“I was able to connect and learn about them.”


UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Grace-Marie Thompson
Age: 20
Hometown: Lexington
Nationality: United States
Languages spoken: English, Spanish (intermediate)
University: University of Kentucky
Degree: Community and Leadership Development
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Middle School Teaching in Accra, Ghana
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: May 2015
Claim to fame: Part of the University of Kentucky Alternative Service Breaks group.

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I became a UBELONG volunteer in conjunction with being an Alternative Service Breaks participant with the University of Kentucky’s Center for Community Outreach.

What is your favorite memory?
I fell ill during my time spent in Ghana and had to not teach class for a couple of days. The students, at the request of another of our participants, wrote me get well notes and letters. What was most impactful about that was that I had taught letter writing to Grade 6 (formal, informal and official). And they wrote me letters in the format in which I had taught them. It was amazing to see that I, someone with little to no teaching experience, could actually teach something to someone. Also, because of their letters, I was able to connect with them more and learn more about them as people.

What did you take from the experience?
I think something that I will take away from this experience is the understanding of inter-connectivity of the world, that no matter our differences we are all trying to do the same thing, regardless of the methods. We are all trying to live the best way we know how.  Whether that is displayed in cultural differences or in personal preferences we are all on the same path. This realization allows us to humanize people and allows me to be more comfortable with differences. It allows helps me to seek the similarities between myself and others.

In a sentence or less, what was your funniest moment?
Shenanigans, a game, with our group and Eric, the Local Team Leader.

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Related post:
Meet Helen Viktoria Schlemminger, a University of Exeter undergrad, who volunteered with UBELONG in the human rights project in Accra, Ghana.