cover your face is great, many of the locals do this as well.
5. Personal paragraph (volunteer program testimonial): I m a college student from the USA studying business with thought of going into public health. My time at the hospital in Kathmandu was very informative and I learned a lot. The experiences I received in Nepal were great and they were incredibly valuable.
6. How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security? Very satisfactory accommodations , were very westernized the meals were always good and security never seemed to be an issue. The room doors lock so possessions were always safe. Also the home stay does everything it can to be accommodating. The facilities come with everything you would need, including a generator for power outages.
7. What was your memory of this trip? Overall I had a great time on this trip. I loved the country and I think I gained a lot from the hospital. What I will really remember though is the culture of Nepal and how friendly its people were my favorite memoirs is probably of holi becomes it was incredibly fun day and really showcased Nepali culture.
8. How was the information you received from ABV prior to traveling? (Emails, website, support) was there anything missing or should be included to prepare other volunteers? I thought the information given by ABV was sufficient. I felt more than prepared for my trip and was taken by surprise by anything in country.
9. Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers about your volunteer experience? Yes, I would be willing to speak to other ABV volunteers about my experience.
1- How was the local ABV Coordinator and the support provided in-country? The local coordinators were great. They were always available to answer questions and provided a tremendous amount of in-country tips and tricks.
2- What was the most surprising thing you experienced?
My most surprising experience was getting attacked by a pack of street dogs. Overall, everything turned out just fine and abv coordinators were helpful in providing direction to the hospital to start my rabies vaccination series.
3- What was most difficult to experience? The most difficult experience for me was the third day of speaking Spanish. I felt as though my brain had ceased to function and I could neither speak nor understand any Spanish.
4- Any tips for future volunteers… (clothing, travel, personal items, donations) If you come to a clinic, bring Band-Aids, prenatal vitamins, and a stethoscope you don’t mind donating.
5.1-Other things volunteers should know: a. Guatemala is great. In Xela you will meet tons of awesome locals and everyone is friendly and happy. b. Cafe Armonia is the best coffee shop in town! c. Tacorazon is an awesome spot to get a delicious burrito near the square and it is really similar to Chipotle.
6- Personal Paragraph (ABV Program Testimonial):
I’m not really sure what to write here, but I would definitely recommend ABV. I can’t express how much I enjoyed working at the rural clinic. The staff at the clinic was wonderful and they really need help! I would tell volunteers that in this setting you will only as helpful as you make yourself available to be. Come, work hard, enjoy your experience!
7- How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security (e: host family, on-site, shared) My host family was great and all of us grew to be good friends. We would occasionally go out to get a beer and in general we all enjoyed each other’s company. Food was great, and the rooms were big and comfortable.
8- What was your favorite memory of this trip? My favorite memory of the trip was probably going to a local school to “de-parasite” the children. Second to that, was a regular 94 year old woman who would bring us cookies each time she came to the clinic for a shot against her back-pain. She walked 2 hours to and from the clinic.
9- How was the ABV USA support prior traveling?
Sarah and the ABV staff were very helpful and provided me with a tremendous amount of pre-travel information.
10 – Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? I’d be more than willing to!
Review Volunteer Lisa Wagner in Belize Orphanage program
My Favorite Memory: Playing duck-duck-goose with the kids and getting kisses on my head..
I was surprised that…. The children were so happy considering they did not have a traditional home experience.
The most difficult thing I experienced was….. The bugs – red ants specifically
My best received lesson….. It doesn’t take a lot to put a smile on somebodies face yet it is soooo impactful.
Tip for future volunteers….. Bring extra clothes as you will change often because of the heat, bring towels, all toiletries need to provide your own water, toilet paper, trash bags, sunscreen and bug spray.
Personal paragraph (Testimonial): This experience opened my eyes that happiness never comes from “things” but comes from love and personal connections.
How would you rate your experience working with the ABV staff, both in the USA and in country? Information received from ABV. Make sure you don’t booked a connection that is too short
How would you describe your accommodation (ie: host family, on-site, shared housing etc) Pillows, sheets and fans provided. Wifi was in one of the volunteer’s home.
Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers? Yes
Review Volunteer Alexis Bailey in Nepal Kathmandu PreMed Program.
How was the local Coordinator and the staff and the support provided in-country? My experience in country was a comfortable balance between helpful support and independence to explore and experience our stay while we were frequently given instruction and led through our stay while also asked to go out, all of our experiences were positive and I feel I am leaving with a new ability to function and interact in both a foreign country and new situation and that is the greatest help support I could have asked for.
2. What was the most surprising thing you experienced while in the program? I was genuinely surprised at how helpful the local people were. They offered advice, gave directions, and always seemed to have our best interest in mind. At the hospital the staff would take note of my interest and seek to explain things. During the weekend, we experienced a hospital visit in Chitwan (out of Kathmandu), as my fellow volunteer were sick, and I was struck by how helpful our guide, driver, and hotel staff were in navigating the entire experience and ensuring the health of Catie. I am not sure I would have experienced the same at home.
3. What was most difficult thing you experienced while in the program? Sometimes days at the hospital were slow and I didn’t understand much due to the language differences. I expected this to be the case, but at times I wished I understood more of the interaction between the staff and patients. Still, I learned a lot through my observation.
