Through our study abroad and volunteer programs we enable students and volunteers to experience a new culture for up to three months at a time, while living with local host families. The full service study abroad and volunteer experiences we provide, are based largely on this cultural interchange. While here, participants gain an experience that stretches their educational scope past academia and past the scope of their volunteer work, into the realm of life-long learning.
Local host families also benefit from the mutual cultural and linguistic exchange inherent to the program through the shared experiences as well as receiving a full additional household income for hosting our participants. Our host families (famililas embajadores del buen vivir) are key to student integration and act as ambassadors to the community. Treating students as if they are part of the family for their stay here, they create a welcoming and nourishing home environment.
In addition, our host communities benefit from our programs economically. All services that we provide in the study abroad and volunteer programs are locally outsourced. Our programs boost the local economy and often make IOI one of the biggest single sources of revenue for our host communities.
We started out interested in knowing other cultures…and sharing who we are as Ecuadorians and Galapagueños…It’s interesting because we also learn a lot…We feel very happy and grateful because we help, and at the same time are helped ourselves to move forward to achieve our goals in terms of education and culture.
(Translated from original Spanish)