As an Ecuador medical volunteer, you will gain first-hand insight and exposure to the Ecuadorian health care system. Not only this, PMGY’s Ecuador volunteer programs provide a great foundation to improve your Spanish. Delve deeper into the traditional healing beliefs of the local people. Focus your time and energy into specific departments at the hospital as a medical volunteer.
MEDICAL VOLUNTEER PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS
CONTRIBUTE TOWARDS THE UN'S SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOAL NO.3 - HEALTH
ROTATE ACROSS DEPARTMENTS WEEKLY OBSERVING MEDICAL PROFESSIONALS
LEARN ABOUT THE HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IN ONE OF QUITO’S BIGGEST PUBLIC HOSPITALS
ENJOY THE LOCAL CULTURE WITH SALSA CLASSES & ECUADORIAN CUISINE CLASSES
AMAZING TRAVEL OPPORTUNITIES TO THE GALAPAGOS ISLANDS & AMAZON JUNGLE
BACKGROUND TO THE MEDICAL PROGRAM
In the late 1990s, Ecuador suffered from an extremely weak government with one of the worst financial systems in South America. The healthcare provided was that of the middle ages. For the reason that healthcare costs could never be met by the average monthly salary. Furthermore, unemployment was at over 10% of the population and 20% of people were living in poverty. The system was failing and people were faced with little to no solution.
In 2000 Rafael Correa took office. During his early years, although hit with crisis after crisis, he established one of the strongest healthcare systems in the continent. At the beginning of his time, there were few hospitals and medical care providers in the city. So much so, that the patients were receiving the level of care similar to the standard of a rural clinic.
Due to these measures, Correa invested over 2,000 million USD into the healthcare budget. As a result, 18 new hospitals in major cities were commissioned. Furthermore, 250 healthcare centres and health clinics were built in rural villages nationwide.
Since these changes, locals describe all care to be equal across the country. Whether they visit a rural village clinic or a major hospital in the city of Quito, consistency in care was achieved. The care will be nearly the same quality with only a difference in the availability of specialists in the small facilities.
Changes to the healthcare system are also reflected by the levels of coverage. The system is broken down into four parts; private, public, social care and no coverage. Those with private care are the working class; this care is provided under a purchased insurance plan. In addition to the private system, there is the Social Care system. Such a system is similar to the Social Security system of the United States.
This system applies to citizens that have applied portions of their income to the government care plan. Consequently, they are provided with coverage allowance for healthcare. The public system is free to everyone who has been denied care. In most cases, this is for those with a terminal illness, over the age of 60, under the age of 10 and impoverished.
Volunteer opportunities in Ecuador provided by PMGY will provide you with a platform. Such a platform that allows for valuable exposure to medicine and healthcare projects within a new culture. For the reason that many of the facilities, procedures and operations you observe will be completely new to you.
More specifically, they will be completely different from how things are done in your home country. As an Ecuador medical volunteer, you will need to schedule your time and skills effectively to make the most out of your project time. This is to ensure you can maximise your exposure and learning opportunities at the project.
Should medical volunteers in Ecuador wish to consider alternative or additional projects, our medical volunteer projects in India is recognised as our leading medical volunteer opportunity. For the reason that volunteers receive high exposure and involvement across a range of placement and project settings.
MEDICAL VOLUNTEER PLACEMENT EXAMPLE
Hospital Enrique Garces - PMGY medical volunteers in Ecuador apply their time in a public hospital in Quito. The project is at Hospital Enrique Garces. This is one of the few care centres offering free healthcare for the people in and around the capital. This is one of the biggest public hospitals in Quito. The hospital provides volunteers with the opportunity to join in 8 different wards. Such wards include:
Internal Medicine (speciality departments), Paediatrics, Gynaecology, Occupational Therapy, Trauma, Out-Patient, Surgery Consult Department
The hospital is very happy to have university students and medical volunteers, but they take the position quite seriously. Volunteers on this project are not required to have any medical education. However, volunteers are advised to have some form of volunteer work experience. Examples of this can include in a community care setting or clinical volunteering hours.
The project does accept school leavers with no experience looking to enter the medical field. However, such participants should be prepared with questions and learning objectives for the doctors and nurses. Furthermore, such volunteers should adopt a positive attitude to gain what they can from the program.
The minimum time in any department will be 2 weeks. The ward will be assigned based on your level of Spanish. The recommended time for this medical project is 4+ weeks to properly apply yourself in the listed departments. When assigned to a department, on the first day you will meet and be introduced to the head of that department.
