Volunteer and Internship Experiences
Since BCA believes that students can learn just as much outside of the classroom, our Quito staff has established dozens of partnerships with NGO’s and governmental institutions to assure professional volunteer and internship experiences that compliment academic study.
Examples of Student Volunteer Experiences
Student Name: Andrea Gibble, Juniata College
Placement: Colegio Becquerel
Description: I volunteered eight hours per week at Colegio Becquerel, a private pre-K through senior high school in Quito. With the BCA-Quito Director, I organized my placement through the director of the colegio, planning to work in four different classes: second and third grade Spanish and English. I observed educators in their classroom teaching in their foreign language, English, and then I taught classes in my foreign language, Spanish. Throughout the semester, I applied my observations to lessons that I taught in all four classes. I was responsible for organizing the room, helping the teacher prepare her materials, leading the morning routine, reading to the students, and teaching lessons. As far as academics are concerned, each week I wrote a reflection on a specified topic to help guide my observations and give them meaning. I collaborated with the colegio's great faculty who have had a variety of experiences making each of them unique and very interesting to speak with. I enjoyed being at the colegio because the teachers and students there became my family. They are whom I miss most since my return to the United States.
Student Name: Jessica Kissel, Brown University
Placement: Afterschool program in Lumbisi (run by the FEVI Foundation)
Description: The FEVI Foundation also organizes other projects, including a daycare and soup kitchen type program, all in Lumbisi. As a volunteer at the afterschool program, I spent two hours a week (you can spend as much or as little time as you want there; I wish I had had more time in my schedule so I could've gotten to know the kids better) helping kids with their homework and later organizing any kind of activity we could think of -- sports, tag, dance lessons, origami, etc. etc. It's a poor community and the school doesn't have many resources; it was a good opportunity to see a different environment since USFQ is a very wealthy university. Also, the kids are great! They are always excited to see volunteers and I got very close to several of them.
Student Name: Jessica Kissel, Brown University,
Placement: Ingles Para Todos (Campus Life Program)
teachers teach English to the maintenance staff of the university. I
taught class for an hour and a half on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I only
had one student, but the afternoon class had a lot more. It was
challenging, because there is no book or curriculum to follow, but it
was a good experience and I enjoyed getting to know my student. It made
me feel more part of the university community.
Student Name: Holly Rittenhouse, Manchester University
Placement:Third Grade Classroom
Description: Wow. My volunteer experience was one of the best and most valuable experiences I've had in Ecuador, and even in my life. I left a part of my heart in that classroom. In addition to learning about teaching, I also learned a lot about Ecuadorian culture just by talking with the class's teacher every day that I volunteered. I can't express how thankful I am for this experience. I should also note that I started volunteering in the school's preschool department, but I immediately found that there was not much need for an English teacher; I mostly "babysat" the kids. However, when I moved to the third grade classroom, I immediately felt needed, and I've felt like an important part of the classroom from that first day. From my experiences in this classroom, I discovered a passion for
teaching English, and I plan to turn teaching English into my own
Student Name: Leia Marasovich, SOKA University of America
Placement:Tulita Kumi‐ Home for At-Risk Women
Description: I learned that working on educating children from a young age is the most powerful way to "change the world." It also inspired me and gave me the idea to open up a permaculture orphanage in the future. Lastly, I learned how important it is to teach people at a home/fundacion/orphanage valuable skills and give them responsibility and tools. This was a challenge at first, because the place was rather disorganized. But the girls are so loving and I really grew to love going. It definitely impacted my study abroad experience in a positive way, and I learned more about Ecuadorians, and the social problems occuring here.
Student Name: Mark Heinbockel, Elizabethtown College
Organization: Amigos Benefactores de Enfermos Incurables - Hogar Adultos (ABEI)
Description: ABEI is a non-profit charity in North Quito that offers palliative care to about 60 adult patients who are present with terminal illnesses and other medical and psychological conditions that require extensive long-term care. I completed a 200+ hour field placement as part of my social work major. Specifically, I spent time interacting with patients and family members and established some very quality relationships. I also helped feed patients lunch, transfer patients in and out of bed, and complete some small filing projects. There were times in which I was involved with special events in the facility, and I was able to assist patients in making Ecuadorian treats and dancing!
I consider myself extremely lucky for having the opportunity to spend so much time at ABEI. I learned so many things about Ecuadorian culture, as patients in the facility were rich and poor and from urban and rural areas. It was extremely rewarding to discuss current events - from Ecuador and the United States - with individuals in the facility. Aside from developing relationships with patients and families, I was able to drastically improve my Spanish language skills and learn a little about the health system in Ecuador. As an extension of this experience, I completed a project during my senior year in order to achieve honors in the discipline that focused on differences between family participation in the care of elderly individuals in the United States in Ecuador. It still makes me smile to think about my time at ABEI!