Would you recommend Intercultural Outreach Initiative?
Lindsay G. - host family story
Two loving families in life please?
In truth, my entire three months spent on Isabela Island has been a life changing experience. I must say, hands down, the greatest eye opening influence of my time here has come from my host family. Coming here, my greatest worry concerned living with a host family. What will they be like? Will they accept me? What if we don’t get along?
All my worries dissipated the first day upon arrival when my mother, father, and little sister greeted me with open arms and smiling faces. Right away, I realized that the residents of Puerto Villamil are the kindest, most endearing, well-connected, and sincere people I have ever met.
The host-family student relationship is not fake, its not like playing house—It’s real. I never thought I, a twenty one year old from New Jersey, could connect with a Galapagueno family. I barely spoke Spanish before this trip, knew nothing about the customs, and haven’t lived home for three years, y
Galapagos Turtle Center – Conservation Volunteer - (Nicole Lin):
Working with Galapagos Giant Tortoises for three months at the Breeding Center was definitely a once in a lifetime experience. From digging for eggs to feeding adult tortoises that can live up to 150 years, I was able to work intimately with these unique species. I was able to see a side of these animals that most passing tourists miss. Each Tortoise has a unique personality, and their curiosity is entertaining. They love their “desayuno” and will do anything to get their food. Feeding days were my favorite as we often had to lure the tortoises away from the gate in order to bring the barrel of food in. We would take two leaves of otoi and slap them together to catch their attention while whistling and yelling “desayuno!”. We were definitely an entertainment factor for tourists as well.
Volunteering and engaging with the community made my experience in the Galapagos unique and worthwhile.
Galapagos Turtle Center - Conservation Volunteer (Laura Piontkowski):
Walking into social media for the first time, I was very excited. I got to work with Amanda, the only student I knew before coming on this trip, as well as a girl who I worked with before at Miami for the school’s field hockey club. We both were on the executive board for the club, so we knew how to work together. We got our full orientation of the social media department, and we got to know Astrid, the social media boss of IOI.
I loved working in the social media department because everything was so consistent, something that is hard to find on an island.
I am grateful of the skills that I was able to learn from social media, but I am also grateful of the relationship that I was able to build with Astrid. I gained a new skill in the social media department, but I also gained a new friend that has shaped my experience in the Galapagos.