UBELONG is a well organized and incredibly accommodating group that supported me in taking 8 college students from Bloomington, Indiana to Cusco, Peru to volunteer with children for a week. From start to finish UBELONG ensured that my group was prepared for our trip, provided comfortable accommodations, created meaningful volunteer work, and proved constantly able to address questions and concerns. Overall, our trip experience was very rewarding as we were put outside our comfort zones and had to learn about how to care for others despite cultural and communication barriers. I gained a great appreciation for all of the blessings in my life and am inspired to continue to give back to others. I will never forget all of the wonderful children we met in Peru and my amazing experience as a UBELONG volunteer!

05-02-2014

I think that anybody who is looking to connect with local populations in need should consider UBELONG. It is an economical and meaningful experience for people of all ages. UBELONG sub-contracts with local charity organizations, but that did not cause any problems during my time in Cusco.

03-18-2014

UBELONG appealed to me as an organized way to be able to enter an area that was foreign to me and make an impact right away. Their staff was so helpful in each step of the process, from pre-departure planning to making our stay in Cusco as comfortable as possible. I could tell they truly cared about our development as volunteers, and their relationships with the kids at the clinic we worked at were so inspiring to me! I feel so lucky to have been able to work with UBELONG and to come back to the U.S. refreshed and inspired to keep serving!

03-10-2014

Already having some volunteering experience I can safely say that UBELONG is a valueless association to work with. Reliability on the first place: starting from the incredibly efficient support before leaving, to the amazing in-country support, when there always a supervisor to refer to at all times. The organization is really transparent and does what it promises. In my volunteering work I ended up doing what they had told me and even more! My work was really satisfactory and rewarding, and I had the possibility to learn and do things that I hadn't even hoped for. Furthermore the place where the volunteers live is a really safe and enjoyable environment where you really can feel at home. Also the price was incredibly good and no hidden costs: by far the best deal I could find. For sure I will choose UBELONG again when I next leave for another volunteering experience!

03-06-2014

I spent 12 weeks volunteering in Cusco, Peru on the Elementary School Teaching project. I had always wanted to travel to South America and I truly feel that this was the best way to do it. While I certainly wanted to visit all the amazing tourist sites, I was more interested in connecting with people, experiencing life in Cusco, and making a positive contribution. I chose to live with a host family and could not have asked for a better experience. My Spanish improved exponentially, but more importantly, I was able to experience family life in Cusco. By spending birthdays and holidays with them, I gained a much better understanding of the traditions surrounding those special dates. Regarding my volunteer project, I can honestly say that it exceeded my expectations. I had a wonderful time working with the kids and faculty at the school. I felt that I was given the right amount of freedom and structure to be effective. This was my first time traveling alone outside of the U.S. and I wanted to come with a well-organized program. UBELONG did not disappoint. They provided ample pre-departure support so I felt extremely prepared upon arrival. I can't wait to volunteer with UBELONG again in the future!

01-22-2014

My trip to Cuzco was absolutely incredible, and looking back, I doubt it would have been as enjoyable without UBELONG and my mentor. From day one, UBELONG provided me with resources and information for nearly every aspect of the trip planning process. From back and forth emails, to brief phone calls and updates, all of my questions were answered in a timely manner. Prior to my departure, I felt equipped with the skills and knowledge that would make me an excellent volunteer. This eased a lot of nervousness I originally felt and replaced it with the confidence I needed to travel abroad for 6 weeks.   My placement at the Club C.o.r.a.s.o.n. after-school center was equally incredible and inspiring. I couldn't have asked for a better project, I feel like my responsibilities at the club were perfectly tailored to the vision I had prior to volunteering. During my volunteer project, my mentor was kind enough to check in with me and share my experiences through UBELONG's social media handles. It was nice to know that I had somebody to turn to if I had any issues or urgent questions. After a successful adventure and an awe-inspiring project, I feel truly honored to be a member of the UBELONG community.

12-27-2013

We used to go to a clinic to help out inside the service for disabled children. We basically played with them during the mornings and helped at lunch especially the youngest ones. This experience has been really fulfilling in terms of human contact. I was afraid about being of very little help but I realized there are a lot of things one can do by just being with the children and doing the to amost basic games or activities, like drawing or dancing, even wandering around the clinic! The local culture was also very interesting : great contrast between the place we stayed at (touristic = clean and rich) and the suburban areas in which we operated (poorer). And I was amazed by the importance of the "extra-legal" system overthere : one might think of this as anarchy, but I found it amazing how people try to abide by extralegal-but more reasonable and fair rules. This way, people can go around state rules without running into wild anarchy. I would highly recommend this program to every one that is interested about embracing another culture and about bringing happiness to a bunch of lovely people :)

12-17-2013

I had a remarkable Ubelong experience. Living in Cusco, Peru with warm and welcoming Peruvian family in the city center was a great way to settle in and to practice my Spanish. My volunteer coordinator, Martina, was very helpful and we had some meetings to touch-base about the project so that I could receive advice but also provide feedback. The schedule allowed me to get to know the city and travel on weekends, which was certainly an added perk! Peru is a fantastic country to explore and I would go back at the drop of hat. I worked in a shelter that was a safe haven for girls who were victims of abuse and spent the month teaching them English, discussing pop-music, sometimes playing sports or doing crafts. It took a few days to find my footing and gain the trust of the girls, but once that was achieved and I was able to establish a relationship with the staff at the shelter, I really enjoyed the work and it broke my heart to leave. I have thought about my experience and the girls often since my return. I recommend Ubelong to anyone looking to get out and away, and try to make a small difference.

11-12-2013

Volunteering through UBELONG was a rewarding experience. Every detail was organized and planned out from the beginning to end. I was nervous before leaving to Cusco, but the preparation materials and briefing helped me feel more comfortable. My volunteer placement at Club Corason was amazing and it was such a joy to work with the children every day. This experience would not have been possible and as fantastic if it weren't for the help and support of UBELONG.

09-02-2013

Through UBelong I was granted the opportunity to travel to Cusco, Peru to work on a public health campaign for three weeks. Being able to volunteer and educate the youth of Cusco about important health and wellness topics was not only fulfilling but also eye-opening. The people I met and the experiences I had made such a large impact on my outlook on life and what I would like to do in the future. I learned so much more about myself and what it truly means to serve from my placement in Cusco, and I have UBelong to thank for that. I look forward to continuing a life of service and volunteering abroad again with this amazing organization.

08-29-2013

Ubelong enabled me to have such a great experience volunteering in Peru and I really respect their business and approach to supporting communities. There are several organizations that can facilitate volunteering abroad, but Ubelong it not only just that, it is also a community of like-minded volunteers and non-profits who collaborate together. Ubelong took care of a lot of the leg work and logistics so that I could just focus on my experience volunteering and focus on that. While in the field, you really see how Ubelong's bottom up approach works with the people from the local communities to empower them.  

08-29-2013

UBELONG was recommended to me by a friend, and I am so thankful that I took her advice to travel with this incredible non-profit. And now I am thrilled to tell anyone and everyone who is thinking of taking a service trip abroad that UBELONG is the ONLY company to go through. With incredible, kind, and qualified staff, I was able to plan the perfect trip for my summer project abroad. They are so flexible and willing to cater to your needs, I've never been so pleased with a group of people. They were so interested in making the trip fit my wants and needs, and they even took the time to train me and give me plenty of information about Peru and Cusco before I made my trip. Without their expertise, I would have never had as successful or safe of a trip as I had. They even spent time speaking to my parents, making them feel comfortable with my travel plans. I can't recommend UBELONG enough, for anyone looking for a trip that will change their life- and change the world- choose UBELONG. Affordable, grass roots service and community work, is what is going to make a difference in this world for future generations, and UBELONG is busy pioneering just that.

08-09-2013

Normally I don't think I am very good with kids, but I had so much fun with the kids in Cusco. I worked at the after-school center for one week. We were only with the kids for a couple of hours a day. At times it was difficult because many of the children came from difficult homes, and almost all of them were dirty or didn't have more than one change of clothes. The language barrier could be frustrating (my Spanish was limited, and especially more difficult because kids are hard to understand sometimes even in English) but (as cheesey as this sounds) a smile is universal. It didn't feel like we were doing life-changing work, but just making kids smile and laugh for a couple of hours a day is more than they could ever want. It was so rewarding to spend time with them, even when we couldn't communicate. The location of the after-school house felt a bit unsafe, and you have to take a taxi there. But I always went with other volunteers and felt fine as long as I wasn't alone. The volunteer house is a great space to relax and hang out, and the nightlife in Cusco (especially in the Plaza de Armas down the street from the volunteer house) is wild. UBELONG has unbeatable prices and the personal attention from Cedric and Raul is wonderful. When you are at the volunteer house you are at the mercy of the local program but Cedric and Raul will do anything and everything in their power to make your experience enjoyable. I had to leave early because of medical issues I had and Cedric was extremely supportive and helpful.

05-05-2013

I volunteered with UBELONG for 3 weeks and it was a life changing. I had never volunteered or gone to South America, and I chose them because of their low prices and because they're volunteers themselves who are passionate about service. I also liked how they presented the projects, it was clear they knew what the issues were and focused on putting people into positions where they could make a difference. I liked how UBELONG prides itself on being an international development company and not a tourism company. My UBELONG Mentor was always there for me, especially in the beginning when I was nervous about what to bring, safety and travelling alone. They were also very accommodating in letting me volunteer for 2 weeks in Lima and then 1 week in Cusco. Lima was eye awakening, the project was devoted to helping poor women have more successful lives as mothers and people in general. The other volunteers were from all over the world, I made friends who I still keep in touch with, and it was a very welcoming atmosphere at the volunteer house. There was always someone to talk to or go out with, I enjoyed it a lot. Cusco was hard work and it was difficult to see so many poor children, but they were so friendly and welcoming. I also met a friend from Spain who was also a UBELONG volunteer while I was there so it was very good to work together and also enjoy ourselves&including with a trip to Machu Picchu, which is amazing. I highly recommend UBELONG, they're a passionate and doing a lot of good.

05-04-2013

In a nutshell the trip was one of the most inspiring, life-changing, eye-opening, and fun experiences of my life! Martina and the rest of the staff were so friendly, answered all of our questions, and made us feel very prepared and comfortable. Everything was so well organized from landing in Cusco to departing for back home. The meals were also extremely delicious, and they were very accommodating for the 5 vegetarians in our group. I am so happy that we had the opportunity to volunteer at 3 different sites to get a broader perspective of Peru. I had a wonderful experience and would recommend Ubelong to anyone in a heartbeat.

05-03-2013

The eight weeks that I spent in Cusco, Peru volunteering at an after-school center were among the most eye-opening, rewarding, and fun times of my life. The UBELONG structure made the whole process of finding, and getting set up with, a volunteer project so straight forward and comprehensible. The kids that I worked with were so sweet and earnest and I knew from day one that they would be giving me far more than I could possibly return. Still, I treasured the time I had with them and tried to leave as much of a positive impact as possible. The housing situation was also fantastic- by living closely with so many other travelers, I was able to make friendships very quickly and instantly feel happy and at ease upon arrival. I met so many amazing people, many of whom I know I will be in continued contact. Overall, I had an incredible trip and I would highly recommend UBELONG to anyone who wants to volunteer abroad.

05-02-2013

I had a great experience with UBELONG. They did a very good job with organizing everything for me from the beginning. My volunteer project was amazing and I really enjoyed working with the children. Overall Cusco was beautiful and an awesome experience. I am so greatful to UBELONG for everything.

04-12-2013

I just got back from a wonderful experience in Huancayo, Peru. Although Huancayo is a smaller city in Peru, the people in the community were amazing and welcomed us with open arms. Our host family and Cecilia, the UBELONG local coordinator, helped us navigate to our work sites and cooked us amazing food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. My group and I worked in the day care and taught English in one of the local schools. We also had time to paint a mural inside one of the day care centers. We had a great time and I highly suggest looking into volunteering in Huancayo.

03-20-2013

I went to Cusco, Peru for 3 weeks in January 2013. UBELONG provide such an amazing experience and not only did I feel like I was making an impact, but I also felt like I gained a lot from the experience. I would recommend UBELONG to anyone. Their staff is wonderful and Cedric is so great at what he does. I am looking forward to volunteering again in the future.

