Want to know what others thought of their experience? Below are just snapshots of comments from past volunteers.
Beautiful city, amazing projects, great apartment, entertaining company. Within my first two weeks here, I had the chance to check out the numerous programs Emerging Voices has to offer: teaching in Soacha, the military Hogar St Mauricio, helping blind children, abuelitas, feeding the homeless. The decision was tough, but I decided to teach part time in Soacha and part time at the military. Soacha is a town about an hour and a half away from the apartment. But the long ride is worth it. The children are so sweet and thrilled to see us volunteer. When we arrive, my second-grade class is absolutely adorable. They tackled numbers, the colors of the rainbow, shapes, the body without any problem. My fourth-grade class never wants the lessons to end. Teaching at the military is very different but just as wonderful. The men are so eager to learn and excited to speak as much English as they can. My favorite experience with them so far has been rap day. Each soldier created their own rhyme about themselves and then performed it rapped to a special panel of judges. It was extremely entertaining and some of the raps were very impressive. Bogotá is a gorgeous city with lots to offer. Whether you like to climb Monserrate, shop in the markets, walk through parc national, or dance the night away, Bogotá will keep you busy. I had originally only signed up for 6 weeks here at Emerging Voices, but once I hit the week 4 mark, I knew I had to extend my stay for at least another month. I’ve very much enjoyed my time here and would strongly recommend this project to anyone.
Coming to Colombia was not very difficult for me. After hearing many sketchy stories, I had to come visit myself to see what the country was really all about. I can say is that those stories are just stories and by no means should stop anyone from visiting this safe and beautiful country. One thing is that Colombians are some of the warmest and friendly people you will ever meet. They are so thankful for volunteers to travel all the way from your home and helping them. The program that I volunteered in was in a very impoverished city called Soacha. There I painted a whole primary school over the course of a few weeks. After making friends with the children, I started to teach English classes, which I never thought I would be doing, since I had no previous teaching experience. My only regret is not to have stayed longer than my two-month duration as there is so much work needed to be done. The culture is so fun. You will want to stay here for ages.
Hey! my name is Richi and I’m from San Diego ,California. I have been here at Emerging Voices for two months and I love every second of it. From the very start, Monica the founder of Emerging Voices, makes you feel right at home and like you are a part of her family. I signed up for construction where we took a bus every day to Soacha. What we did in construction was mix cement and build an auditorium for the school. I also helped teach blind kids English. They were fascinated and eager to learn. The best part of the projects are the interaction with the children. Their smile makes all the hard work you put in worthwhile. If you are interested in coming here to Colombia, I definitely recommend Emerging Voices in Bogotá. The city, the people and the food make it all worthwhile and an experience you will never forget.
Colombia is a county of diversity, both with the nature and the people. With Caribbean coast, undulating ridges and Amazonas, Colombia definitely will be the top choice for those who have beautiful hearts as well as wanderlust. I volunteered for 6 months with Emerging Voices: a foundation operating different programs in Colombia such as feeding the homeless, teaching childcare, and elderly care. The project I did was teaching in Soacha, a small town southwest of Bogotá for both the summer program and the regular program. In the summer program, you can do a lot of activities like dancing, cooking, etc. I taught them Chinese and was completely impressed by how smart those kids are. Every day you walk into the school, you will always be welcomed by sweet kisses on your cheek from those kids. Every little effort you make here, in Soacha, can be added up to huge impacts. All the classrooms here were built from scratch, with bricks. The English greetings you’ll get from the kids were actually started from the first hello taught by the volunteers before. Besides volunteering, the valuable experience you get is living in an apartment with all the other volunteers from different backgrounds and from around the world. This is a good way to enhance your understanding about culture, ethics and respect. Just like traveling as a backpacker, you meet various people. You share your stories. And here, volunteering with Emerging Voices, you will enjoy all of those lovely moments but with other travelers as your family members.
Time flies but it has been a good 4 months. So many things can happen in 4 months. Someone can learn a new language in 4 months, can meet more people than in a whole life, can turn into a positive and cheerful person, can make a small difference for someone else with less opportunities, can become a teacher, can build a house, can make friends for life, can travel a whole country, can try a trillion types of fruit, can get very fat, can learn how to dance Cali salsa, can receive a million hugs in a week, and can give double in kisses in 4 months. I achieved all of that in 4 months. I have seen, done, learned, achieved more than I could have possibly hoped to do. I am happy. I love this. This is all thanks to you, Monica Sepulveda and Emerging Voices volunteers. This is why projects like Soacha, San Cristóbal, San Mauricio, Maria Theresa and many others are so successful. This is why our kids love us and we love them back. This is why Colombia is going to be a better and better country, a country to come back to
It is hard to put into words how awesome the last 18 days have been for me. I walked into a home full of love, laughter, hugs, and beautiful people. Not a bad start! I have enjoyed every project, for different reasons, but the grandmas stole my heart. How inspiring they are! Then, there is you, Monica. Thanks for being you. Thanks for your endless energy, kind heart, and inspiration to make a difference. But most of all, thank you for quickly becoming a valuable friend along with all the other volunteers, I was lucky to share this experience with. How can so many amazing people end up in the one place. I am going home a different person to the one that left.
Six weeks has flown by and now I am sitting here thinking about it all. When I first decided to come to Colombia, I expected everyone to have a moustache, drink Corona, live in the jungle, carry ak47s, sell cocaine, be called Pablo, and wanting to harvest my organs. So far I have only met one person called Pablo, and the rest is all just a figment of the west’s imagination. The perception, as is often the case, is not a true reflection of the realities. Here in Colombia, I shouldn’t be surprised authors from Dan Brown to Chaucer have all explored this region in various fashions but still failed to see what a beautiful and special place this is. The first thing that comes to mind is the homeless people, at the shelter. Coming from an affluent background, I loathe to admit that, when I first went to the shelter, I expected it to be a zoo at feeding time with hunger and desperation coming from those unfortunate souls. What I saw was simply unbelievable. The dignity and respect, these men had, blew me away. Their politeness, friendliness and gratitude were amazing and one would have to travel a long way, in the developed world, to find such qualities. The impression that, that one moment made in my life, is both profound and permanent and hopefully permeates further. I want to thank you Monica. Your program has made a life changing alteration in regard to who I am. I firmly believe that the work you are doing is not just for the people benefitting from our work but to the volunteers themselves. Thank you for helping change the world and most importantly thank you for changing me.
Thank you so much for the wonderful experience here in Bogotá. The projects are great and you have provided us with a home away from home. I am sure going to miss the card (nihts tejo?), the bottle store, and all the fun we had here, especially thanksgiving was awesome. The kids in Soacha were great. I loved playing football with them. I have gained a whole new perspective about Colombia and how, our small helping hands, can make a difference to those who live a life we cannot imagine to live. I hope that our help will soon be needless and that all the homeless will have homes and income. The Soacha kids have a bright future. I hope that the military students pass their English exams.
Thank you for the chance to get to know so many lovely people around the world. Emerging Voices achieves so much: loving me, opening you heart to every volunteer, you made me feel at home. Always optimistic, supportive, and never forgetting to be thankful, I really appreciate it. Introducing me to this wonderful country, always trying to make this world better. The only risk is wanting to stay.
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