Medical students are advised to note that all of the staff at the hospital typically only speak in Spanish. Thus, they have little to no English. So volunteers will need to have a good level of Spanish to communicate efficiently with the local staff. Otherwise, volunteers will incur a high language barrier and thus a frustrating learning experience.
Volunteers will join the program Monday-Friday. The project will begin at 7:30am each day to ensure you get a busy morning. The average time on the project will be 5 hours finishing in the early afternoon or time off requested completion. An example of a day on the paediatric ward could be as follows:
• 7:30am-8:30am - Report to the paediatric ward. Observe inpatient rounds with a nurse for medication, consultation and viewing.
• 9am-9:30am - Observe injections for children in need of updated vaccine charting.
• 9:30am-10:30am - Assist care provider by engaging children in games or play while they provide necessary treatment for external wounds, infections or therapy due to disabilities.
• 10:30am-11am - Break time.
• 11am-12pm - Shadow doctor during rounds providing consultation and admission to the hospital.
• 12pm-12:30pm - Assist care providers with counsel and care planning with family for patient discharge plan.
While volunteering in Ecuador you may encounter a variety of illnesses. Examples include acute respiratory infection, diarrhetic diseases, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, depression, malnutrition, physical abuse and altitude sickness. As this is a facility for those with low-income or unemployment the severity of illness will vary. This hospital provides care to those within the city and also the surrounding rural developments.
As a medical volunteer, you may encounter indigenous people that rely on holistic methods of care. The belief of the Incan people is to be one with Mother Earth and live a balanced life. The use of western medications or treatments doesn’t meet that of their traditional belief system.
At times you may encounter people that have received many holistic treatments. These are people traditionally from a more rural or indigenous area. They are brought to the hospital in a severe state and in desperate need of antibiotics and other medications. The hospital system, in general, is centred around prescriptions of western medications for treatments.
STUDENT ELECTIVE OPPORTUNITIES
We are able to provide specialist elective placements for students in Ecuador. Students looking to enjoy a unique overseas elective experience can do so with PMGY. Learn directly from health professionals in medical settings like no other. As an Ecuador medical volunteer, you can specify during the online application process which clinical elective you wish to undertake. More specifically, highlight your elective experience in the 'Special Requirements' section of the online application. The PMGY Ecuador team will then have everything planned and in place for your elective in Ecuador.
Medical - Head to South America to hone in on your clinical skills while on your medical elective. Witness a healthcare system unlike your own as you encounter a new insight into traditional beliefs. Choose to specialise your time across some of the 8 wards that the public hospital is home to. Work alongside the heads of each department during inpatient rounds, assist care providers where possible and shadow consultations regularly. Staff typically speak very little English, so it is advised to have a good level of Spanish to communicate effectively.
Nursing - Spend your nursing elective in Ecuador at one of the largest public hospitals in Quito. Get exposure to all branches of nursing as you buddy up with local nurses. You will rotate across a range of hospital wards on a weekly basis to delve deeper into Ecuador’s healthcare system. Depending on your level of Spanish, you may be able to support nurses with counselling programs. This can extend to helping local doctors issue care plans. Learn about holistic treatments as healthcare staff treat people that come from the indigenous areas.
YOUR VOLUNTEER ROLE & TYPICAL WORK DAY
International volunteers will spend most of their time observing on the wards assisted by nurses and doctors. In some cases, they will be asked to assist in engaging small children with activities while they receive treatment. There is a chance if volunteers speak Spanish to get involved with counselling. This can extend to helping local doctors with care plans for families with patients in the hospital.
In general, your medical volunteer work in Ecuador will be Monday–Friday. The project will begin at 7:30am each day. This is to ensure you get a busy morning and can help the medical staff out appropriately. The average time on the volunteer programs abroad will be 3-5 hours finishing in the early afternoon.
You will be required to take a 45 minute bus ride to reach the medical project. The bus stop is located nearby to the volunteer accommodation. Furthermore, the local team will assist you in learning the routes to your volunteer project. As a result, you will be acquainted with how to get to and from your volunteer project.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER AS A MEDICAL VOLUNTEER IN ECUADOR
Spanish Requirements - For the medical program in Ecuador, we recommend that you speak intermediate Spanish. We find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.
PMGY also offer Online Spanish Lessons that you can take before your trip. The lessons provide you with the opportunity to receive one-on-one classes from a trained Spanish teacher. Classes are held via Zoom and can be worked around your schedule back in your home country.
We also offer a learn Spanish in Ecuador program which you can take part in prior to your volunteer placement. This provides you with 20 hours-per-week of group Spanish lessons. Both of these options can be added during our online application process. They are highly recommended if you want to make the most of your volunteer placement.
