Name: Anne Hiller
Hometown: Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany
Languages spoken: German, English (fluent), Spanish (intermediate) and Chinese (beginner)
University: University Of Applied Sciences Lübeck
Degree: Inbound Logistics And International Marketing
Past travel experience: Avid
Volunteer Abroad: Helping at a Food Bank in Merida, Mexico
Duration: 8 weeks
Start month: May 2015
Claim to fame: Anne is an adventurous girl who climbed into an old Mayan cave during her UBELONG experience in Merida, Mexico
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
UBELONG is an organization with global reach and was therefore trustworthy for me as a first time volunteer. The diversity of the offered projects make it easy to commit to different areas where help is needed. I especially liked the NGO support project which was at the food bank, where I was able to add value to the organization with my knowledge from my studies. As well I liked the fact that each project location is supported personally by employees of UBELONG. The last thing that affected my choice to volunteer with UBELONG is that in comparison to other organizations, UBELONG prices are one of the lowest.
What was your impact on your volunteer project?
I was able to impact the food bank with projects on social media marketing, fundraising and a new warehouse design. After getting over the language barrier with the Spanish language I was able to understand the problems and analysed their processes in order to improve their business. But the major influence of the project was on me. My colleagues opened my mind to different work approaches and understanding of the NGO sector. Especially the visits to different institutions and communities that receive the donations finally were very interesting for me, experiencing Mexican life as it appears to poor people.
What is your favorite memory?
All the fun I had in the food bank and in my free time with other volunteers made my stay in Mexico unique. Since I am an adventurous person we once climbed into an old Mayan cave which was challenging to get through but full of history and interesting discoveries of former times. After three hours me, my friends and our two motor taxi drivers, who we invited to join us because the way to the cave was quite long, were dirty from head to toe, exhausted but impressed and happy.
Best packing advice?
First of all a bikini is essential since the hostel / volunteer house has a pool and the ocean is not far. Of course also shorts and dresses for the hot weather. Furthermore I suggest proper shoes for walking around the weekends for sightseeing and other adventures that are possible to have in this incredible country. Last but not least take a huge portion of enthusiasm, optimism and open mindedness with you. Then your stay in Merida will be definitely unforgettable!