03-15-2013

Ubelong is a great organization, dedicated to service and the livelihood of volunteers. The organization has excellent in-country support and pre-departure training sessions that make the overall volunteering experience a very memorable one.

02-18-2013

UBELONG Rocks! We just had the best Alternative Break trip in Cusco... I want to go back right now :)

01-15-2013

I voluntered for 2 weeks with UBELONG in Huaycan, Lima, Peru. A typical day started around 9 or 10 am, with French private class with one or two adult students until noon. Then we had lunch all volunteers together, time to share our experiences, ideas, and more. During the afternoon, we had 2 to 3 classes, French but also sport, art or English. It was a good to be helping on other projects also. This gave us a larger image of people, to see them in different fields, and another chance to help them! At night we had a good time with other volunteers and students, for example we played soccer each Sunday night! The most frustrating or challenging: Peruvian schedules are very different than what we're used to in France. One time we had a class at 1PM, but one of the students did not show up until 4PM. She apologized and said there had been traffic on the way. That is indeed the case, traffic in Lima is bad, but I think the culture is also more lax about timeliness. As long as you understand this and do not expect Peru to be like home, you adapt and accept that it's part of the experience. In this particular case we just had a private lesson with the student. It went very well. What I learn about myself: I was reminded how incredible Peruvian culture is. It's very welcoming and family oriented. The first Sunday I was there, the family next door invited us to their home. They were so pleasant and treated us as if we had been there forever. Family is at the heart of everything in Peru. I also learned to be more patient and to take things more slowly. When I first arrived in Lima, I was at full speed. I had been coming from Paris where I was working, and it took a couple days to slow down and adapt to the local pace. I think this is common for most volunteers, especially when they're coming directly from working. I also was very pleased to have been able to make an impact on the students in so short a time. The students appreciated us being there, and I could tell they were interested in learning about France and the French language. Unlike the English project, the French project is much smaller so it was not as common for them to be able to sit in a French class. I hope the project can keep growing so other volunteers can build on it and have the students speak more French and learn more about France. At the same time, I think the students impacted me even more than I impacted them. They have so little and face challenges we can't even imagine. However, they continue being positive and there's not the materialism that can exists in richer countries. It was inspiring to see their strength, and, as poor as the community was, I felt myself being more positive and hopeful. UBELONG is a really good and professional organization. I highly recommend them. They are with you all the time: before, during and after your placement. They are very good advisers. And the project they choose to assist is the best choice in Lima, Huaycan is one of the poorest area of the city. You can feel they really need you, and you can do something very helpful for them.

01-03-2013

I chose to become a UBELONG volunteer for a number of reasons. Last year, when I was planning out what I wanted to do during the summer of 2012, I stumbled upon various volunteering websites. They all promised similar things, mainly, that each volunteer would be matched up with a volunteer site, be provided with food, and would have accommodation while abroad. I was truly overwhelmed with how many volunteer organizations there were and the variety of programs they offered. I began to imagine my ideal program. I really wanted to improve my Spanish, and so I decided that the program would have to be offered in a Spanish-speaking country. I really wanted to know that I would be safe, especially since it would be my first time traveling to a less developed country and I had no idea what to expect. Finally, I wanted to know that the organization would support me both before and after my placement and that they were not just trying to get my money. UBELONG fit all the criteria and I am so thankful to have found them. Not only was UBELONG the most affordable program, but it was also the most personable. I was matched up with a mentor, Cedric, who helped me through the entire process and answered any questions that came up. When the time came to go to Peru, I felt confident and self-assured. I knew that Cedric had prepared me for what was to come. Cedric was really personable and I knew that the advice he was giving me came from his own experiences in international volunteering. To me, no other organization compared.

11-03-2012

My first visit to the project in November 2010 was so positive that I decided to return for another two week placement this past January 2012. My observation was that the education projects are even more developed than a year ago. There's more structure and organization, and volunteers are more connected with the community. That's good to see, there's clearly been improvements to what is already an incredible operation.

05-24-2012

As I prepared to venture to Cusco with six fellow students at the University of Michigan, I experienced a whirlwind of emotions - my excitement and nerves were certainly the most prevalent. I didn't know a lick of Spanish and I had never been to Latin America before, but I knew that I was ready to get out of my comfort zone and experience a culture and a country completely different from my own. It was ultimately UBELONG that made the trip possible for a guy like me. who was somewhat skeptical about an international service trip. UBELONG was there every step of the way - from when my group first decided to venture to Peru, to our entire time on the ground in Cusco. Their support was outstanding, and made traveling to a place where I didn't know the language or the culture an incredibly comfortable and worry-free process and unforgettable life experience. Furthermore, the materials they provided (which included everything from language learning resources to how to catch a combi) were comprehensive and clear, and every single question our group members had was answered with a prompt and thorough response. I can't imagine using any other organization to volunteer abroad. The amount of knowledge that the UBELONG staff have, and the passion that they have for their work is amazing, and I look forward to serving abroad again with them in the future!

05-04-2012

I spent two amazing week in Cuzco and involved in an after-school program. I learned a lot from this trip. I think UBELONG did pretty well in everything inclding food, hostels and orgnizing activities. And the local staff provided us many useful guidences and suggestions. I am sure I will go back to Cuzco one day to meet children there. I miss them all!

05-03-2012

Our Alternative Break trip to Cusco with UBELONG was the most amazing experience, and 'amazing' doesn't even do the memory justice. I really miss the children and all the time with my group in Peru. I believe that I gained so much more than I was able to contribute. Coming back from Peru, I have learned so much about greater compassion, the larger issues in life, and the capabilities of a good heart. My group and I have been inspired to do more volunteering back in San Diego as well. Thank you so much for your constant support!

05-03-2012

I had a wonderful two weeks with UBelong. My average day consisted of teaching kids english, which was a lot of fun. The place we stayed at has a great view, and the added bonus of great food is hard to beat. I really feel like they go out of their ways to make us feel comfortable.

05-03-2012

I volunteered in Cusco, Peru for 2 weeks. My time in Cusco exceeded my expectations in every way. I was not aware of Cuzco's rich history and unique culture. I did not speak a word of Spanish; however, I did not have any particular problems communicating with the locals and the UBelong staff were extremely helpful. In the end, we all smile in the same language. I volunteered at the Nutrition Rehab Center in the morning, organizing recreational activities for malnourished children. And on the weekends, I traveled to Machu Picchu and Lake Titicaca. I wish I am still there right now. UBELONG ROCKS!

03-22-2012

With out a doubt, my time in Peru with UBELONG was the greatest summer of my life. Here are just a few things I have learned:   About volunteering - 1. It's a strong drug; you just can't get enough. 2. The last week comes up quickly and you will never have done it all. That is okay! Just be ready to go back! 3. You are important. You are not a faceless human lump just moving through. The people around you will appreciate the effort you put in, the children will love you for playing Red Rover, your fellow volunteers will appreciate the energy you have and your new friends will appreciate your different outlooks and perspectives. 4. Instead of thinking, "Am I doing it right?" think "Are they getting something from this?" My particular experience involved teaching children and there was nothing more satisfying that seeing the kids write the correct answer on the quiz. Don't worry, just do. 5. It's a total blast! Volunteering isn't work, it's fun. How often do you get to impact and change lives with a smile on your face the whole time?   About UBELONG- 1. Founders Cedric and Raul are pretty freakin' cool. 2. Volunteer. Discover. Impact. - truer words were never spoken. 3. There is no better support than the support UBELONG offers. Though you may have only booked one seat on the plane, you are not going alone. 4. UBELONG has placements all over the world and there by opened numerous doors to you. Definitely open a new door as often as possible. 5. While you can't put a price on the experience, the price of UBELONG is more than reasonable; it is unbelievably affordable and the quality of service belies it's modest fees.   About myself - 1. I am strong enough to have done international volunteering and so I am strong enough to do anything. 2. Never say no; saying no only limits you. Experience, taste and appreciate everything that is offered to you. 3. Without a doubt, I will be back to Peru. I feel madly in love with the place, the people, the food, the music, even the dust. 4. Some of my very best friends in my life are from Huaycan and they have a perpetually open invitation to my home and I to theirs. 5. I am a Red Rover Champion.   If it hadn't been for my time with UBELONG, I don't know that I would be applying for the Peace Corps today. I owe UBELONG and all the wonderful friends in Lima a huge thank you.

03-20-2012

Sitting in my New York home, I can't help but let my mind wander back to all the bits and pieces of Cusco, Peru. The kids at the rehabilitation center, the friendly locals, the new friends I met in the Amauta school, the talent chefs who made us delicious Peruvian dishes daily, the "Viva el Peru" symbol carved into the surrounding mountains, the morning church bells, and the sparkling night lights are all unforgettable. The two weeks I spent in Cusco were more than just participating in a program. I learned to adapt to a new lifestyle, immersed in a culture built on tradition and history, became friends with the adorable kids at the Mother Teresa Care Center, and was amazed by the beauty of this new home of mine. The UBELONG experience is truly a remarkable one. The directors and managers of the program clearly value global services and want to provide this opportunity to everyone. Indeed, they do a very good job. From the moment we arrived in the Cusco airport to settling into our homes to discovering the city of Cusco to learning about our volunteering project, UBELONG provided support and assistance.  

03-20-2012

It has always been a goal of mine to travel the world and make a difference, but I felt like it would take so much effort to make that happen so I continued to push it off. After meeting Raul and learning about how simple and affordable UBELONG makes volunteering abroad, I simply had to go! The hardest part was just deciding on the location and project considering the vast amount of incredible opportunities available.

03-19-2012

UBelong was great! The organization is extremely organized and everything from the pre-trip all the way through the post-trip was awesome. Our Alternative Break trip (with University of Maryland) was focused on poverty and education in an indigenous Quechua community. The on-site contact in Cuzco, was pretty incredible. She connected us with all the on-site partners and helped accommodate our group's need. We ended-up volunteering in several different areas - a girls home, teaching English, a center for students with disabilities, and a sports camp in either pairs or groups of four. UBelong also arranged a group project for us so in the evenings we painted a a school together (there were 11 of us in total). The accommodations were really good too and the food was amazing! I highly recommend working with UBelong, especially if you students are planning a trip from scratch. They also have a mission that fits right in with Break Away's mission and the founders have a background on International Development which added a lot to the program (moving away from volentourism to actual service-learning). The only catch is the organization recommends the service to extend to two weeks, which is what we did and what I highly recommend for future groups. The cost was super reasonable as well.

03-05-2012

I had a great experience with UBELONG. They did a very good job with organizing everything for me from the beginning. My volunteer project was amazing and I really enjoyed working with the children. Cusco was beautiful and an awesome experience overall. I am so greatful to UBELONG for everything.

09-11-2011

Before going into my volunteer project in Peru, I was nervous about whether or not I'd be able to really make an impact with my relative lack of Spanish-speaking ability. However, it turned out I had nothing to worry about - Martina was there every step of the way and it was so easy to approach her and ask her questions. She reassured me that speaking perfect Spanish wasn't a necessary condition for being able to help the kids at my kindergarten - it just mattered that I maintained my level of passion for helping others and everything else would fall into place. She couldn't have been more right. UBELONG enabled me to take one of the biggest steps out of my comfort zone that I ever have, and I couldn't be more grateful. There was so much support on their end, and their passion for international service really encouraged me to never underestimate my ability to make a difference. I sincerely hope that I can return and volunteer with another UBELONG project very soon.

08-26-2011

I had a great experience with UBELONG. They took care of everything from airport pick up to arranging a nice clean place to stay. Working with the school in Cusco was a really amazing experience. I was so grateful for the opportunity to see and live in a part of the world as more than just a tourist!

10-06-2010

I discovered UBELONG while searching for reliable and professional volunteer opportunities. I had a very good experience with volunteering at my project in Hanoi, Vietnam. The UBELONG team is extremely dedicated in ensuring that you have a successful trip. I would highly recommend UBELONG to anyone seeking to experience living and working abroad. It just might be the opportunity you were waiting for!