Once you are in-country then you are also able to organise additional Spanish lessons directly with our local team. Volunteer feedback suggests that it can often be tiring to complete Spanish lessons at the same time as your volunteer programs in Ecuador. Consequently, we generally recommend extending your Language Immersion Program.
University Students Only - Volunteers are advised to note that the hospital/clinics will not permit applicants who are not studying medicine, healthcare sciences or nursing at university. Unfortunately, there are no exceptions to this rule.
Project Requirements - Volunteers are advised to bring with them 2 or 3 ID photos for their hospital ID. You will receive the ID on your first day. This will allow more openings for participants in terms of greater department availability and entry openings. Volunteers, in general, will need to register sign in and sign out at the hospital department each day they attend.
Please be aware that care provisions may not meet the autonomy or standards of your home country. In South America, volunteers may encounter situations where family members have been victims of domestic violence. This can extend to other forms of physical assault. We ask that those on this program keep an open mind. More specifically, be prepared for different experiences than what you may encounter within medical studies at home.
Hands-On Involvement - Your level of involvement at the medical volunteer projects is dictated by a range of factors. First of all your medical experience, but also the duration of program and willingness to get involved. The medical staff are accountable for you whilst you’re under their supervision. Ultimately, it is completely up to them if you are permitted and want to get involved in hands-on procedures.
Previous PMGY Ecuador medical volunteer participants have been given the chance to administer IV injections, dress wounds etc. However, please note we can never guarantee or promote hands-on involvement regardless of medical experience or background.
Generally speaking those with little or no medical experience assume a largely observational role. If you are studying a medically related degree, then you should have more opportunity to undertake some more basic hands-on involvement. However, to reiterate we can never guarantee or endorse hands-on experience should you choose to get hands-on. Such a decision ultimately lies with the medical staff.
Trained Professionals - Please note this program is not suitable for trained professionals who are looking to practise overseas. This opportunity is only suitable for school leavers & medical students looking to go into the medical or nursing field and wish to learn about a healthcare system overseas.
Weekends - Your project work in Ecuador runs from Monday-Friday and weekends are free. You are welcome to relax and hang out at the volunteer accommodation but most participants will use this time to travel and explore the country. As a result, you can check out our Ecuador Weekend Travel Guide for top tips on how to spend your weekend.
CHOOSING A VOLUNTEER TRIP
Can people from outside of the UK or USA volunteer with PMGY?
Of course! Although PMGY was founded in the UK, with offices now extending between the UK and US, we welcome participants of all nationalities onto our programs. Within the last decade, we have hosted tens of thousands of volunteers from across the globe. From France to Italy, Mexico to India, Namibia to Russia and Ireland to China – these are only a handful of the countries volunteers have joined us from! We want everyone from across the world to have an equal opportunity at experiencing a different perspective on life, and make friends across the world.
Why are PMGY’s fees so much more affordable than other organisations?
The PMGY International Team works hard to ensure that our fees are kept as low as possible. Consequently, this makes our experiences affordable and accessible without sacrificing the safety and quality of the overall experience.
Registration Fees to join our programs are assigned to the high levels of comprehensive support that we are renowned for. This includes telephone and online support staff available 24 hours each day, as well as detailed hand-guides and interactive webinars. Therefore, the remaining Program Fees to join the program go directly to our in-country teams, covering everything for your time volunteering. In general, these fees are reflected in your accommodation, meals, airport pick-up, in-country support and project upkeep during your time abroad. Furthermore, we make sure our fees are transparent, which is something our volunteers really appreciate.
Similar organisations offer fancy brochures, run large high-street offices and are usually owned by larger travel organisations with many shareholders. As a result, participants are charged an extremely high price to cover all of these overheads. Therefore, at PMGY, we have embraced the online age by focusing everything around an online presence. We have done away with out-dated brochures, an unnecessary high street presence and we are an independent organisation without any outside financial interests.
What are the requirements to volunteer in Ecuador?
PMGY welcomes medical volunteers in Ecuador of all nationalities, religions and backgrounds. The minimum age to join the program is 18 and there is no upper age limit. Furthermore, all volunteers need to have a good level of English, although it does not need to be your first language.
For our programs in Ecuador, we recommend that you speak basic to intermediate Spanish. The programs only require you to speak a basic level of Spanish. However, we find that the ability to speak a good level of the Spanish language will greatly enhance your overall experience. This is because English is generally not widely spoken. So if you do not speak a reasonable level of Spanish then you will find it difficult to communicate. As a result, this could lead to a more frustrating experience.
