“I took weekly lessons in Salsa Dancing, Peruvian cooking, making Pisco cocktails and learning Peruvian culture.”


Jon Kneen is a very bright student at the University of Denver. He is double majoring in finance and international business, and participates in numerous campus activities. He has travelled throughout Mexico and Europe, including three months studying at the University of Granada in Spain. In June he spent ten weeks on the business development projects in the Volunteer Abroad in Cusco. We are thrilled to introduce him here.

Why did you volunteer in Cusco?
Traveling has always been a strong passion of mine.  I come from a small town in Iowa and always knew that I want to venture to every part of the world.  I plan on using my degree in International Business for overseas development and venture capitalism and have already worked in Mexico and studied in Granada, Spain.  Hence, traveling to a country in South America was on the top of my priority list. After searching for various jobs and internships, I soon discovered how difficult it is to find rewarding work experience abroad.During my extensive research, I came across the UBELONG website and began reading into its program.  I was initially drawn in by its hands on mentoring program and wide-variety of quality volunteering programs, but the selling point for me was how much cheaper it was than its competitors. I chose the program Cusco, Peru because it was demanding, rewarding and affordable.  I didn’t know too much about there area before my departure, but soon fell in love with the people, their culture and its beautiful history.

How did you personally grow from the experience?
During my stay, I utilized all the free programs provided by my organization. I took weekly lessons in Salsa Dancing, Peruvian cooking, making Pisco cocktails and learning Peruvian culture. Also, I traveled to several Incan ruins, hiked up mountains and explored the countryside. This helped inspire an outdoor passion in me which I have continued to pursue following my arrival in Colorado.

What was your favorite memory?
My favorite memories during my volunteer experience were all of the wacky experiences with my new friends. One night, we found a cheaply made Ben Diez doll and he became our best friend! We brought him around everywhere with us and soon became one of the most popular celebrities in all of Cusco! Photos of Ben are attached to the email.

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Related post:
Meet Farima Alidadi, a George Washington student who volunteered with UBELONG in Cusco, Peru on the Education project.