04-28-2014

After searching extensively on the internet for a volunteer organization, I could find no better program than UBELONG. Highly affordable and well-organized, UBELONG gave me the opportunity to travel and work in a wonderful country. for eight weeks. At every step of the way, someone was there to guide me and make sure I was prepared for the journey ahead. At the volunteer site, local volunteers showed me how to get around, the best places to eat, and what places to avoid. And, as my project progressed, my mentor, Raul, checked in to make sure everything was going well. All in all, I had a great time volunteering in Ho Chi Minh City for UBELONG and I highly recommend the program to anyone looking to do some international volunteer work.

01-28-2014

This was my first experience volunteering in an overseas location and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've voyaged as a tourist before and found this experience of volunteering to be as good, if not even better. I feel I connected with the locals in a positvely more genuine manner. They saw me more as somebody who cared, not as somebody in transit through their nation. I participated to teach English in a public school with primary students. The level was more basic than what I expected but the students made up for it with their enthusiasm. The local teachers meant well (though they could use English classes) and I appreciated the support from Ubelong. I think the cultural tips they gave were excellent and their focus on volunteers being there to work and be of service to the community, as opposed to the other way around, was important in preparing me. Knowing somebody knew my name and wanted me to do well was a very nice feeling. We lived in a perfectly basic but fine volunteer house. English was the spoken language so it did not feel so immersive from that perspective. There were Vietnamese staff people who were wonderful and I cherish the relationships we had. I found their curiosity about me and my country to be eye opening and I enjoyed their companionship. They went out of the way to make us feel at home.

01-11-2014

My summer volunteer experience in Vietnam was one full of great insight. I learned the ins and outs of living in a South East Asian country. My volunteer work allowed me to interact with the local people and learn about the problems that face that country now, and problems they foresee in the future. If I wasn't at work or exploring the unique beauties of Hanoi, I was travel around the country. I saw sights that could only be explained through picture. I was lucky enough to meet a great friend while I was there. We still talk to this day. Even Though we are thousands of miles apart, we pick up our conversation right where we left off. I own a large amount of my enjoyment to Ubelong. They allowed me to relax and enjoy my time while it lasted. They took great care of me, my happiness was their first priority and I never felt like I was abandoned. I would recommend Ubelong to anyone looking for unique summer experience.

12-03-2013

UBELONG is a wonderful organization that truly values individual volunteers and does everything that it can to enable them to succeed and help people in the world. I was seeking out an opportunity to contribute to a developing economy and found the perfect outlet in Hanoi, Vietnam through UBELONG. I was very happy to work with Raul and the partner organizations UBELONG worked with in Vietnam. All of them truly cared about my happiness and fulfillment in the field. For anyone who has some time and really want to make an impact firsthand across the world, I would strongly recommend UBELONG.

09-30-2013

UBELONG sets the standard for nonprofits. My experience with UBELONG was seamless. I traveled with a group of eleven other people, and we were all taken care of in every aspect, before, during and even after our trip. Raul and the other members of the UBELONG team made sure we were accounted for on our trip, and even took the extra measures to follow up with us afterwards. Prior to our, Raul briefed us extensively on what our experience would've been like and gave us many helpful tips as well. It definitely helped ease the transition, and we were able to truly focus on our service. I can only imagine how significantly different my experience would have been if we hadn't traveled with them.

09-27-2013

I have Ubelong and my mentor Raul Roman to thank for making my experience in Ho Chi Minh City possible. I am so grateful for Raul's help and guidance over the past few months in making my trip happen. The professionalism and level of ease in working with Ubelong was superb. During my time in Ho Chi Minh City, the local NGO that Ubelong connected me with was Volunteers for Peace Vietnam. They assigned me to an orphanage called "Chua La" for abandoned kids that had been taken in by Buddhist monks. The monks fed us everyday at their pagoda and I felt very welcome among them. We were among the first group of volunteers that had ever been allowed to work there. The other volunteers I worked with were a wonderful group of people. Fourteen children and a baby were all cared for by one 56 year old women. The amount of work she had in order to care for so many children was overwhelming and it made our work very valuable and necessary. While helping to provide care for the kids, I also helped renovate the house that the children lived in. Alongside the renovations, me and another volunteer initiated the construction of a garden in front of the orphanage. I spent many hours in the hot sun turning up the soil! After many days and with the help of local and other international volunteers, we planted several flowers, a mango tree, and a squash plant. This garden will improve the image of the orphanage and also help them become more self-sustaining.I hope to see more planting done by future volunteers. There is still much more work to be done at the Chua La orphanage/pagoda and I hope that things continue to improve as more volunteers are assigned to that particular project. I truly hope that one day I can return to Chua La and see the progress that has been made. I definitely see myself doing more volunteering through Ubelong in my future!

05-01-2013

I volunteered for three weeks as an English teacher in Hanoi, Vietnam through UBELONG. What initially attracted me to UBELONG was the organization's genuine philosophy and passion regarding international volunteering and the outstanding affordability of their programs. I continued to be impressed by how thoroughly they prepare volunteers beforehand and how quickly Raul (co-founder and my volunteer mentor) responded to all of my questions and concerns. The pre-departure Skype interview with Raul also provided a wonderful opportunity to better familiarize myself with UBELONG and the people behind the organization. I felt like I really got to know Raul and he took a genuine interest in getting to know me and my motivations for volunteering in Vietnam. The entire process confirmed to me that I had definitely chosen the BEST organization and program for my international volunteering experience. Overall, I had am amazing time in Hanoi and I can't say enough about how pleased I am with UBELONG. If you are looking into volunteering abroad, my advice would be to take this opportunity right now in your life and DO IT! You will gain friends, memories, and skills that will last you a lifetime. And in choosing a program through UBELONG, you definitely will not be disappointed with the quality of their organization and the support you will have along the way!

03-05-2013

Volunteering in Vietnam through UBELONG was a life-changing experience for me. For years I had wanted to participate in some sort of international volunteer work, but none of the programs that I looked at quite matched what I wanted. Some wanted a lengthy time commitment, some were too expensive, and most of them didn't have the types of projects I was looking for - which was anything health or HIV related. Raul solved that problem when he found ME and suggested that I check out his organization. At first I was skeptical of the complete stranger suggesting that I should send him money and then fly to a foreign country, but I decided to start by looking at the website, and I became progressively more and more secure about what UBELONG was offering. Each of my concerns about other organizations were addressed quickly by the website - great flexibility for length of stay, the most affordable option for volunteering that I've found, and most importantly, a wide variety of projects, with details up front about what was expected by the organization and what could be expected by the volunteers. I quickly found a project that I found incredibly appealing - public health volunteering in Hanoi, Vietnam. I had just applied to Master of Public Health programs for the following fall, and I was looking for an opportunity to get some experience in my new field before diving into my studies. I applied to the UBELONG program called "Promoting HIV/AIDS Awareness", but my application went in right around the time of Tet in Vietnam and UBELONG was having trouble getting through to the host organization. UBELONG responded by preemptively talking to the organization hosting the other public health project in Hanoi and finding a place for me there, and when they called me a couple days later, I was given the option to keep waiting for the HIV project or accept the one that was already happy to take me on, and I chose to do just that. Over the next couple months, while I was making all of the necessary preparations for the trip, I was in regular contact with Raul. UBELONG has a set of several standard emails and skype conversations that they have with every volunteer, but Raul quickly responded to all of my additional emails, answering in detail every question I could think to ask. He even found time to meet with me in Washington, DC while I was there for an unrelated trip. By the time I left for Vietnam, although I was still nervous, I felt like Raul had prepared me incredibly well. Throughout the trip, Raul was in contact with me to see how things were going. I received check-in emails from him immediately before and after my flight to Vietnam and approximately every two weeks after that. We also had a phone/Skype conversation while I was there and he has listened to all of my concerns and suggestions and has quickly made appropriate changes, as necessary. I am incredibly grateful for his work as my mentor, and his support made the experience of traveling to a completely foreign country where I didn't know the language at all much easier. I would highly recommend UBELONG to anyone else considering international volunteering (and I have suggested it for a few friends already).

03-05-2013

I volunteered for a local NGO in Hanoi, Vietnam for a month this past December and it was undoubtedly the best learning experience of my life thus far! Not only did I get an opportunity to see how NGOs in Asian countries function but I also got the chance to go out into the field - the beautiful Khe Ro forest in the outskirts of Hanoi - and explore this site's ecotourism potential. I picked UBELONG because of its affordability and the wealth of precise and detailed information that they provide about their programs. Additionally, my volunteer mentor, Raul, was exceptionally helpful and made sure to answer any query and concern that I may have had. The Safety Meeting that Raul conducted over the phone with me made me absolutely sure about my choice of organization! In UBELONG, you can find a support system that is constantly there, no matter which country in the world you may be volunteering in. Volunteering in Vietnam through UBELONG was the best decision that I have ever made and I look forward to volunteering this summer again... perhaps in South Africa! Thank you, UBELONG, for a fantastic experience!

03-05-2013

Vietnam, however far you live from it, is worth the trip. Its beauty is often underestimated, as its gorgeous beaches, vibrant markets, and friendly people make for a whirlwind of an adventure. Surviving Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon) in the tropically humid rainy season may be a challenge to some, but the fast-paced city life will definitely keep you on your toes. The crazy motorbike traffic, people sitting on the side of the street, and the street vendors offering sugar cane juice and lychee contribute to the excitement of the city. In general, the Vietnamese are incredibly welcoming to foreigners, which facilitated my transition to the new environment and thus lessened the impact of culture shock. As nervous as I was for my trip, UBELONG was completely supportive and helpful from day one. They made sure to give me all of the knowledge and skills that I needed to succeed in my teaching and living experiences there. I am so thankful to have chosen such an outstanding program with which to volunteer abroad!

02-21-2013

I volunteered in Hanoi with two friends and had an excellent experience. The support from my Ubelong mentor was excellent, he was very easy to reach and knowledgabe. I don't know how mentors are assigned, but if you can ask for Raul I highly recommend him. I thought the briefing meeting on live chat was also key, it made me see I had an organization supporting me and it gave me the opportunity to ask a lot of questions. Once I arrived it was overwhelming with the traffic, language and culture in general, but after about a week I settled in. I was teaching English in a public school and at first how busy and crowded the classes were surprised me. However, the kids were the best part of my trip and made it so enjoyable. I was shocked at how well behaved they were and the respect they showed us, they called us "teacher". I don't think poor schools in the US are like that. Some other volunteers had just started a volunteer book to pass from one to the other as people came and went, and I found this extremely helpful as I could see what others had done and feel I could pass on what I was learning. The housing was better than I expected, altough it was loud some evenings with people staying up. The food was excellent and I very much enjoyed being with volunteers from all over the world. It was a very good experience and one that I miss and hope to have again soon.

02-09-2013

Working with UBELONG provided me with a life-changing experience as I worked to make a difference in the world. As researched different organizations, I chose UBELONG because of their dynamic program offerings that include HIV education, a cause I am passionate about. From my application to my departing flight from Vietnam, UBELONG staff made themselves accessible at all times. I was both impressed and motivated by how hard co-founder Raul Roman worked to make sure that my skills were used in a way so as to have the greatest impact at my project site in Hanoi. From hosting a workshop on HIV/AIDS prevention to spending a day helping children affected by Agent Orange, UBELONG encouraged me to seek out all the opportunities I could to help others. The chance to do this work in Vietnam has meant the world to me; I can only hope that I did as much for the Vietnamese as they did for me.

02-09-2013

I write this testimonial in the comfortable and laid back confides of my Las Cruces, New Mexico home. As I sit here and try and think of the words that can explain my wonderful experience afforded to me by Ubelong. Through my placement in Hanoi, I learned life lessons that I will carry and use as I near graduation and step out into the real world. When I started to think about what I wanted to do this summer, I knew I wanted to do something that would effect my life more than just getting an internship for another American corporation. I started talking to people on my campus and the name Ubelong kept coming up. As I looked more into them, and started talking to Raul Roman (co-founder of the organization) I new I found a winner. Any trepidation that I experienced in the planning stage was soon minimized. They were professional at the same time compassionate about how they handled me as a potential volunteer. It didn't end after I picked them and sent them my money, witch we all probably have experienced. They supported me with just as much enthusiasm during and after my placement. Even though Hanoi is a wonderful and eccentric city it was comforting in knowing that you had a support system in place if something was hindering your experience. The first thing that everyone experiences in a foreign country is the obvious culture shock, I was no different. As I took my first ride through the city, I new for sure I got in over my head. these thoughts were subdued almost instantly after my first dinner; which I was lucky enough to of shared with Raul. As soon as I started working, the days started flying bye. In between my trips to Sapa, Ha Long bay, and my adventure through the central part of the country I barley had time to think about home. This experience was made even more spectacular after I started making friends, one that I now consider one of my best. Him and I walked the streets like we owned the place, even joked about not going back to school and opening a bar. All in all this summer was an experience that will stick with me for a long time. I can't thank Ubelong enough for giving me this opportunity. If money is an issue, it's out their, their are most likely organizations on your campus that will help cover some of the cost. If you have any questions feel free to ask, I would love to try and answer them for you.