As an Ecuador medical volunteer, you must be able to provide a clean criminal background check in advance of volunteering with us abroad. Thus, we are unable to accept anyone who has any previous criminal convictions. In general, no formal experience or qualifications are required for the projects, just lots of energy, enthusiasm and preparation! However, medical and healthcare projects usually require additional documentation before participation begins in-country.
Volunteering overseas can be both physically and mentally challenging. Therefore, all participants must be fit in both areas. Consequently, if you have any medical/mental health conditions that may affect your participation overseas, then these must be declared to us during your online application. If you have any queries regarding your suitability to participate, we recommend that you contact us before committing to the program.
What date should I arrive and leave the Ecuador volunteer program?
For your volunteer trip to Ecuador, you should book your flights to Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito on the Sunday start date. The airport code is UIO. You will be met at the airport by a member of the local team or an appointed driver, who will be holding a named sign. They will take you to your accommodation where you will spend the rest of your day at leisure.
The program ends on the Saturday of your final week. Therefore, you must depart the accommodation on this day.
When is the best time of year to volunteer in Ecuador?
Feedback from medical volunteers in Ecuador often suggests that it is best to join a PMGY project outside the European summer months. This is since June-August tends to be when we have peak numbers at each of our projects and volunteer accommodations. Conversely, outside of these months, there is typically the greatest opportunity to become fully immersed in the project and within the local community.
Are there any age restrictions to be a volunteer in Ecuador?
In order to join as an Ecuador medical volunteer, you need to be at least 18 on the program start date. Generally, the average age range of volunteers is 18-25.
There is no upper age limit to our programs, and in the past, we have hosted participants up to the age of 70-years old. Whilst we have found that our more mature participants get a lot from the experience, at times individuals have found it more challenging to integrate with a younger crowd. Furthermore, some participants have perhaps expected a higher level of accommodation, the structure within the local community, and general overall communication at the project setup. Consequently, whilst we welcome volunteers of all ages, we stress that all participants should remain open-minded and flexible. Additionally, participants must appreciate that the majority of our participants are across the 18-25 age range.
When should I apply to be a medical volunteer in Ecuador?
For the majority of our programs, you can apply at any time. However, we advise that you apply as soon as possible to ensure we have availability on the program. This is since some of our programs only have limited capacity, meaning that spaces get filled very quickly. Therefore, it is particularly important that you apply in good time if you’re looking to travel between our peak period of June and August. This is because spaces can fill up very quickly during this period. Furthermore, please only apply if you are 100% committed to joining the program. You need to apply online by locating the “Apply Now” button on the individual project page. This will guide you through our online Application Process.
Indeed, once you have applied and confirmed your place on the program, it may be possible to change your start dates and this will not incur a fee. However, please note that this will be subject to availability and any changes should be made at least 45 days prior to your start date.
What duration would you recommend to volunteering for?
Based on feedback from previous medical volunteers in Ecuador, we believe that 4-6 weeks is the ideal amount of time to volunteer. Consequently, this means you have enough time to integrate into the local community and really get involved in a project. For one thing, you will be able to make a positive impact on community development. Additionally, you will have a greater opportunity to explore during your weekends. Medical volunteers in Ecuador who join us for 2 weeks frequently tell us that this was long enough and wish they had stayed for longer!
For those looking to potentially join us for a longer period, we recommend checking out our Encounter Programs that offer a 2-4 week stay across 3-10 destinations.
Can I volunteer abroad with my friend/parent/boyfriend/girlfriend?
You’re more than welcome to travel and volunteer with friends, family members or with a boyfriend/girlfriend. If required, we can make sure that you stay in the same accommodation and volunteer for the same project. However, please note the majority of our volunteer accommodation is on a single-sex basis. Consequently, we cannot guarantee that you would be able to be placed in the same room.
Please outline in the ‘Special Requirements’ box of your online application if you’d like to make sure you’re placed alongside another applicant/s.
Is it safe to travel to PMGY destinations?
Although our volunteers work in the developing world, we work hard to ensure that our host locations are safe. Firstly, volunteer safety in each of our destinations is monitored regularly. Each of our volunteer programs has been inspected by a member of the PMGY International Team. Additionally, PMGY closely follows advice published by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Alongside the frequent contact we have with our local teams, we are able to ensure that our volunteers are never placed in unstable or unsafe regions.
