Jillian Westby (18)—Canada

Age: 18
Hometown: Victoria, Canada
Volunteer Date: September, 2012
Volunteer Duration: 5.5 months

“My time at UBECI has been an unforgettable experience. I stayed for five and a half months, (I went through IVHQ) and by the end the time had gone by so fast I wanted to stay for six more! I was with the street children program for the entire time, I asked if I could switch half-way through to the teaching English program, but Byron said I couldn’t. It worked out because even though I was doing the same thing for almost 6 months, it never got boring. Over the course of five months I was able to see big changes in some of the kids, and that was one of the most rewarding aspects of the program. The three staff that work with us each day are amazing. Their energy and commitment to helping every single child in the best way possible is a wonderful example to all of us volunteers. One thing I would like to see is the volunteers being able to talk more with the parents in the markets. I was living with a host family, not in the volunteer house. From the very moment I arrived they treated me like their own daughter, helping me when I didn’t have a phone or internet after arriving in a completely new country by myself! I would definitely recommend staying in a homestay (you can request it through IVHQ) especially if you need to practice your Spanish! I would also recommend practicing your Spanish BEFORE coming to Ecuador, even with just a basic knowledge before you arrive will help immensely, and it is not very effective working with the kids in the market if you can only say Hola. Overall my time in Ecuador has been different, scary, emotional, but also the most amazing time in my life!”

Contact: x_jill11_x@hotmail.com