10-30-2011

I just returned from teaching English in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I had a wonderful month there interacting with kids, volunteers, and the local people; I wish I had stayed longer! Vietnam is such a beautiful country with so many things to do and see. I loved the honesty, friendliness, and laid-back nature of their culture :) Feel free to message me if you have any further questions...hope you have a great time wherever you choose to go!

10-27-2011

I found out about Ubelong through my professor at college so there actually was not much research for me to do on programs. Ubelong has a very good reputation among college students I know so that meant a lot to me. I found the Ghana program to be very affordable and I felt a lot of support throughout my experience, which was important as this was my first time volunteering abroad. Everything went a lot smoother than I could have imagined and the preparation I received beforehand made me feel prepared. I think Ubelong's focus on being volunteers instead of tourists is really good, and is a reason why Ubelong volunteers tend to fit in better. I was on the public teaching program and found the work to be very challenging but very rewarding. I was shocked by how many kids were in a class, I literally counted over 50 one day. They were so eager to learn and I felt my presence over there made a difference. We focused a lot of nutrition and cleanliness, and while past volunteers had helped bring the levels of understanding among the children up, there was still a lot more that needed to be done. But again I do think I made a very small but still important difference. The living situation was better than expected, I found almost all the other volunteers to be very motivated and friendly. I consider many lifelong friends. Overall it was a wonderful experience and I am very grateful for the opportunity.

04-08-2014

I am extremely grateful to have heard of UBELONG through Cornell. This was my first time travelling alone, and I felt more than comfortable with all the guidance and help provided by the UBELONG staff. They took care of me from the moment I signed up to volunteer, until I returned home from my trip. In addition, the projects they offer are great learning experiences. I came back home feeling inspired and energized. I will definitely be recommending UBELONG to prospective volunteers!

01-28-2014

After working with UBELONG in Ghana this summer, I can honestly say that the organization is forth right and always strives to help those that are suffering. Raul did a great job in creating a web of families within the international community. It was clear to me during my stay that the bonds that Raul had fostered while traveling abroad were still strong today. It is with this kind of leadership, UBELONG has promoted prosperity in every community that they have reached out to, and with the help of the volunteers will continue to help impoverished communities all around the world.  

11-28-2013

I had an amazing time in Ghana and I definitely miss the place! It is hard to describe everything in a brief note, but I will always cherish the unbelievable experience that I had. In a nutshell, I really appreciated the PEOPLE I met during my journey to Ghana. The volunteering project was awesome, no doubt, and I definitely learned a lot from teaching in different schools and from working at the clinic. Still, the experience would not have been the same if I had not met all the volunteers and friendly Ghanaians that taught me about myself as much as my project did. Thank you for working with me and for providing support throughout the whole process. UBELONG is a great organization, and I am grateful that I have gotten the chance to go on this journey through this organization. I am happy to be a part of the UBELONG community.  

10-22-2013

I always knew I wanted to volunteer abroad, but I never knew how I would get there. I looked into many different programs before finally discovering UBELONG. After a quick glance at the website, I knew I had found exactly what I was searching for. My experience volunteering in Ghana felt personalized and "custom-made" because of the one-on-one communication I had with my UBELONG mentor. Prior to my trip, I was able to ask questions, express concerns, and video chat with my mentor to discuss day-to-day life and safety in Ghana. UBELONG went above and beyond to help me feel comfortable and prepared to embark on my life-changing journey! An aspect of UBELONG that particularly impressed me was the affordability. I could tell right from the beginning that this was a program truly interested in giving volunteers the best cultural experience imaginable. My expectations were exceeded in every way. UBELONG became much more to me than just a volunteer abroad program; it became a community. I have been welcomed into a community that stretches over three continents, nine countries, and seventeen different cities, each of which contains its own little UBELONG home.

10-16-2013

My first experience with UBELONG was during my the Spring Break of my freshman year of college. After speaking with my group's mentor prior to departing for Quito, I realized how prepared I was to go and make a difference during my time abroad. What I did not know was that I was going to leave with such unforgettable experiences. UBELONG paired my volunteer group with a wonderful host family, and although I only had the opportunity to stay in Quito for one week, I realized how much UBELONG did in order to make sure everyone who volunteers for them has the best experiences of their lives. I was incredibly impressed by how much my Mentor helped my group to prepare, and UBELONG made sure that we were in an environment where we would thrive and be comfortable. This volunteer experience was unlike any other I have had in the past, and it truly was the best volunteer experience I've had to this day. I hope to have this opportunity again in the future, so that I can make even more incredible memories and friendships.

04-04-2014

UBELONG provides affordable, flexible volunteer opportunities abroad. The staff of both UBELONG and the local team were incredibly helpful during my preparation and stay on the island. The time I spent volunteering on the Galapagos was a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience: I was able to bond with volunteers from around the world while making a difference. It was wonderful to have the opportunity to give back to this magical place. I can't recommend UBELONG highly enough.

04-02-2014

My experience with UBELONG was great because of the affordable price, support, and friendly staff who always replied promptly. As a college student and traveling by myself for the first time, I felt very well-prepared between the resource packet I was provided with and talking to my mentor. The project itself, teaching English, was both fun and challenging, and the teachers and students were so friendly and welcoming. The volunteer house and host family were wonderful as well, and I loved being able to meet so many new people in addition to volunteering. In the future, I would love to volunteer with UBELONG again!

03-31-2014

As a college student with a limited budget but an immense love for cultural immersion, I didn't know where I could find a reasonably priced international experience until I stumbled upon UBELONG. UBELONG made my volunteer service trip to Ecuador so stress-free. The process was very well organized and everyone on the team was incredibly friendly and answered our questions within minutes. My experience working alongside a local teacher in Ecuador was invaluable. Teaching English to a classroom of about 10 students in Spanish gave me a taste of an education system different from my own. As someone with intermediate Spanish proficiency, the task was challenging however so rewarding. Even though I was just there for a week, I made some meaningful connections with not only the students but the teacher and the principal of the school. I would highly recommend UBELONG to anyone either looking to make an impact or anyone just looking for an adventure!

02-14-2014

After my first excursion with UBELONG in Ghana, I fell in love with the message that UBELONG was representing and wanted to be apart of it again. My first experience with UBELONG was filled with passionate people that shared a love for the work we were doing. UBELONG encouraged us to see beyond the differences in each person and left me with every lasting friendships. The care that the mentors have for their volunteers continually gave me confidence that I could make an impact. I really enjoy all of the mentors and their devotion to the program.

02-12-2014

Before I signed up to volunteer in the Galapagos, I looked at a lot of volunteer websites. What struck me about Ubelong's website was its commitment to providing guidance and support for a meaningful experience in one's chosen community. Because Ubelong is not reinventing the wheel but is aligning itself with well-established volunteer programs, you can jump into an ongoing effort and feel useful from Day One. There is also a guest house in Quito available to volunteers that is an immersion experience in itself. The host family is generous, kind, and helpful to the point that you may not want to leave. It's true that the conditions at the biological preserve were somewhat, well, rustic, but the community was open and accepting and the overall vibe was very positive. I say that as an older volunteer who found myself among students and other much-younger people. We laughed a lot. I am considering participating in another Ubelong project in the future--it is an affordable, effective, and open-hearted volunteer program.

09-26-2013

I had an incredible experience volunteering through UBELONG in Quito, Ecuador for four weeks this summer. It was my first time out of the country, but all of the information and assistance along the way helped to prepare me ahead of time. The family at the volunteer house was so welcoming and really made me feel like I as at home in Ecuador, and the other volunteers I met were fantastic. I would highly recommend UBELONG to anyone wanting to volunteer in another country because I couldn't have asked for a better experience.

09-22-2013

Thanks to UBELONG's organization and help, my humanitarian trip to Ecuador was a complete sucsess. I cannot express my gratitude towards Cedric and the rest of the staff for sticking through and helping me finalize my trip plans amidst all the chaos of my summer this year. I am thankful for all the information they provided to tell me how to properly prepare for the jungle, what to expect, and how to behave as a responsible advocate for volunteering work. UBELONG gave me the sense of security I had so that I was able to truly enjoy Ecuador, meeting locals and volunteers and doing work that taught me so many things that a classroom couldn't. Already my family and I are planning the UBELONG trip for next year. I sincerely recommend this organization over any other because it addresses humanitarian work with the volunteering aspect first, unlike so many of the more expensive sites. Again, I want to thank you so much for helping to plan this trip. My brother and sister and I are already all planning to do another UBELONG trip to Vietnam next summer, in Hanoi, and my parents are considering teaching english in South-East Asia too (we just moved to Singapore). We want to become more active than before, so almost definitely we will be in contact again sometime later this year.

09-20-2013

I had a great experience in Ecuador with UBELONG. I worked in Quito for three weeks on the Tumbaco education projects and found it to be challenging yet very rewarding. I found everyone to be friendly, eager to help and supportive of me. A great organization that offers busy people like me the opportunity to take a break and do some good. Thanks.

08-30-2013

My experience with UBELONG was fantastic from start to finish. The application process was swift, the feedback did not take long and once I was accepted, I felt prepared and comfortable for my trip. The interactions with my mentor, Adriana, were very helpful as was the Preparation Booklet which did an excellent job of addressing almost all of my questions and concerns ahead of the trip. Anything that wasn't in the booklet, Adriana answered quickly and thoroughly. The living situation in Quito is a home-stay which houses many volunteers, allowing you an intimate view into Ecuadorian life while also being in the company of other volunteers. Many volunteers stop in Quito for a few days on their way to the Galapagos Islands or the Amazon so I was able to meet many different people from all over the world, a very cool experience. The opportunity to get to know an Ecuadorian family while also making new friends with the other volunteers could not have been better. Teaching English to Ecuadorian children was really fun and rewarding and it was a great way to get exposure to Ecuadorian society. The kids are incredibly cute and so good-natured, and it was amazing to see how quickly they warmed up to the volunteers. I felt a strong bond with the students and I was very sad to leave them on my last day. My UBELONG experience was an amazing way to really get to know a new place and I plan on traveling to other parts of the world with them in the future.

08-22-2013

I signed up for the forest conservation project in the Galapagos Islands and spent three weeks there. In the period leading up to my trip, as well as throughout my time on the Islands, I received plenty of support from Cedric and the rest of the UBELONG team. I had a wonderful and enriching experience while participating in the forest conservation project and I am extremely grateful to UBELONG for putting together my volunteer trip in such a dedicated and professional manner. That said, to really benefit from the trip, one should have realistic expectations. Do not expect to gain a lot of technical or scientific expertise as most of the work you will be doing is relatively simple and manual, like cutting down plants or harvesting fruits. Nevertheless, they can be really fun as well. And it is a good way to bond with other like-minded volunteers who share a passion for nature, travelling and just having a good time.

07-22-2013

Having gone to several different reserves around Ecuador, I met many people who had set up their trips through organizations other than UBELONG. What I found was that, compared to these volunteers, I was much more prepared and understanding of what I was going to be doing, had better contact with my mentor, and even paid less than most. Overall then, my experience with UBELONG was nothing but positive and I would easily recommend it to anyone looking for a supportive network for volunteering abroad.