The PMGY International Team have visited and participated in every program we offer. Thus, we have carefully inspected every little detail of our set-up, from the living conditions to local neighbourhoods and even the food you’ll be eating. Through these checks, we are able to ensure that all of our projects are up to scratch. Furthermore, all of our local teams are experienced development professionals, with years of experience hosting international volunteers. They are PMGY’s representatives on the ground and assist volunteers 24/7 throughout their stay. Our teams are therefore always on-hand to assist in any emergencies that may occur. Additionally, our 24 hour international emergency telephone line is always accessible. PMGY’s in-country staff also have access to local medical professionals should these be required during a participant’s time with us.
When you join as an Ecuador medical volunteer, we will send you a Volunteer Handbook. This document addresses a range of issues such as health, safety, visas and dress codes. For any unanswered or specific questions, PMGY offers a comprehensive support network, with online and telephone support staff available 24 hours each day. Our advisers welcome participants to ask as many questions as needed for them to effectively prepare for their trip overseas. On a monthly basis, our International Team also hosts both an Introductory Webinar and Safety Webinar. These are interactive opportunities for international volunteers to learn more about our projects and managing their safety overseas.
When you arrive in-country, you’ll be given a comprehensive introduction to the general volunteer program and your specific project. During this session, our team will also cover important safety advice specific to your country. You’ll also be given the opportunity to purchase a local SIM-card. This is something we strongly suggest, so you’re contactable at all times. In like manner, we will provide you with a full list of the important contact numbers that you’ll need to know.
Although we cannot guarantee your volunteer experience to be 100% trouble-free we have taken all the necessary precautions to make sure each program is as safe as possible.
When do I pay for my volunteer program? Can I pay in instalments?
In order to confirm your place as an Ecuador medical volunteer, you need to pay a deposit of 249 USD. The remaining fee is then due no less than 45 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge. If you’re applying within 45 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Payments made in advance of the 45 day window can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur. Bank transfers can be accepted by UK participants only.
Can I use the program as part of a university or college placement?
It is certainly possible to be an Ecuador medical volunteer as part of your university or college placement. However, PMGY is unable to guarantee that your time as an Ecuador medical volunteer will fulfil the requirements of your establishment. Therefore, participants are encouraged to speak to a member of the International Team to establish whether the required parameters can be met. This should be done in advance of applying to the program. When appropriate, school/college/university representatives are welcome to contact PMGY to discuss further the suitability of the program in meeting the participant’s requirements. In addition, we can arrange educational school trips to Ecuador.
First of all, the PMGY International Team are able to complete paperwork after an Ecuador medical volunteer has confirmed their place on the program. Additionally, project staff in Ecuador can also sign-off any paperwork that is required by your course tutors. However, while our team will do their best to complete any paperwork, we are unable to guarantee that we will be able to comply with every learning objective and requirement or your university/college. PMGY regularly receives medical, nursing, childcare and psychology placement students on our projects globally, with ties with some leading universities.
If you’re a course tutor and would like further information about how one of PMGY’s programs could meet the placement requirements for your course, please contact us directly to schedule a meeting.
BEFORE YOU DEPART
Can I fundraise for my volunteer trip?
With PMGY, the money our volunteers pay goes towards the structure you receive on the Ecuador volunteer program. The fundamentals of this cover aspects such as accommodation, airport pick-ups, around the clock support from our international and in-country teams, pre-departure training as well as the implementation and monitoring of the projects.
We do our best to keep our program costs as low and affordable as possible, without sacrificing quality and safety. However, with flights, travel insurance and spending money to factor into your overall budget, you may find you need a little bit of help with the finances. Consequently, a large number of PMGY volunteers decide to fundraise for their trip. In these instances, we recommend that medical volunteers in Ecuador set up an online fundraising page to notify friends and family of your trip.
PMGY have partnered with the online crowdfunding website GoGetFunding for volunteers to create a personalised fundraising page for their trip. This professional online fundraising service allows you to set financial goals and get the message across about what you’re doing. You can also share your PMGY fundraising page across various social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread the word.
Can I raise money for the projects?
The PMGY Foundation is a UK registered charity (1169415). This charity has been created to help provide financial aid and assistance to projects we work with on an ongoing basis. Importantly, the objective of the PMGY Foundation is the prevention or relief of poverty for people living in the communities we support. This is achieved by providing or assisting the provision of education, training, healthcare and general living support. Therefore together, we hope that the support offered by the PMGY Foundation helps to enable individuals to generate a sustainable income and be self-sufficient. Consequently, donations made to the PMGY Foundation will be directed to the projects most in need. This is determined by the trustees of the charity during our International Team overseas visits.
