Name: Taylor Trummel
Nationality: United States
Languages spoken: English, Spanish (advanced)
University: San Diego State University
Degree: Political Science
Past travel experience: Avid
Volunteer Abroad: Teaching English in Hanoi, Vietnam
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: June 2015
Claim to fame: Has visited 15 countries around the world!
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I became a UBELONG Volunteer because I wanted to teach abroad. After a lot of searching I concluded that UBELONG was the best organization out there because it was reputable, responsible, and inexpensive unlike many other volunteer organizations that I found.
What was your impact on your volunteer project?
I taught English in a summer school session at an elementary school in Hanoi. By the end of my work I noticed improvement in pronunciation, which was one of the emphasized lessons. I think the kids’ favorite part of my job was when we played games in English. They always got excited to play Hangman and Simon Says. I know that I’ll always remember the songs we sang and games we played and I certainly think it’s helped them memorize vocabulary.
What were your major challenges?
It may sound funny, but during my first week in Hanoi, crossing the street was a challenge. Traffic in Vietnam was unlike any place I had been before. Locals taught me the unofficial rules for pedestrians, which included trying to cross when only motorbikes were in the oncoming traffic. It seemed so unnatural to step out into oncoming traffic and trust others would avoid me. Mentally and physically taking that step at every cross was challenging.
What advice would you tell a future volunteer?
Go in with an open-mind and be flexible. For me, I really had no idea what to expect. I am used to controlling details and knowing my next move, but upon my arrival, I really had no idea what was in store for me and it all went wonderfully.
In a sentence or less, how would you describe the locals you met?
I met some of the most giving people I’ve ever known.