07-18-2013

My experience with UBELONG thus far spans two trips to Ecuador and Peru, one year apart. I first went to the Amazon forest in Ecuador to conduct a forest conservation project in the spring of 2012 and subsequently traveled to the Sacred Valley of Peru to work on an education project in the spring of 2013. I can wholeheartedly say that these two experiences have completely altered my perspective of the world and have opened me up to experiences that I never imagined would be in my horizon. My trip to the Amazon Jungle of Ecuador was both eye-opening and exciting. I had never lived in such a wild environment, both in the figurative and literal sense. The work we did there ranged from harvesting tree saplings to reforest the forest to building a bamboo bridge to traverse a river to working in the local Quechua school to remodel and rebuild their walkways to planting a square plot of crops for the local Quechua and more. We never felt like a day was wasted and always had ample time to truly explore our surroundings, whether it was swimming in the river or adventuring through the jungle or climbing a watchtower to look above the forest canopy. This trip was surely the defining moment in my life up until that point. After such a successful trip to Ecuador, I went through UBELONG again to conduct an education project in the stunningly picturesque backdrop of the Sacred Valley, Peru. We taught children in the local primary and secondary schools and built a greenhouse for a local orphanage that couldn't afford to buy its own fruits and vegetables. This volunteer trip was drastically different from my trip to Ecuador in terms of the work we did, but the impact that it had was exactly the same. I was able to reinforce my love for volunteering that I established during my time in Ecuador and was also able to make a significant impact in the lives of numerous individuals along the way. Without a doubt, UBELONG does an amazing job of setting you up with a meaningful project coupled with kind-hearted indigenous peoples that essentially become your surrogate family for the duration of your stay. Cedric has been my UBELONG contact for both projects and he was so easy to work with and so helpful every step of the way. UBELONG does very well to set you up in safe project sites with reliable individuals and, as such, I never had any concerns going into my volunteer trips. Truly, the relationships that I forged and the work I carried out during these experiences will never be forgotten and will always continue to be a part of who I am. If I choose to go on another volunteer trip in the near future, I know for certain that UBELONG will be the first place I look!

07-14-2013

During the spring of this year I spent three weeks in Quito, Ecuador. This was my first time traveling outside of the United States by myself for an extended period of time, and Ubelong helped make for a wonderful experience. Before I left I received a very helpful and detailed briefing manual that helped answer most of my questions, and any that were left unanswered, my mentor was able to quickly respond to via email. Also, before I left, I had a Skype safety meeting with my mentor that went over how to keep safe in the field and really helped to calm some of my nerves.Once I arrived in Ecuador the host family I stayed with was wonderful. I was immediately welcomed and made to feel like part of the family, which made for a very unique experience. The teaching project I worked on was something that I will never forget. Not only did I help the children learn English, but they also helped me learn so much about who I am and who I want to become. With full confidence, I recommend Ubelong to anyone who is looking to volunteer abroad. It is a family that I am so proud to be apart of!

07-11-2013

Of all the places I've been, I loved the Galapagos the most. The physical labor was personally very rewarding and the work environment was very relaxing and friendly. M-Th we would work in the mornings, break for lunch, work for 2 hours in the afternoon and have the rest of the evening off. When we worked we were usually chopping down invasive plant species and replanting native species or working in the nursery. We also got to work at the National Park's nursery and visit the giant tortoises. When we were not working we played a lot of cards, we played Bananagrams, we told stories, there were some instruments to play music, and generally just enjoy each others' company. It was so nice to live somewhere away from internet and cell phones and the buzz of everyday life and just enjoy getting to know people from all over the world. On the weekends we would go into town on the coast and go to the beach, eat at restaurants, go out at night. Sometimes the work was frustrating when directions were vague or it felt like we weren't working very hard, but working on South American time was part of the experience. UBELONG is a facilitator that filters volunteers into local programs. So although the organization at the site could be frustrating, the support from UBELONG was great. Cedric made sure to check in with me on a regular basis and help me with anything I needed. And the prices are UNbeatable. I know there were other volunteers doing the same work I was doing who had paid more through other international volunteer organizations that function similarly to UBELONG. There were more additional costs than I had expected on the island - the Galapagos are expensive so expect to spend around $80 per weekend, including hostel cost for 2 nights. Also, you are in the perfect position to go snorkeling or diving, and volunteers get huge discounts if you buy directly from travel agents on the island, so plan some additional time before or after volunteering to see the other islands.

07-05-2013

As a future Peace Corps Volunteer, UBELONG has given me the incredible opportunity to do volunteer work in the continent where I would be living these next two years. Their connections were great and the experience overall was fantastic. I never could have had this experience without their connections and resources.

06-17-2013

I would highly recommend UBELONG to anyone looking to volunteer abroad. What originally attracted me to the organization was the affordability of their programs. However, not only was my project affordable, but the UBELONG staff was also awesome at helping me get ready to go, supporting me during my program, and debriefing with me when I returned to the U.S. In Quito, I was a volunteer with UBECI, a local organization that works with impoverished children in the public markets around the city. UBECI's goal is to help the children they work with to enter into the public school system and maintain their grades in order to be able to stay in school. I thought that the UBECI staff was great to work with, and I really liked being able to play with and teach children every day. I also lived with a host family while I was there. It seems like UBELONG does a good deal of research of the local organizations that they partner with, especially in terms of the accomodations of the volunteers. I was extrememly comfortbale living in Quito, and getting to know my host family was a great experience.

05-23-2013

My experience with UBELONG was phenomenal. There was a lot of communication with my mentor prior to the trip, so I felt very comfortable when I arrived in Quito. This was my first service trip abroad and I can't wait for my next with UBELONG!

05-22-2013

Last summer I received a grant from my college to study ecotourism in Ecuador. I quickly discovered UBELONG through my research, and after learning of the project on the Galapagos Islands, I quickly signed up. My two weeks there completely changed my attitudes towards environmentalism and I returned home a better person. Talking with my peers persuaded me to lead a group of students from my college for an alternative spring break trip in the Amazon. Working with the UBELONG staff made at what seemed like a daunting task of planning both informative and encouraging. From the airport pickup, to a home-stay in Quito, UBELONG delivered on their promises of safety and logistics. The project itself in the Amazon exposes the volunteer to a variety of culture and environmentalism, and working under the guidance of experienced locals, a volunteer can come back with the greatest souvenir one can obtain from Ecuador, a feeling of self-accomplishment and unique cultural exposure. You can really make a difference by becoming a UBELONG volunteer, and you can learn more about yourself in the process. I have confirmed my passion for environmentalism through UBELONG and made friends from all around the world that I continually stay in touch with. I encourage those seeking to travel to check out the UBELONG experience, you won't regret it and you will gain this unsatisfiable quest for global volunteer work.

05-20-2013

My experience with UBELONG has been overwhelmingly positive. As a student, I don't have a huge budget, and from my research into other volunteer opportunities I know that UBELONG keeps costs incredibly low. From my experiences as a UBELONG volunteer, I know that this low cost comes with a high quality experience. UBELONG supported me before, during, and after my adventure, providing plenty of information, open lines of communication, and friendly, knowledgeable staff. At the same time, though, I had plenty of flexibility to ensure that my volunteer trip aligned with my personal goals and interests.One of my favorite aspects of UBELONG is their general approach to volunteering abroad. As someone with a keen interest in sustainability issues, I understand that we can't progress as a planet without valuing all cultures and ways of life. I really appreciate that UBELONG's volunteering approach is non-intrusive, respecting local norms and knowledge; I felt that, as a volunteer, I participated in a holistic process, working with local organizations toward environmental goals that benefit everyone. This type of atmosphere made my experience all the more fulfilling, transformative, and enlightening. I would not hesitate to volunteer with UBELONG again!

05-08-2013

I learned about UBELONG from a classmate at Johns Hopkins-SAIS. I researched the organization online, attended a happy hour and was very much pleased with the detailed information provided including program costs. Having gone to Quito, Ecuador through UBELONG was a pleasant experience (Quito and its people will always have a special place in my heart). My mentor provided guidance before the trip, during the trip and we even met for coffee upon my return. My fellow volunteers in Quito were good-surprised of the personal attention provided by my mentor. Highly recommend it.

03-22-2013

My trip to Ecuador, arranged through this wonderful volunteer organization, was my very first major excursion of this sort, and so I was pretty nervous to begin with. But with the extraordinary service and personal guidance given to me by my UBELONG mentor, I arrived at my placement - I'm convinced - more prepared than I ever would have been had I gone through a more expensive organization. And the perks of volunteering through UBELONG didn't end there: while I was in school teaching English or helping to clean up Ecuador's beautiful beaches (thus unable, at times, to get to the phone), my mentor was personally taking calls from my worried mother and reassuring her that yes, I was safe and doing fine. Plus, our conversations that took place both during and subsequent to my placement really helped me make sense of this complex, wonderful experience and place it in context both globally and personally. On the whole, I would say that my experience working with UBELONG was completely, totally, overwhelmingly positive; I sincerely recommend them to the prospective volunteer, and I hope that their success continues to allow them to offer amazing experiences to new generations of volunteers and world-changers.

03-21-2013

This past summer I spent around 2 months in the Congal Coastal Forest Reserve in Esmeraldas, Ecuador. I learned about UBELONG through my global health professor at my university. As part of my minor's field experience requirement, I had to choose a program for 8 weeks which included a health project component. I found these qualities and much more in the program offered in the Coastal Forest Reserve. I admittedly, had my reservations about the being one of the first health volunteers to work through the UBELONG program here, but went with an open-mind and that was all I needed. Travelling to the reserve was a bit tricky with the taxis and buses, but once there the people, life, and work we ended up doing was fantastic. I had already been working in the emergency department of my hospital for the past few summers and breaks off from school so experience was not necessarily a problem. The language barrier was difficult to overcome because it was 3 years since I took a Spanish class or practiced speaking, but I caught on fast and was working all around the hospital within 2-3 weeks. I would recommend spending at least 2-3 weeks to become acclimated before trying to pursue an independent project because there is so much to learn about the surrounding town, history, and culture during that initial period. Now about the work I did there, I really cannot expressions the gratitude I have for my program and its awesome and varied opportunities. I worked in the hospital three days a week either in the laboratory, emergency department, or outpatient shadowing doctors. In the lab, I helped with many different types of tests including blood and stool. Using the microscope to peer into the rich world of parasites in this part of the world was really amazing. In the emergency department, I was able to see all kinds of cases including 3 live births!! These experiences were unlike anything I was able to witness in the States. Besides the hospital, I also worked along side a Peace Corps volunteer I met in town. I assisted her with 3 sets of sex education workshops to the local teenagers since these classes are not always taught in the schools there, which is really a shame in a community where teenage pregnancy and STD's are so prevalent. Additionally, I worked with the volunteers at the station on many environmental projects that included planting corn, painting schools, cutting bamboo, herding cattle, fishing, constructing trash cans, and picking up litter on the local beach. These activities taught me much about the environmental problems in the area and the steps being taken to combat them. I could keep writing about this awesome place, but if you are interested in an adventurous, fun, and enlightening trip I would definitely recommend travelling to the Coastal Forest Reserve in Ecuador!! There are also many places to visit in the surrounding area, nice beach towns, and plenty to become involved with once you are there. Becoming immersed in the community is probably the best way to have a great experience so talk to people and be social!

03-21-2013

A group of students and I from the University of South Dakota recently returned from a UBELONG expedition in Ecuador based in the Congal Reserve of the coastal rainforest that focused on conservation and cultural immersion. It was a phenomenal experience where we were able to work directly with the locals, experience their culture, and build incredible bonds. Best of all, Cedric and the other UBELONG representatives helped us every step of the way, before, during, and after our journey. A smile always comes to my face when I think of everything we did and the fun we had while we were doing it. If given the chance, I would go back in a heart beat.

03-19-2013

I was extremely impressed with my UBELONG experience. I have participated in and planned many service trips but no other organization have compared to UBELONG in quality and organization. This is definitely an organization that I would like to continue to work with in the future.

03-19-2013

My first volunteer experience with UBELONG was certainly a memorable one that I will always remember. Even from speaking with my Mentor the first time I knew this would be a different experience than any other. I was particularly impressed with the care and focus given to my intentions for volunteering, my safety while abroad and the one-on-one mentoring that I received throughout the experience. I felt very prepared leaving for my trip and the only surprises I encountered during were the wonderful experiences I now can share with others about my placement and host family in Quito, Ecuador.