If you are looking to help raise money directly for the PMGY Foundation, you can do so via our Virgin Money Giving fundraising page. 100% of all money raised will be donated directly to the projects we support around the world. However, please note that participants are unable to raise money through the PMGY Foundation to help finance the cost of their trip overseas. For medical volunteers in Ecuador looking for further information on how to raise money for their trip abroad, please visit our fundraising page.
How do I register for your online webinars?
Every Tuesday at 4pm (London time), the PMGY International Team hosts one of four pre-departure webinars. These last approximately 45 minutes each and importantly provide volunteers in Ecuador with invaluable advice on their upcoming trip. The webinars are hosted by a member of our International Team, who all have extensive knowledge of our projects around the globe. You can attend (and even ask questions) from anywhere in the world, simply by logging in through your own computer. All you need is a computer, a good internet connection and a pair of headphones. In addition to this, if any family or friends would like to attend the session as well, they are more than welcome to do so.
For individuals who have not yet signed up to one of our programs, but would like to learn more about us, we encourage you to join our Introductory Webinar. Across 45 minutes, a member of the International team will introduce you to the concept of volunteering abroad, our destinations and both social and safety aspects of our programs.
For medical volunteers in Ecuador who have already confirmed their volunteering role on the program, there are three for you to choose from. Please note that you need to sign up for the webinar a few days in advance.
Travel Essentials Pre-Departure Webinar – covers all the basics.
Program Preparation Webinar – covers specifically childcare and teaching community work programs.
Safety & Wellbeing Overseas Webinar – covers the risks associated with overseas travel and how you can keep as safe as possible.
Will I require vaccinations and malaria tablets for my volunteer work?
It is possible that as an Ecuador medical volunteer you may require a course of vaccinations in preparation for your volunteer work in Ecuador. However, unfortunately, PMGY is unable to legally advise on these matters, since we are not medical experts. Therefore, it is vital that you contact your local doctor or travel clinic a few months in advance of your intended travel. Your local doctor/nurse will be able to advise you on vaccinations and malaria prevention you may need for entry into your volunteer destination. Additional information can be found on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights to volunteer in Ecuador?
When you apply to be an Ecuador volunteer, we cannot guarantee your place on the program immediately. Indeed, on receiving an application, we have to liaise with our local team to ensure there is space available on the program and to assess your suitability for the specific project. Therefore, we strongly recommend that you do not make any flight and/or travel arrangements until your program has been confirmed by us in writing. Of course, once your place as an Ecuador medical volunteer has been confirmed, you are then free to book your flights either with PMGY or through a third-party travel agent.
After confirming your place on a PMGY volunteer program, we strongly advise that you book your flights as early as possible. This is since it will help ensure that you get the lowest airfare. You can choose to book your flights independently or we can help you with arranging them. PMGY has a wealth of experience in travelling to and from our host countries. Therefore, we know the most affordable ways to travel and the best airlines to use. Therefore, if you would like any assistance booking your flight, you can request an optional flight quote during your online application. Alternatively, feel free to contact us on the phone or by email.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Importantly, having an appropriate travel insurance policy during your time abroad is essential. Therefore, it is mandatory for all of our international volunteers to be appropriately covered across all of their trip dates. This includes your travel to and from the host country, as well as any onward travel. Although PMGY does everything to ensure your trip is safe, inevitably things can go wrong. Therefore, having a travel insurance policy in place helps you effectively deal with any problems you may encounter during your time away.
We have partnered up with the insurance company Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive optional policy. This has been designed with our international volunteers in mind, to cover our participants for all of their travel essentials. The policy is available to anyone across the globe, up to the age of 65 years. The document will cover you for your time on any PMGY destination and any onward travel (excluding the US and Canada). You can purchase PMGY Travel Insurance during your online application or you can contact us directly to arrange it.
How do I obtain a background check?
To become an Ecuador medical volunteer, you’ll need to provide us with a clean DBS or Police Check before you travel. This is a check that must be issued by an official Governmental or Police Body. PMGY have a commitment to the projects we support to ensure the volunteers we send are trustworthy and of sound moral character. Consequently, we are unable to accept participants who have had any previous criminal convictions.
If you hold a current DBS or Police Check, then we can accept this, providing it is clear and issued no more than 18 months prior to your program start date. You will need to upload a copy of this to your online portal after confirming your place on the program. Furthermore, the DBS or Police Check must be submitted to us no less than 21 days prior to your program start date.
If you don’t have a valid DBS check, then you will need to apply for one. UK volunteers need to apply for a “Basic Disclosure” through Gov.uk (which serves all people in the UK). This costs 23 GBP and takes around 15 working days to process. Full information on how to obtain a DBS check through Gov.uk is outlined in the Volunteer Handbook, received once you have confirmed your place as an Ecuador medical volunteer.
