My name is Christina and I came across Spanish Mark as I wanted to learn Spanish and volunteer abroad before entering a new job. Due to my background - I studied Biology and worked in a pharmaceutical company - I volunteered in a healthcare project. I was placed with the Association IDEI (Investigation, Development and Integral Education).
Association IDEI is a non-lucrative, non-religious non- political organization that promotes human development in the Western Highlands in Guatemala, Central America. They implement this through quality health programs, critical education for Integral development, and TB and HIV research. There is active community participation. I got the chance to healthcare volunteer in HIV prevention and research. In my first two weeks, I helped Carlos from IDEI in the communities around Quetzaltenango, doing HIV prevention and testing.
"I was super impressed by the beauty of the country and the warmth of the people."
In my third week I was accompanying Isai to a 2-day meeting with different groups of people to discuss advances and gaps in the implementation of interventions in the local HIV response. IDEI is an amazing organisation doing a great job not only for Guatemala, but also for Central America. I was impressed by their work, enthusiasm and positive thinking. I was the first volunteer from abroad for IDEI. They were caring, answering my questions and explaining their work although my Spanish was a basic level when I started.
All in all, I was super impressed by the beauty of the country and the warmth of the people. I lived with a host family which allowed me to learn more about Guatemalan culture. It also boosted my Spanish to the next level.
My trip to Guatemala with all the experiences I made during volunteering, in my host family, with friends in Xela and while traveling will always have a place in my heart.
Find out how you can become a healthcare volunteer in Guatemala!:
Volunteering Placements in Guatemala
Work alongside local communities in projects that interest you.