03-15-2013

I could not be happier with Ubelong. I am volunteering in the Quito program for 4 weeks and have found the experience very rewarding. I have the opportunity to meet Cedric who is their founder, during his visit to see the projects here and expand them. His passion for volunteering and making a difference is contagious and it shows in how much the organization supports volunteers and schools. I help in a kindergarten in the north of Quito (I am a retired secondary school teacher from Brazil)and have found the work very rewarding. The first week was difficult but when I built a relationship with the local teacher and connected with the children things became easier. The altitude was also very difficult for me and I was nt able to work a couple days but this too passed.The housing with a local family is excellent. Great experience, thank you Ubelong and Ecuador!

03-05-2013

I just returned from volunteering in the Galapagos with Ubelong in San Cristobal and absolutely loved it! I was with a small group of college friends and we volunteered on the environmental project for 3 weeks. It was my second volunteering experience and first with Ubelong. I picked Ubelong because of how affordable it was and that it was based in the US, where I am from. From the moment I signed up my Ubelong mentor was extremely accesible, and I also found it very helpful to meet with him on Skype for a safety meeting. Everyone I spoke to really, really knew what they were talking about and would bend over backwards to help. They are all volunteers themeselves, and their passion shows. The Galapagos itself was incredible. The work is hard, you are nearly always outdoors cutting down invasive species or planting native trees, but it is very rewarding. The other volunteers were from all over the world and a joy to be with and the local staff passionate about what they were doing. My biggest surprise was how basic the living arrangements are. My mentor told me, but until you experience it you don't really realize it. The bathrooms are outdoors and while the beds are comfy enough, sleeping under a mosquito net can take some getting use to. On the weekends there's so much to do, with snorkeling and hanging out in the relaxed town of Puero Moreno that is about 30 minutes from the reserve my favorites. So I recommend Ubelong and especially the Galapagos to anybody looking to volunteer. I am very thankful to Ubelong for making the experience so affordable and enjoyable, it was a remarkable time in my life.

01-05-2013

I just returned from a trip to the Galapagos. I was with a group of friends on the environmental project. I was very pleased with UBELONG they were a joy to work with from start to end. My only other volunteering experience was in Kenya two years ago and I paid much more for a much lesser experience. Cedric, who was our mentor, was a particular joy to work with and he made everything very easy for us in terms of logistics, understanding what to expect and support. Thank you! My biggest advice would be to prepare for lot of bugs and come in shape because the work is hard. My experience was a 10 throughout, I only gave safety a 9 because you are oftentimes outside working with machetes and tools that could be dangerous. Great experience, this won't be my last with UBELONG.

01-05-2013

I was extremely impressed with my UBELONG experience. I have participated in and planned many service trips but no other organization have compared to UBELONG in quality and organization. This is definitely an organization that I would like to continue to work with in the future.

12-18-2012

UBELONG has been one of the greatest experiences that I have had the opportunity to participate in. I went on a trip to Ecuador in June 2012 for three weeks to teach toddler to elementary school children how to speak English. I was exposed to a lifestyle I would've never had the chance to experience if it weren't for Cedric and the rest of UBELONG's network. After a long gap of not taking Spanish in over four years, being immersed in Ecuadorian culture definitely gave me the opportunity to improve my Spanish speaking skills and learn some new lingo while I was there. If it hadn't been for UBELONG, I wouldn't have gotten the chance to meet Geovanna and her loving family who made me feel like I was a welcome addition to their family. It was really a culture shock to live the lifestyle that the they lived every day, with the different foods that I learned how to cook, and everyone's laxness on time, especially since I have lived in the bustling, fast-paced New York City all of my life. If I had the opportunity and time to, I would definitely want to volunteer again, whether it be teaching English in Quito again or doing another service trip in the future :). I'm so grateful for being given the chance to be a part of UBELONG and I hope to have more experiences like this past summer in the near future.

12-02-2012

I cannot thank UBELONG enough for making this dream of volunteer work abroad both affordable and flexible. The goals of cross-cultural exchange and understanding should not be limited by money and/or time constraints and this organization is striving to make this happen. The mentors are very helpful and provide excellent trip preparation, project orientation, and in-country support. I recommend UBELONG programs enthusiastically for those people desiring to contribute to worthy causes, to connect to and learn from diverse people the world over, and to have personally enriching experiences.

10-08-2012

There are no words to express my gratitude to Raul and the rest of UBELONG. I just completed four weeks of volunteering in the Coastal Forest of Ecuador, and I can say without a doubt that my life has been changed for the better because of it. My journey was indescribable; I went with the intention of giving back but they taught me just as much, if not more, than I could have ever offered to them. The community is staggeringly poor with a multitude of health problems, and it was a wonderful experience assisting the hospital staff there. I am proud to say that I volunteered in such a wonderful community, and I have UBELONG to thank for it. You have created an incredible opportunity for us and I look forward to another service trip in the (hopefully) near future!

09-10-2012

I enjoyed my trip to Ecuador and the service we were able to provide to the community. I’ve never worked so hard as a volunteer and that translated into a greater reward…the relationships and the understanding that what I was doing truly made a difference. I appreciate the UBELONG staff for all their hard work and dedication, and for providing the coordination and support to us as we served communities in Ecuador. I’m a better citizen of the world for having had this volunteer experience.

07-04-2012

My experience with UBELONG was great! I wasn't expecting much because I knew I was there to volunteer and to give back to the Galapagos Islands. But I was surprised by the support I was given when I arrived in Quito. The guidance, accommodation and the people was wonderful. Every step of the way I was guide by my UBELONG guide- when travelling from Quito to the Galapagos- because of this I was able to relax and enjoy my surroundings and give more of myself. I highly recommend UBELONG and will be signing up again in the future.

06-11-2012

I finished a 4-week placement in the Galapagos on March 9. I had the TIME of my life and *really* want to go back. Four weeks was absolutely not enough time. I know it sounds like a cliche but it was truly a unique and life-changing experience. Let me know if you have any questions about this project!

03-08-2012

Believe me when I say that hesitation punctuated my every desire to volunteer in Quito. Fear was literally pulsating through my veins as I made my decision. What if something went wrong? How would I manage to get through it? My family was completely puzzled as to why I felt the need to embark on yet another foreign adventure BUT my instincts told me that this choice was right. The UBELONG needs assessment program in Quito gave me great exposure to the advantages and challenges of working in the field. I was thrilled to be actively engaging in development and UBELONG has done a great job in designing programs that add real value for the local community and for the volunteers. My host family was absolutely wonderful, and very much included me as a part of their family. By the end of my stay, I felt like I had a home away from home. They were definitely a special part of my trip. While UBELONG is a very young organization, Raul and Cedric are incredibly smart, dynamic, and driven professionals who have a vested interest in creating a highly valuable experience for their volunteers. My mentor, Raul, was a phenomenal advisor and supported me throughout my stay in Ecuador. I would say that one of the greatest features of the UBELONG program is the strong support and guidance we receive from the co-founders. If you are still trying to decide, here’s my advice: sometimes you just have to take the plunge! Do it! I doubt you will ever regret it. This was one of the most insightful experiences of my life thus far and I can only wish that everyone will have the opportunity to partake in it. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me! I’d be happy to help in any way I can :)

10-13-2011

For me, service is two-fold. Providing the skills that I have been blessed enough to either hold or obtain to help those in need is without doubt an empowering aspect of service. On the other hand, taking oneself to such a vulnerable and raw level provides an astounding opportunity for self-growth and development. In turn, by further understanding yourself and learning to open your eyes to different cultures, lifestyles, traditions and experiences; you become better equipped to act as a positive servant, bringing the whole process full circle. (After making this realization, I also knew that it was time for me to start acting and was thankfully contacted by a professor about UBELONG. After a few days of research and excessive exploration of the website, I decided to apply on a whim without telling anyone about my application, doubting that anything would actually materialize. Just a few days later, I got an email back that I had been accepted to the program I had applied to, which was the child care-giving in a public market and the family social work program. After talking with my parents, I decided that this was something I really wanted to do. After accepting my placement, Cedric, the co-founder of UBELONG, and I opened up a line of communication. We emailed frequently and had a Skype meeting before my departure. He was always available to answer my questions in addition to being very supportive. (A few months later, I landed in Quito, Ecuador and my journey began. I got to work alongside some of the most incredible, passionate and dedicated people I have ever met. Together, we offered the children we were working with a chance to have a childhood, to escape the hardships that inhibit them at home. Additionally, I worked with a local social worker to help place children into the education system as well as grant them access to health care, a truly unique opportunity to help break the vicious cycle of poverty. My time serving in Ecuador solidified my commitment to a life of a social work, one of the purposes I was most hoping the trip would serve. (Further, on the weekends I got to travel within the country with the other volunteers. I got to go to the Amazon, play with monkeys, climb waterfalls, jump off a bridge, canyon down waterfalls, visit the coast, white-water raft and thoroughly enjoy the unique and vibrant culture of Ecuador.(My praises for UBELONG come with high confidence. Not only was the program unbelievably affordable, but the support from the UBELONG staff instilled me with a sense of confidence and comfort, even when everything around me was different and unknown. UBELONG places such emphasis on their volunteers, ensuring that we volunteers will be satisfied with our experience. I can say with confidence that my time in Ecuador exceeded my expectations and that is certainly due to the fact that I chose UBELONG.

07-02-2011

When I started looking for an organization to volunteer abroad with, there were many options I explored. UBELONG though had the most straight forward application, as well as the lowest cost I found. I was actually leading a group trip abroad, and UBELONG's low cost made it possible for us to take two extra people with us and stay within budget. The great experience with UBELONG though really began after we were given our UBELONG mentor, Cedric, who guided us through the pre-trip process from giving me travel tips to a detailed safety meeting. Cedric truly helped all on our group, from fielding questions of those on our trip who had never gone abroad to giving us advice on what to do when in Ecuador. The most amazing support though came during our week in Quito, Ecuador. Everything from housing to transportation, and especially the service, was thoughtfully planned out and executed perfectly. The fact that I never had to worry about any details while there gave me a lot of peace as a group leader. UBELONG made the process simple, so all I had to do was focus on the service and appreciating the environment I was in. Overall, this was by far my best service abroad experience to date. The cost allowed us to go, the preparation made us feel ready, and the care during the service placement allowed us to focus on what mattered - the service. I definitely plan on having our group go on UBELONG projects in the future, and I plan on going on individual projects as well.

06-30-2011

I went to Quito, Ecuador in March of 2011 with a group of college students. Before volunteering with UBELONG, I had done plenty of volunteer work with a variety of organizations in Dallas, but I had never volunteered abroad. With the video conference orientation and a highly-detailed volunteer manual that was specific to Quito, I was definitely well prepared and excited for my first volunteering abroad experience. One thing that I will always remember is that during orientation, Cedric made note of the difference between a volunteer and a tourist - Tourists go to a country to be served and a volunteers go abroad to serve others. Serving others is exactly what we did in Quito. Beforehand, we were given the choice to choose from three different volunteer projects in the Quito area. The project that I chose was caring for children in an outdoor market. I stayed with a host family who warmly welcomed me and other volunteer to their home, and generously cooked delicious Ecuadorian meals for us. During my time in Ecuador, I was also able to befriend other volunteers from around the world, and together we made a difference. I was in Ecuador for only a week, but it was definitely a life changing experience. I felt that I was able to make an impact in such a short amount of time. Every smile that you give a child, every hug, every laugh, every word of encouragement makes a difference in these children's lives. I definitely plan on volunteering abroad with UBELONG again within the next year and hopefully several more times after that.

05-23-2011

As a faculty sponsor for a university trip to Ecuador, I was truly impressed with UBELONG. Taking a large group of college students to a foreign country is no small task. From the pre-departure planning to post-trip debriefing, Cedric and his team were wonderful. Their attentiveness to detail and group preparations really helped us to have a safe, meaningful experience abroad. We look forward to working with them again in the future!

05-18-2011

I learned about UBELONG from a classmate at Johns Hopkins-SAIS. I researched the organization online, attended a happy hour and was very much pleased with the detailed information provided including program costs. Having gone to Quito, Ecuador through UBELONG was a pleasant experience (Quito and its people will always have a special place in my heart). My mentor provided guidance before the trip, during the trip and we even met for coffee upon my return. My fellow volunteers in Quito were good-surprised of the personal attention provided by my mentor. Highly recommend it.