For medical volunteers in Ecuador from the US, you can apply for a background check through Sentry Link. It costs 19.95 USD and is usually processed immediately. Alternatively, you are welcome to arrange your own background check through your local Sheriff’s Office or governmental body.
For all other international participants, we recommend you obtain a Police/Criminal Background Check through your local police station or official governmental body.
When will I receive my Volunteer Handbook?
All volunteers in Ecuador will receive a PMGY Volunteer Handbook once they have paid their deposit and confirmed their place on the program. We will send you an email entitled ‘Welcome to PMGY’ which will include a link where you can download the Volunteer Handbook. Please note that we do not send a hard copy of the PMGY Volunteer Handbook.
This Handbook contains everything you need to know to prepare as an Ecuador medical volunteer. Ranging from what to pack to how to obtain a visa, we do our best to ensure you are ready to hit the ground running. Therefore, it is really important that you read through the Volunteer Handbook carefully once you’ve downloaded it. If you find any of your questions unanswered after reading through this, then our team are always on hand to assist you. You can contact us via email, telephone, Zoom, Facebook, online chat…whatever works best for you!
ON YOUR TRIP
Can I arrange a private room?
All of our accommodation options on the Ecuador volunteer program involve sharing a room with other participants (usually same-sex). Unfortunately, we are unable to arrange private room options for our medical volunteers in Ecuador.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
During your volunteer trip to Ecuador, meals are not included. However, the Volunteer House will be equipped with a kitchen including all the appliances and items needed. As a result, you will be able to prepare your own meals. It is your responsibility to manage your own dietary requirements when doing so.
Are there any public holidays that affect project availability?
We aim to communicate as clearly and accurately as possible all holidays that impact project availability. This information can be found via our Holiday Dates page and in the Volunteer Handbook. However, due to the nature of developing countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change. In turn, these can unexpectedly affect project availability. Therefore in such instances, we ask our volunteers to be flexible and appreciative of this. These periods often provide volunteers in Ecuador with a unique experience to enjoy the festivities and holidays themselves. However, our local teams will always do their best to find alternative project work if applicable/possible.
What is the dress code at the projects?
Dress code varies from country-to-country and sometimes from project-to-project. Importantly, we ask that our volunteers adopt a smart and responsible image during their time in the communities. Of course, we will outline the specific dress code requirements in your Volunteer Handbook so you know exactly what to pack. In addition to this, our local team will also brief you during your in-country orientation on arrival in Ecuador.
The general rule of thumb for girls is to cover shoulders, chest, stomach and thighs. In a like matter, for men, shorts should not lie above the knee and shirts should cover shoulders. Whilst we do not wish to impose strict regulations on our volunteers, we do ask that you respect the local culture during your travels. Moreover, dressing appropriately will earn you the respect of the people you’ll be working with. Therefore, our Volunteer Handbooks, outline preferred dress-codes in detail.
Additionally, it’s also a good idea to take some nicer clothes for the weekends and special occasions. However, please avoid tight and very short clothing. You should also avoid clothing that may have potentially offensive slogans on it. Tattoos and piercings should be covered where possible whilst you’re at your placement, particularly if you’re working with children.
How much spending money will I need?
The amount of extra spending money you should take with you as an Ecuador medical volunteer can depend on a multitude of factors. Considerations include what you undertake during your free time and how many souvenirs you purchase! Therefore, if you plan to go for a safari in Tanzania or perhaps go trekking in South Africa, you will need to budget accordingly. However, for general expenses and some independent travel, you should find 100-150 USD per week a suitable amount.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the program?
You’ll have plenty of opportunities to travel during your time with PMGY. In fact, we encourage you to travel during your free time! Most of our programs have been designed so that you have weekends off. Therefore, this gives you the opportunity to explore the local area or even travel further afield within your host country. Our local coordinators will provide you with all the weekend opportunities and travel tips you need to help you plan any independent adventures. During your time as an Ecuador medical volunteer, you are sure to make some travel buddies along the way!
Before booking your flights, we recommend that you look into travel opportunities across dates on either side of your volunteering placement. It is always great to spend some time travelling and seeing more of the country you wish to volunteer in. However, if you plan to travel extensively, please factor this into your flight itinerary. This is since we only encourage travel during weekends while you’re volunteering, as you have made a commitment as an Ecuador medical volunteer.
