Name: Natalie Meicher
Nationality: United States
University: University Of Wisconsin Madison
Languages spoken: English and Spanish (intermediate)
Past travel experience: Newbie
Volunteer Abroad: Teaching English in Merida, Mexico
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: January 2015
Claim to fame: Natalie works as a Playground Leader in her community.
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I decided to become a UBELONG Volunteer because I wanted to volunteer on the international level and practice my Spanish-speaking skills. I understand how fortunate my life is and how small my “problems” are, and I wanted to gain a new perspective on how people live their lives in Merida. In addition, I wanted to meet new people and visit exciting places.
What is your favorite memory?
I worked at a children’s shelter in the small village of Yaxcopoil and my favorite memory was when we brought water balloons to the shelter and had one big water balloon fight, or as the kids would call it, “guerra de globos.” It was rewarding to watch how happy the kids were with a couple of water balloons.
What did you take from this experience?
This experience provided me with a new perspective on my own life because it showed me how incredibly lucky and fortunate I am. There are so many things in my life that I was taking for granted, like a cozy bed and the ability to be surrounded by my family. This experience made me very humble and grateful. I worry less about the “problems” in my life because I now know how insignificant they actually are.
In a sentence or less, how would you describe the locals?
The locals were welcoming, optimistic and curious to learn about us.