“All of us contributed to the reserve’s improvement in our own way.”


UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Maria Abad
Age: 19
Hometown: Guayaquil
Nationality: Ecuador
Languages spoken: Spanish, English (fluent), German (intermediate)
University: Broward College
Degree: Business Management
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Forest Conservation and Sustainable Farming in the Galapagos, Ecuador
Duration: 5 weeks
Start month: July 2015
Claim to fame: She is the English Speech Coach at Academia Naval Capitan Leonardo Abad, in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
One of my many goals in life is to work for a volunteering organization, and I knew that in order to achieve this I had to start from the bottom. Before UBELONG, I had helped out in different projects such as fund-raising, and animal care; and this year I felt I was ready to take things to the next level, so I did some research to find out about the most respected volunteer organizations. Obviously UBELONG was my top choice!

What was your impact on your volunteer project?
I think I did, from giving the cook small tips to improve our meals and doing my chores, to bringing my speakers to the field to blast some power songs! I think all of us contributed to the reserve’s improvement in our own way. After all, we are volunteering to make a change 🙂

What were your major challenges?
The spiders at the reserve. Since I was a little girl I’ve been terrified of spiders, and when I got to our station, I was not expecting such an infestation. I cried a lot of times because of my phobia, but thanks to my fellow volunteers and the director I was able to overcome my fear and co-exist with them.

In a sentence or less, how would you describe the locals you met?
Heart-warming people.

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Related post:
Meet Linnea Menin, a Clark University undergrad who volunteered with UBELONG in the conservation projects in the Amazon and in the Galapagos.