During your time on the Ecuador volunteer programs, you will live in our Volunteer House. This is located in central Quito, the country’s capital. You will find restaurants, convenience stores, cafés, pubs and ATMs all within walking distance. You’ll be living with other volunteers from around the world, so you’ll make plenty of friends along the way.
The accommodation is comfortable with free Wi-Fi. Each room has single/bunk beds with up to 3 people per room in same-sex rooms. Volunteers are provided with cupboard space and bed linens. Bathrooms are shared but have a shower and western style toilet. The majority of volunteer projects are not within walking distance. Consequently, the local coordinators will educate you on the bus routes for your daily commute to your project.
The Volunteer House has a communal area for volunteers to hang out after completing volunteer work in Ecuador. We encourage you to bring some small padlocks and/or store any valuables in your own bags. In addition, there is fridge space available for volunteers to store any chilled items. The Volunteer House is a quick walk from laundry services.
Once a week there will be a communal cleaner who comes to the house. Subsequently, the communal cleaner will be on hand to change bedsheets as well as clean the toilet and shower area. However, the kitchen and communal areas, as well as personal spaces, are international volunteers responsibility to keep clean. In short, it is the volunteer responsibility to respect the environment they are living in.
Volunteers are housed within a hip area of Quito. For instance, the Volunteer House is encompassed with restaurants, cafes, boutiques and pubs. The house will have a security guard on-site to ensure that volunteers are safe. There are fully equipped kitchens to prepare all of your food within the house. To sum up, the volunteer accommodation setup offers volunteers a unique experience. That is, you get the opportunity to live with other volunteers as well as an independent living environment.
During our busiest months (June to September) on the volunteer in Ecuador program, you may be placed at alternative accommodation. For instance, you could be placed in a nearby guesthouse or one of our summer Volunteer Houses.
During your volunteer trip to Ecuador, meals are not included. However, the Volunteer House will be equipped with a kitchen including all the appliances and items needed. As a result, you will be able to prepare yourself three nutritious meals a day. In addition, you will be able to interact with other international volunteers in a communal setting when preparing and eating meals.
The Volunteer House is located in a great area. This hip spot has small food markets and large convenience stores. Therefore, whether you are preparing a frozen pizza or frying some fish and chips everything is in close proximity. If you have any questions about the kitchen or where to buy items the local team are always on hand to help.
Volunteers tend to put their heads together and arrange to cook together on certain nights. In the same vein, volunteers will then split the costs involved for the food items. If you are up for some communal cooking, get involved! Usually, on a weekly basis, the local team will host cuisine nights that you are able to attend.
* These fees apply to each individual application.
OPTIONAL LANGUAGE & IMMERSION ADD-ON FEES
* Longer durations available upon request.
In order to apply to join PMGY you are required to make your Registration Fee payment of 249 USD. In the unlikely event we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your Registration Fee will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying. The remaining fee is then due no less than 45 days prior to your program start date. During this period if you need to make a change to your trip (destination, program or date) then this can be facilitated free of charge.
If you’re applying within 45 days of your program start date then you’ll need to pay the full amount to confirm your place. Likewise, in the unlikely event that we are unable to offer you a place on the program then your payment will be refunded in full within 48 hours of applying.
Any remaining payments must be made no less than 45 days prior to your start date. This payment can be made in one lump sum or in several instalments. If you chose to take our insurance or book a flight with PMGY then these must be paid for (in full) at the time of booking.
Payments can be made directly through our website using all major debit and credit cards. We will outline instructions to make payment in our email communication with you. Please note credit card payments are subject to a 5% additional fee to cover the bank charges that PMGY incur.
OPTIONAL TRIPLE CARBON OFFSET SCHEME - 45 USD
PMGY provide participants with the opportunity to contribute towards our Triple Carbon Offset Scheme. This not only helps eliminate your carbon footprint but helps the planet with a positive contribution every time you fly. The Triple Offset Idea for volunteers in Ecuador works as follows -
🇰🇪 Kenya - 55 mango trees are planted in Kenya. These are capable of absorbing the total carbon emissions for a volunteer trip to Ecuador and also help provide a sustainable income for local farmers.
🇮🇳 India - 80 days of access to a solar cooker are provided to a family in India. This means the family don't have to spend on firewood and thus reduce their dependence on trees.
🇺🇸 USA - 1.25kg of rescued meals are provided to the homeless in the USA. This recycles wasted food reduces methane emission from food waste which is equivalent to 1lb of CO2 emissions.
This optional add-on can be added during the online application process or can even be added on at a later date. The offset platform is provided by our charity, the PMGY Foundation and ensures that 100% of contributions are put towards high impact projects around the world.