“I was no longer a tourist, but a volunteer having an impact on real lives.”


UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Bill Mulligan
Age: 20
Hometown: Madison
Nationality: United States
University: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Degree: Biochemistry
Languages spoken: English
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Assisting at an After-School Center in Cusco, Peru
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: January 2015
Claim to fame: Bill is the Vice President of Program Administration at Wisconsin Union!

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I had always heard of people traveling usually on mission trips to foreign countries and volunteering there. They all came back saying what a great time they had and how it had changed them. I always wondered how volunteering in a different country could be that much different than volunteering down the street, besides being a lot more expensive. Isn’t doing good doing good? I decided to go on a UBELONG trip to see for myself what the experience of serving in another country was really like.

What is your favorite memory?
At our project, we were repainting and refurbishing an after school center the week before kids came back from summer break. It was a large project so one day we decided to stay the whole day so we could finish it before the kids came back. For lunch, we were invited into Americano’s house for lunch. At this point I truly realized I was no longer a tourist, but a volunteer who was having a real impact on real lives. UBELONG is different because it gives you an experience and impact you cannot buy. You are accepted as a part of the community instead of being the tourist.

Tell me about somebody you met who impressed you?​
I was impressed by the excitement and flexibility of the children. Even though I could not speak Spanish, we both worked with each other to communicate. They taught me that there are universal human qualities that allow us to connect with anyone anywhere.

In a sentence or less, how would you describe the locals you met?
People, as we all are, connected by human desires to connect, live, and enjoy life.

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Related post:
Meet Vanessa Dorismond, a Brody School of Medicine grad, who volunteered with UBELONG at the Assisting at a Shelter for Abused Girls in Cusco, Peru.