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“It was empowering to help at the stations and see the difference I was making.”

UBELONG

UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Linnea Menin
Age: 19
Hometown: Newburyport, Massachusetts
Nationality: United States
University: Clark University
Languages spoken: English and Spanish (advanced)
Past travel experience: Newbie
Volunteer Abroad: Volunteer in the Amazon and in the Galapagos, Ecuador
Duration: 6 weeks (3 weeks in the Amazon and 3 weeks in the Galapagos)
Start month: March 2015
Claim to fame: First time traveling solo!

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I decided to become a UBELONG volunteer because I really wanted to travel without breaking the bank and I also wanted to be able to help people along the way. UBELONG was perfect for this because they have so many affordable volunteer opportunities across the world.

What is your favorite memory?
My favorite memory was snorkeling at Kicker Rock in the Galapagos. I had never seen water so clear and blue in my life, and it was the most surreal and amazing experience to watch sea turtles and hammerheads sharks swim directly below us. I loved watching the sea lions playing under the waves and the tropical fish dart in and out of the rocks. It really made me regret not bringing an underwater camera.

What did you take from the experience?
The whole experience was amazing. I really enjoyed learning about a new culture and language. It was also really eye opening to see how people live outside of the white middle-upper class community I grew up in. It felt really empowering to be able to help out at the stations and really see the difference I was making. I also learned a lot about Ecuador and the flora and fauna that can be found there. It was definitely a trip I won’t forget.

What did you think about the food?
The food was always delicious. Both the UBELONG programs I was in had great cooks who were not only really fun to talk to, they also made delicious meals. As a person with several complicated food allergies, the cooks did a very good job of accommodating my needs. I really liked getting to help prepare meals while I was in the Galapagos program. Although, after living in Ecuador for 6 months, I have to say I did get pretty tired of white rice and chicken. However, I could never get tired of sweet fried plantains.

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Related post:
Meet Pieter Fabry, a Imperial College London undergrad, who volunteered with UBELONG, at the conservation projects, in the Amazon, Ecuador.

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