4. Any tips for future volunteers….(clothing, travel information, packing, sightseeing, donations) I would budget for weekend trips/activities if desired (US$400-$500 for a weekend in Pokhara & Chitwan). Therefore, the trip can be as cheap or expensive as you desire.
4.1 Other things volunteers should know: Don’t worry much about what you forget because it’s easy to buy things in country. Perhaps bring extra passport photos with you and prepare to present your passport often (so probably carry it on you). If you are flexible and go with flow, you will be fine
5. Personal paragraph (volunteer program testimonial): I am a pre- medical student from Mesa, AZ attending school in Missouri, I greatly enjoyed my time observing in the hospital, and it has spurred my interest in working internationally when I am a doctor. I graduate in one year and then hope to get my Master’s the doctorate in Medicine. This trip has taught me so much and definitely expanded my perspective.
6. How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security? All of this was fine and comfortable. There was nothing I ever felt I needed, and I always felt safe in the home stay. The coordinator and his wife were very helpful and showed us to successfully navigate Nepal.
7. What was your memory of this trip? From this trip I will take away a new awareness of medicine in a country much different than my own. But perhaps my greatest memory will be of interacting with the local people, celebrating their holiday and learning about them. This was very special to me, and it will make my trip very memorable.
8. How was the information you received from ABV prior to traveling? (Emails, website, support) was there anything missing or should be included to prepare other volunteers? The US coordinator was able to answer all my questions and also gave me a more accurate representation of the pre-med trip- it is definitely more of an observation /shadowing experience than actual hands on. This was beneficial for me.
9. Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers about your volunteer experience? Yes.
Review Volunteer Lisa Duong Nepal Kathmandu PreMed Program.
How was the local Coordinator and the staff and the support provided in-country? The local coordinator and staff were incredibly welcoming and friendly. They made sure I was comfortable and exposed me to different types of area of the hospital. I was able to get to know a lot of doctors, nurses and the staff.
What was the most surprising thing you experienced while in the program? The most surprising thing I experienced during the program was how welcoming the staff was at the hospital where I worked at, they let me observe in the operating room and I was able to observe 5 surgeries during my short, one week stay here. I observed a hemorrhoid, appendectomy, biopsy, open cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal), a vaginal hysterectomy with pelvic floor repair. It was really interesting to which the whole OR staff and surgeon work together. I was able to see their pre and postage procedures are it’s definitely a learning experience.
What was most difficult thing you experienced while in the program? The most difficult thing I experienced during the program was learning to adjust to the Nepalese pace of life. It is much, much slower than the US. It’s hard when I wanted something done and everything else is moving at a “turtle” pace. (Haha!) But I had learned that there is a reason for everything and lifestyle of the local Nepalese people is part of their tradition and lifestyle. It is something for foreigners to learn and appreciate from, the Nepalese culture.
Any tips for future volunteers….(clothing, travel information, packing, sightseeing, donations) Try to pack light and once you land at the airport, I recommend that you exchange currency or withdraw funds at the airport to make everything easier, once you exist there are plenty of ATM in the city but sometimes it can be a hassle and maybe sometimes a machine won’t accept your card.
4.1 Other things volunteers should know: Immerse yourself in the Nepalese culture and learn about their tradition, history and their way of life. Open your heart and talk to the locals about themselves. You can feel their warmth, no matter what their living conditions are. Also don’t be afraid to ask questions.
Personal paragraph (volunteer program testimonial): I have learned so much during my stay here in Nepal. While I volunteered at the hospital, I was very fortunate to have been able to observe 5 surgeries but also had the chance to interact with the wonderful doctors and nurses. I was also able to perform several ECG’s and sit in couple endoscopies. The nurses were so kind; they taught me how to change a wound and administrators. It’s my host family are wonderful. They helped me got adjust to the different culture. I will always remember them and all the people I have met, learning about the Nepalese people is fascinating and I personally feel that I have learned a lot grown as a person. I am so glad that I chosen a broader view and Nepal as the country to volunteer at. This trip is an unforgettable one!
How would you describe your accommodation, meals, security? My living accommodation here was very pleasant and comfortable. The bedroom was spacious and clean. The bathroom was also very clean. I felt very safe living here. The meals provided were delicious and I enjoyed it.
7. What was your memory of this trip? My memory of this trip is of how kind, compassionate, and happy the Nepalese people are. I was taking the micro bus one day to the hospital and a young teenager, about 18yrs. old sat next to me. I started talking to him and asking him if he knew where this certain monastery was (which I wanted to visit before work). He was so helpful that he offered to take me to the monastery. He ended up buying my entrance ticket and took two hours out of his own free time to help guide me and explain the Nepalese tradition. I wanted to tip him but he refused and started to run away, telling me to just remember him. What a funny lad! Therefore, my overall memory is how caring the people are and how much they go out of their way to ensure you are having a good experience here in Nepal. I loved every single minute here! The people, young and old have touched my heart.
8. How was the information you received from ABV prior to traveling? (Emails, website, support) was there anything missing or should be included to prepare other volunteers? All the information I received from ABV was sufficient in preparing me for my trip. I had planned this trip at the last minute (like a month and a half prior to departure) and the support I received from Sarah was awesome! She was very responsive and got back to me quickly every single time. This helped me so much in planning all the details. Sarah did a great job and my trip wouldn’t have been this memorable without her help!
9. Are you willing to speak to other potential ABV volunteers about your volunteer experience? Yes.
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