11-12-2010

I volunteered with UBELONG to give my help to a local organisation in Laos with building a school in a rural village, but I got so much in return. The experience not only broadened my horizons, but also gave me a greater confidence in myself. The amazing people, beautiful culture, and not to mention the breath-taking scenery - unforgettable. I googled "construction volunteering" on a whim and UBELONG was first up. Quite frankly, I would have been lost if not for UBELONG; their website offered so many opportunities to help with projects all over the world, and it showed me the dedication they have to make the world a better place. So I applied without hesitation. But the help available in the lead-up to going was even better. From my UBELONG mentor, others' testimonies, and social media, the whole process was made super easy and reassuring. The experience was definitely the most rewarding of my life and I can't wait to volunteer with UBELONG again!

03-25-2014

The local team was perfect. I felt part of their family. The chance to project and work on a brand new building was thrilling. The only advice to new volunteers could be: start learning Lao in advance so you can speak with the workers that you're about to working with.

05-04-2013

After looking at many opportunities to volunteer abroad in South-East Asia, my search ended when I discovered UBELONG. The clear and accessible website gave me an initial indication that the organisation was purposeful in its work, and showed me several other aspects which further captured my interest. Firstly, it was appealing to me that UBELONG was operating in only a small number of locations around the world, as I attributed this to that fact that the places had been carefully selected due to both their genuine need for development as well as their suitability for volunteer work. Reading further about the individual programs, as well as arriving in Vang Vieng, only enhanced this view. I also felt that it was really important for volunteering opportunities to be affordable, as the enthusiasm and effort offered by volunteers should be valued more highly than their money. This was another reason why I chose UBELONG, as it allowed me to participate in an overseas project at a very reasonable price. Despite this, it was clear that nothing had been compromised in terms of the safety or living conditions put in place for volunteers. The mission and principles which are central to the organisation are not obscured by unnecessary structure in the programs, which may otherwise make them less affordable and flexible than they currently are. That is, I felt I had some control over the timing of my placement and the nature of the work I undertook once I'd arrived at the project. From the moment my application to participate in the immersion program was accepted, my UBELONG mentor remained in close contact with me throughout my experience. With the uncertainty that comes with overseas opportunities such as this, it was great to be able to have queries answered so promptly, both via regular email correspondence and during a scheduled safety meeting, which addressed all of my pre-project questions. The support from my UBELONG mentor, whose expertise in the field of development was extremely valuable, continued whilst I was staying in Vang Vieng. My experience in Vang Vieng was one from which I felt I was genuinely contributing to a valuable project in the local community. In the process I was able to challenge myself in new tasks from tending animals and construction to teaching English at the local school. One dimension of the placement which I particularly enjoyed was being able to work and socialise with locals and other volunteers from such a wide variety of cultural backgrounds. Personally, I am grateful that through UBELONG I was able to gain real insight into the wider field of development work which I may choose to study in the near future. I am certainly interested in connecting with UBELONG again further down the track.

05-04-2013

Among many options, I chose UBELONG mainly for its wide range of interesting programs. esp. business development and training programs. To me, these well selected programs can truly tackle the cause and provide a long-term and sustainable impact on people of a particular community. I placed my trust in UBELONG because of impressive experience and knowledge in the field as well as their deep dedication to international volunteering. The trip was beyond my expectations!!! I would not be this compassionate, independent and determined without my volunteer journey in Laos. Once again, thanks!!!

03-20-2013

Among many options, I chose UBELONG mainly for its wide range of interesting programs. esp. business development and training programs. To me, these well selected programs can truly tackle the cause and provide a long-term and sustainable impact on people of a particular community. I placed my trust in UBELONG because of impressive experience and knowledge in the field as well as their deep dedication to international volunteering. The trip was beyond my expectations!!! I would not be this compassionate, independent and determined without my volunteer journey in Laos. Once again, thanks!!!

02-06-2012

I enjoyed my experience volunteering. Everything was painless beforehand so really not much to say. Price was really good and I liked going with an American company. I didn't except much going into the experience so was easy to please, but still came away impressed by the support of all the staff. It was a first time UBELONG experience for me and glad I did it as part of my gap year before freshman year. I signed up to work with disabled children but ended up teaching English. I found the first project to be a bit shocking, the children were in bad shape and I had in trouble adjusting. It was tough to leave but in of itself I learned a lot about myself. I found teaching to be very rewarding and working with the other volunteers very meaningful.

01-20-2014

I had a great experience with Ubelong in Cambodia. I spent 4 weeks in the orphanage program there. This was my first time to a third world country and I felt very comfortable. My mentor answered all my questions and even spoke to my mom who was a wreck. I also like that I had a safety meeting in person on skype before, it help reassure me and make it more real. I was definitly a little overwhelemed when I first arrived because Cambodia is so different and my first days at the orhpanage I was at were a little difficult as nobody spoke English. I felt out of place but after a couple days felt so comfortable and the head "mom" was so good to me and the other volunteers. She would always ask how I was doing and make sure I was happy. The children are ADORABLE even though they are filthy :-) My only negative is that the food at the guesthouse was very good but after 4 weeks became a little boring. Overall a great experience that is definitly life changing amd I recommend this wonderful organization.

11-17-2013

My trip to Phnom, Penh, Cambodia wouldn't have been successful if it wasn't for UBELONG Volunteer Organization. UBELONG offered amazing, helpful guidance throughout every step of my trip, starting with meetings before hand to talk about any concerns or questions I had, what to expect from the trip, safety, and even packing details. Traveling across the world, alone, at 19 years young can be a little scary, and frightening, I didn't know what to expect and was a bit confused on what to do once I arrived in the city. Through UBELONG though all my worries vanished, I arrived at 1am and there was a UBELONG Worker waiting for me at the airport who then transported me to my volunteer stay home, on the way there he informed me of some Cambodian facts, and told me a little bit about the place. I felt so safe, and relieved once I met him and he made me feel so comfortable. The next day I met all the other volunteers and started my journey. UBELONG checked in with me constantly, asking how I was doing, how I liked my project, and if I had any questions throughout the whole trip. They even did a follow up after my trip as well. UBELONG really showed me that they care about their volunteers and that they are passionate about what a UBELONG Volunteer is, they are such caring, positive people and they really helped open my eyes, and take chances on my trip. My trip would not have been the same without the support from UBELONG that I received. Their passion for wanting to be a positive change, help others, and educate other people on their mission really makes volunteering for them all worth it. They have inspired me to want to continue to be a part of the UBELONG community, as I have decided to go on another trip next fall and to stay motivated to be a part of their impact on this world of ours.

10-17-2013

My experience with UBELONG was fantastic. I could not have found a more well-organized or better prepared organization through which to volunteer and I'm incredibly appreciative of the support, guidance and encouragement I received along the way. I chose UBELONG in large part because the organization's mission resonated with me and throughout my time in Phnom Penh, I found that both the UBELONG team and their local partners in Cambodia adhered to the values and practices they promoted in all of their online and printed materials. They encouraged us to be open-minded and gracious at all times and they reminded us of the importance of being volunteers and visitors rather than tourists. UBELONG promotes cultural sensitivity and encourages people to participate who are truly interested in making a positive difference in the world around them. Not only did I enjoy meeting the locals with whom I lived and worked in Phnom Penh, but I also felt a connection right away to the other UBELONG volunteers. In addition to promoting the type of atmosphere I was seeking in an international volunteer experience, the UBELONG team also provides excellence service to its volunteers. Whenever I had a question or concern, Cedric responded promptly with a thorough response or explanation. Whether I reached out before, during or after my time overseas, I knew who to contact and I trusted that I would be acknowledged, supported and cared for as part of the UBELONG extended family and volunteer team. Thank you, UBELONG - I could not have asked for a better experience and I look forward to participating again in the future and encouraging others to do the same!

08-28-2013

"Willing to do something" It's not always enough. Sometimes we need tools to do so. Thank you UBELONG for being the tool I needed to achieve the goal of being a Volunteer, and looking after me the 6 amazing weeks I spent in Cambodia! For those who have the will, don't hesitate, I highly recommend you to do it through UBELONG!

06-26-2013

I volunteered in Cambodia for 3 months at the end of 2012 in the Advancing Community Rights program. UBELONG was able to provide me with my first experience working with NGOs abroad, which has given me some understanding of how development work functions in other parts of the world. Through my volunteering experience with UBELONG I gained some comfort with the procedures NGOs go through to function, such as surveying the sites of beneficiaries, seeking potential donors, and writing important documents like project proposals and concept notes. Living in Cambodia was also extremely useful for gaining some understanding of what life is like in the culture and country of the beneficiaries. Additionally, UBELONG gave me the opportunity to cultivate relationships with likeminded individuals among other volunteers from around the world.

05-13-2013

I volunteered for 6 weeks in Microfinance in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and honestly it has been one of the best decisions I've made. UBELONG and Raul have been extremely helpful every step of the way, and the placement overall exceeded all my expectations, both in terms of the other volunteers I met at the guesthouse and the work I did in Cambodia. I had the pleasure of meeting Raul and Cedric on a couple of occasions while in Cambodia and received fantastic advice regarding my future career and academic aspirations for which I am very grateful for. I hope to keep in touch with the UBELONG team in the future and I can honestly say that you will not regret going through UBELONG to do any of the volunteering opportunities you're interested in! A fantastic organisation!

05-04-2013

Deciding to volunteer abroad can be very overwhelming with all the options that are available, but UBELONG was great in helping me make the decision to volunteer in the Advancing Community Rights project in Phnom Penh for five weeks. UBELONG is a reputable organization that will provide you with all the assistance, information and support that you need to have a positive experience. I was very impressed with UBELONG and can't speak highly enough about my experience in Cambodia. Thank you to my mentor Cedric and the rest of the UBELONG team for helping me have an experience of a lifetime.

05-04-2013

I had a very valuable experience in Cambodia. It was a beautiful opportunity to learn about the country and its people. I volunteered with children with disabilities along with a friend from France for 2 weeks. It was a very real chance to work and give back. Difficult at times but we feel that we helped a lot. We saw the project to be very well run and we appreciated the support from the Ubelong team in the US and Cambodia. Especially for the price we think it is a great value and we hope to someday return.

04-02-2013

I couldn't be happier with my decision of volunteering in Cambodia through UBELONG. When you decide to undertake such a journey, you want to feel you're dealing with people who know what they are doing. And UBELONG does. They provided me with the necessary support, advice and enthusiasm during both pre- and post-departure process, allowing me to make the most of my volunteer experience. Before departure, I received a comprehensive Preparation Briefing and had a safety meeting with my mentor, which really helped me prepare for the trip. None of the volunteers from other organizations I met had anything remotely similar to that. I especially like the fact that UBELONG has a philosophy behind its programs. They talk not only about helping others, but also about stepping out of your comfort zone, building emotional strength and achieving personal growth. I think that helped me keep my mind always open and watch out for the changes that this volunteer experience was operating in myself -- when maybe the natural reaction would be staying on the defensive side.

03-05-2013

Someone from the program picked me up from the airport when I arrived into the country, which was comforting. There was an orientation the frist 3 days I was there so I was able to get familiar with the city and my orphanage. I stayed at a volunteer house in Phnom Penh with about 20 volunteers, who were volunteering at different orphanages and NGOs in or near the City. Each morning I would wake up, eat breakfast, which was prepared by workers of the house, and head to my orphanage which was about 30 minutes away. I worked at the orphanage Monday through Friday from about 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In the morning I would play with the younger children, entertain them with making crafts or read books with them. I ate lunch at the orphanage every day with the kids and then taught English in the afternoon to the older children. The language barrier was hard at first, but I expected it to be because English wasn't their first language - but that was what was so exciting as well. Definitely recommend this program to anyone.

