If you’re seeking an adventure that goes beyond being just a tourist, a chance to immerse yourself in the heart of a community, and create lifelong memories with someone you love, then consider volunteering abroad with a member of your family!
Jennifer from IVHQ along with her daughter, Lucy, spent an incredible week in the enchanting country of Ecuador. This is her story:
For one unforgettable week, Lucy and I ventured to Ecuador in search of an authentic, local experience that would resonate deeply with us. Our desire to step out of our comfort zones led us to the Teaching English program in Santa Elena, a decision that enriched our lives in unexpected ways.
Our home away from home
Ecuador embraced us like home, thanks to a dedicated local team ensuring our safety and comfort. One remarkable woman, who was actually younger than me, became our guiding light. With her, we discovered the essence of Ecuador - its culture, its safety, and its heartwarming communities. She was our anchor, always there to provide guidance and support.
In the heart of Santa Elena, the volunteer house welcomed us warmly. Upgrading to a private room meant we had our own space together, and the communal areas sparked interesting conversations with volunteers of a range of ages, nationalities, and backgrounds. Parents, children, and even a high school teacher in their 30s made up our group of diverse volunteers. Sharing stories and engaging in thought-provoking conversations, we formed bonds beyond borders. It was the deep connections we formed with these wonderful people that made our experience so memorable.
Comfortably stepping out of our comfort zones
Our volunteer adventure was not without its challenges, and that was exactly what we were looking for. Stepping out of our comfort zones meant embracing the unexpected. For instance, living with no hot water became a testament to our commitment to truly experiencing life as the locals do.
Lucy was hoping to teach younger children, however, she found herself among teens her age and older. After initially feeling a little intimidated, Lucy and her newfound friends swapped Instagram details and became a modern day version of “pen pals”, initiating a cross-cultural exchange that continues to enrich their lives.
Warm climate and community
Ecuador’s warmth extended beyond its weather. Everywhere we ventured, we were met with open arms and a sense of camaraderie that left an indelible mark on our hearts. Our weeklong adventure turned into a lifelong memory, filled with the joy of genuine connections and the thrill of discovery.
If you’re yearning for an experience that transcends traditional travel, an opportunity to embrace a new culture, and the chance to create meaningful connections, then I highly recommend you consider volunteering abroad with IVHQ, particularly in Ecuador!
Looking for more inspiration or program recommendations? Check out these travel guides!