UBELONG is about YOU.

You can change the world. We help you get there.

We are an international volunteering and learning organization that brings people together across borders to collaborate for the common good.

We empower people like you to volunteer and learn abroad. We make it easy for you to step out of your comfort zone and share your talent.

We Believe... What divides people is no match for what unites us—our humanity.
Human collaboration, more than anything, can change the world for the better.
Everyone can make a difference.
We believe in people.

Our Mission

To bring people together across borders to share their humanity and take action for positive change.

Our Values

Bottom-up


We understand people know what is best for their own communities. Our programs address issues that have been identified by local communities as opportunities to engage people in meaningful action.

Impact Through Sharing


We believe that the energy, ideas and skills that people share with each other, across borders and face to face, can support advancement in key areas such as conservation, education and health.

Opportunities For All


We embrace diversity. We offer varying programs to ensure that regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, nationality or skill, everyone can find an opportunity to make a difference.

Personal Growth


We believe that traveling with UBELONG is as much about engaging in meaningful work as it is about building self-confidence, shaping leadership skills and strengthening social ties.

Hands-on


We recognize that the best way to understand global issues is by traveling, doing things on the ground, and gaining firsthand experience. Our programs emphasize immersion and experiential learning.

People To People


People learn from each other through direct human exchange. We offer programs that instill a strong sense of shared humanity and global citizenship.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
–African proverb

The UBELONG Story

CORNELL


In 2004, our Co-Founders, Cedric Hodgeman and Raul Roman, met at Cornell
University, where they were inspired to change the way people engage with the world.

For years, they traveled, studied and served in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
However, back at home, there were so many people who struggled to find the right opportunity to travel and fulfill their promise as global citizens.

WASHINGTON, DC


In 2009, UBELONG was founded in Washington, DC. Our home is one of the world’s most important centers of international affairs. We are surrounded by influential international organizations, government agencies, embassies, think-tanks and universities.

Right from the start, we tapped heavily into these networks to design our programs.

WORLD


UBELONG comprises an international team of great people spread across four continents. We started in 2009 working in Asia and Latin America. Two years after we established programs in Africa. In 2013 we opened our European office in Lisbon, Portugal.

We are a global organization but we think local.

UBELONG


The name UBELONG is a call for action. It reflects the values of our organization. UBELONG is the simplification of a simple but powerful statement: “you belong”.

When we say “you belong” we are talking to the thousands of people who yearn to make a difference abroad.

Also, when we say “you belong” we are talking to the people who live in the communities across the world where we work. Through our programs, we seek to strengthen a sense of social inclusion in these communities, a sense of global belonging.

“Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” –Robert Louis Stevenson

Why UBELONG?

Flexibility


We offer programs across many areas because we believe everyone has something valuable to contribute if they are given the chance. Whether you are looking to volunteer abroad for the first time or are a corporate professional with years of experience, we have a program for you.

Impact


We are a social organization. Everything we do is rooted in making a positive difference on you, the local communities you visit and the world. We empower you to take concrete, measurable steps towards positive global change, while giving you the opportunity to step out of your comfort zone and grow.

Experience


Our team consists of recognized professionals at the top of their field. Our learning and volunteering programs are built on practical knowledge gained through years of international experience and our team’s extensive background. We also rely on our deep relationships cultivated around the world with a range of professionals.

Affordable


We are founded upon the belief that learning and volunteering abroad should be accessible to people of all backgrounds. A fundamental part of our mission is to offer the highest quality experiences at the lowest possible cost.

Network


Our most important asset is our people—our employees, partners in the field, hosting communities, the range of individuals and corporations that work with us, and you. When you join a UBELONG program you become part of an exciting global community linked together by an insatiable desire to discover new horizons and make a positive impact on the world.

“It is never too late to give up your prejudices.”
–H. D. Thoreau

founders

  • Raul Roman

    Co-Founder

    Raul has over 15 years of experience in international development work. Before UBELONG, he developed a distinguished career serving different United Nations agencies and other leading international organizations, governments, corporations and non-profits in more than 25 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America. Raul earned a Ph.D. in international development at Cornell. He's a bit of a renaissance man: innovation "laborer", entrepreneur, scientist, educator. On Monday evenings, he teaches at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins in DC, where he's a member of its world-class faculty since 2008.

  • Cedric Hodgeman

    Co-Founder

    Cedric is a social entrepreneur who epitomizes learning by doing. He has travelled to over 30 countries, and lived in England, France, Peru, Portugal and Spain. From contributing to grassroots organizations to collaborating with the most prestigious international development organizations, Cedric’s work is broad, deep and linked by an insatiable passion for turning vision into action. Before launching UBELONG, Cedric held management positions with a Fortune 500 company and worked in finance in New York. He graduated magna cum laude from Cornell University with a Bachelor’s Degree in economics and management.

“The only journey is the one within.” –Rilke

Numbers

  • 1,221,376 hours

    of service to date
    by our participants

  • 10 countries

    where UBELONG
    has programs

  • 28 On our team

    including our local partners

  • 125,000 miles

    our team flies each year
    (over 5 times around
    the world)

  • 26 Cups of Coffee

    our team drinks on
    a typical week
    (not that much, we’re actually
    more tea drinkers)

You Belong

  • Bea Matthews

    Meet Bea, who volunteered for three months assisting in nutrition education in disadvantaged communities of Ghana.

    Go
  • Dave Kidney

    Meet Dave, a human rights professional based in Washington, DC, and Expedition participant in Cambodia and Peru.

    Go
  • Grayce Belvedere

    Meet Grayce, groundbreaking entrepreneur who led her consulting firm to serve in Galapagos Islands.

    Go