02-24-2013

Volunteering abroad was something I'd wanted to do for a while, but I never really thought it would become a reality (I'm not the most adventurous person!) until I stumbled across the Ubelong website. The program was perfect for me in every way. It was affordable, I felt supported at all times by my mentor, the volunteer coordinators in Cambodia and the NGO I was working for, and helping on a women's empowerment project was something I was really keen to do. I was nervous before I left the UK, but meeting other volunteers at the guest house (many of whom were just as nervous as I was, and were great to hang out with in the evenings/weekends) and having the orientation meeting soon put me at ease. I learned so much from the experience - it gave me an insight into what daily life is like in other parts of the world, and also how an NGO operates and the various challenges it faced. My work included a variety of tasks, including writing up proposals for projects and requests for funding, editing information for the website and facilitating a workshop with other NGOs. I'd recommend Ubelong to anyone considering volunteering - it's a professional organisation, which looks after their volunteers and genuinely works to make a difference

01-11-2013

I spent 5 weeks volunteering in Phnom Penh, on the Advancing Community Rights Program. It was an amazing experience and I enjoyed everything; the work, the guesthouse and especially the many people I met and country itself. The process was made extremely easy by UBELONG, who provided me with great pre-departure support, including a comprehensive safety meeting, the preparation bundle and even recommending reading that may be of use to me on the placement. No volunteers from any other agency seemed to have anywhere near as much help or support when organising their own trips. I kept in touch with Raul and UBELONG, both during and after the placement and will continue to do so. There is a real sense of pride in their work and the passion for helping people to volunteer really shines through in everything they do. I truly believe that UBELONG helped to make my stay one of the best experiences of my life and I would recommend them to anyone even considering volunteering abroad. You will not regret it.

12-20-2012

The prospect of traveling 8300 miles to Phnom Penh, Cambodia was intimidating, especially as someone who has never been to Asia before. Despite this, I signed up anyway in an act of faith. As soon as I was accepted to teach computer skills to orphans in Cambodia, UBELONG sent a detailed PDF providing a complete picture of what I would be doing, how to book travel, getting through immigration, etc. Anything the PDF didn't answer was an e-mail or Skype conversation away, as my UBELONG mentor Raul was always available to help. What started as a daunting trip across the globe became manageable and stress-free. If you are thinking about volunteering but don't want to get overwhelmed by the logistics and issues of traveling to an unfamiliar place, you should choose UBELONG as your volunteering organization. For the cost, you will not find a higher quality organization to partner with for your global volunteering endeavors.

09-01-2012

My experience with UBELONG was absolutely amazing! I was so impressed with the open communication that the organization held. If I ever had any questions or concerns I could reach the advisors very easily. I was nervous to travel alone and I went through several stages where I debated whether it was a good idea. But honestly, it was the best idea I have ever had! If anyone is thinking of doing service while abroad, whether it be alone, or with a friend, I would highly suggest UBELONG! They exceeded my expectations and I never once felt threatened or insecure in a situation abroad. They made sure my accommodations were welcoming, safe, and easy to live in. I had such an amazing experience in Cambodia and I found a deeper meaning to who I was while abroad. I was surrounded by amazing people, beautiful personalities and the most genuine smiles in the world. I had all of the concerns that people do when considering traveling, but I took the plunge to travel alone and it was an INCREDIBLE experience. If you are questioning whether or not you want to do this, just take the dive! You will not regret it!

08-06-2012

I volunteered for 6 weeks in Microfinance in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, and honestly it has been one of the best decisions I've made. UBELONG and Raul have been extremely helpful every step of the way, and the placement overall exceeded all my expectations, both in terms of the other volunteers I met at the guesthouse and the work I did in Cambodia. I had the pleasure of meeting Raul and Cedric on a couple of occasions while in Cambodia and received fantastic advice regarding my future career and academic aspirations for which I am very grateful for. I hope to keep in touch with the UBELONG team in the future and I can honestly say that you will not regret going through UBELONG to do any of the volunteering opportunities you're interested in! A fantastic organisation!

11-17-2011

I was a little skeptical of UBELONG at first because it is such a young organization, but after a few conversations with Cedric and Raul and a little research I decided to commit myself with going to Cambodia. It was one of the best decisions of my life!!! I had such a wonderful time and the culture was so rich. My placement was incredible and I felt I was able to make a contribution to the global development community while also learning about the Khmer people and about how I conduct myself in new and foreign situations. I've wanted to go back since I got on the plane. If you take each moment as an adventure, it will be a very admirable and unforgettable experience. Get out there!

11-09-2011

Working with UBELONG was by far the best decision when I wanted to adventure across the world to help others and learn about another culture. The affordability of the projects made it possible to explore this opportunity and then Cedric and Raul helped me choose a project that was going to fit with my skill set and time-frame of travel. Even traveling solo, I felt extremely safe and prepared from my safety briefing and knowing that UBELONG has strong partnerships and makes frequent visits to their placements. UBELONG's passion for helping others, knowledge of travel and development, and care for their volunteers is truly an inspiration for me to continue learning and to strive to make an impact on people across the world.

06-23-2011

I enjoyed my time volunteering enormously. It was my first time volunteering in a foreign country and I picked Morocco really because I felt it was the most exotic place I felt comfortable going to. My host family was a plesant surprise, I didnt think I could connect so deeply in just the 3 weeks I spent. My project in Rabat Sale was excellent and eye openning. There is some adjustment in the beginning that I do not think I was ready for coming from Europe, but the local teachers and the students most importantly made me feel comfortable. Their passion for learning and interest in learning about me and my background was very refreshing and something my home country perhaps lacks a bit. I am very thankful to Ubelong and the wonderful people I met for this beautiful experience.

12-21-2013

Why did I choose UBELONG? The answer is quite simple: UBELONG offers an wealth of choices, incomparable low fees on international volunteer programs, and promises an extraordinary experience. All this, without compromising the quality and professionalism one would expect from an organization such as UBELONG. Not to mention, Raul & Cedric are excellent mentors, always being attentive and caring to their volunteers. Thank you Cedric for following-up with me every time I called and/or e-mailed you. From the preparation briefing to the debriefing after my return to the States, you have been an exceptional mentor. I can't wait to go back to the same project with UBELONG someday! I spent 2 weeks in Rabat, Morocco on the Education project and cannot recommend this program enough! It truly was an experience of a lifetime! I was so fortunate to teach, learn and grow from the time I spent in Morocco and from being a part of the UBELONG community. Everything from mingling with locals, learning to cook tajine with my host mom, speaking the funniest Arabic you will ever hear, and most importantly being a positive influence in the lives of all my students - this experience was priceless! I encourage all of you reading this to fish out of the water and apply for the Rabat, Morocco program. It will change you in ways you cannot even begin to imagine. It just may be the best time of your life. I know mine was.

10-31-2013

The search was over as soon as I stumbled upon UBELONG. In such a globalized world, the number of programs that take one abroad are numerous and expensive. Most of those projects don't come close to the amount of independence UBELONG allows you. UBELONG is for the maker, the kid who can land in Ghana, or Laos and immediately work for the adventure rather than expect it to come, much like tourists do now a days. Their projects, in spirit, are adventures and their values, in nature and application, are altruistic. When you decide to volunteer abroad you, in turn, decide to give yourself over to a program, a project, and a country. The word program is too strict for what UBELONG really is for in truth it is more of a step or spring board into action. UBELONG accepts that those who find it, in nature and spirit, are the doers of this world. We come here, and sign up here, in order to make a better world. With the guidance of our mentors and community we succeed, in an innovative fashion, that allowed us to throw our own individuality into the world as we pour our selves into the projects across the globe. The UBELONG community is the most open, accomplished, and effective community I know, second only to the Avengers. I truly encourage anyone and everyone to find and sign up for their project today.

07-09-2013

Choosing to volunteer with UBELONG was a very easy decision to make. Not only do they offer a very affordable program, they offer a program that focuses on international development. That was very important to me because I wanted to go as a volunteer and not as a tourist. Cedric and Raul are very passionate about what they do. This is show through the support provided from my first inquiry about the program, to the last day of volunteering, and beyond. My mentor, Cedric, was always willing to answer any questions I might have and kept in touch to make sure I was doing well at my placement while in Rabat, Morocco. UBELONG offers a variety of different programs in a number of countries. There is truly something for everyone. I highly recommend UBELONG as a first choice for anyone interest in volunteering abroad.

04-03-2013

I never thought I would get the chance to volunteer abroad, but when I stumbled upon UBELONG, I realized I had found a gold mine. My experience in Rabat was incredible. The staff in Morocco was supportive, and UBELONG as a whole is a very professional organization, not to mention much cheaper than any other option. My experience in Morocco was unforgettable, whether it was time spent learning about and from my host family, exploring the neighborhoods, or working with my students. The education project in Rabat was great, and the students were very eager to learn. I've learned a lot about the Moroccan people, and the project has left me with a much different perspective. I can't wait to volunteer with UBELONG again; it was one of the best experiences of my life!

03-29-2013

I volunteered in Rabat-Sale with a group of mates from uni. We are from Europe and volunteering is not a part of the normal options for people here like it is in America. However we found Ubelong because a friend had a connection to one of their founders and so decided to try it out instead of just touring Morocco with our cars. This was a very good decision. We worked with children on the caring for children in need program and the experience was so rewarding. Our typical day started at 8AM when we would wake up and have breakfast with our host family. This experience turned out to be one of the most beautiful of my life. We felt so welcomed and I was so amazed at how warm we were received by our family. They were not rich but still made us feel so good and so welcomed. We would then go to our project, which was in one of Sale's poorest neighborhoods. Sale is the sister city of Rabat, they are side by side. We workd with the children to help them on their homework, sing songs and lead classes that we designed. We did a little bit of English, but focused more on geography and culture. It was very special to see their faces in the morning, just so eager to see us and appreciating our being there. People in Europe could learn a lot from them. I think many came from very difficult backgrounds and they were not used to foreigners coming to spend time with them. After our voluntary service we would enjoy Rabat, which is a very special city. It is not as well known as Fez or Tangier, but it is still very special. It is much calmer and in my opinion more welcoming as there are not as many tourists there. In total, I recommend volunteering with Ubelong and am very thankful for this great experience.

02-17-2013

UBELONG is an amazing program and I'm so glad I was introduced to them when I decided I wanted to volunteer abroad. Since it was my first time leaving the United States, and I was going alone, I had no idea what to expect or how to prepare. UBELONG helped me every step of the way. I felt so comfortable and confident. Towards the end of my trip I got really sick and everyone in the field, and outside of the field, was on my side trying to figure out what was wrong and how to get me better. They really care about you and that's something that makes the experience priceless. UBELONG gave me the experience of a lifetime.

02-09-2013

I cannot express enough gratitude and appreciation for everything UBELONG has done for me. I traveled to Cape Town, South Arica for 3 weeks in January 2013. My time in Cape Town was by far the most lifechanging experience of my life. I volunteered in a poor farm school with young children who had little to nothing. A day has not gone by since my trip that have not thought about these children. I am so grateful for UBELONG because they set me up with such an incredible project and host family. Although I was a thousand miles away, I always felt comfortable and right at home in Cape Town. Although I was only there for three weeks, I truly immerged in their culture experienced their diverse foods, traditions, and lifestyle. I recommend the UBELONG organization for anyone who wants to travel and do good in the world. My mentor, Cedric, was there for me every step of the way. He was always available to talk and he guided me through this experience. Now that I am a UBELONG volunteer, I cannot imagine volunteering with any other organization and I hope to plan another trip through them soon!

03-04-2013

I knew UBELONG was going to be a life-changing experience but if I had to choose one word for my experience, it would have to be "dream." Volunteering in Cape Town felt like a dream because although I was only there for 2 weeks, it was probably the most meaningful 2 weeks of my life. It felt like I was there for 2 years and at the end of my stay, I was so sad to leave. There was never a minute where I wasn't bringing a smile to a face of a child or a fellow volunteer. That was the kind of impact I was hoping for: to make my presence felt and to form friendships I can be proud of for the rest of my life. However, there's no doubt in my mind that the one who benefited most of all from my efforts and humanitarianism is myself. To all those who are considering volunteering abroad with UBELONG, there's no question you should do it!!

08-04-2012

I had the privelege to work with 3rd graders in Cape Town, South Africa this past spring 2013. The Principal, staff and students were very appreciative of all volunteers and I was able to make a valuable contribution while learning about their culture and history. Cedric, my UBELONG representative was very kind and helpful throughout the entire process. The Cape Town local team was efficient and checked in with me during my assignment to ensure I was happy and everything was going smoothly. I highly recommend UBELONG because of its program options, great staff and low program costs. I had a wonderful time. I hope to volunteer with UBELONG again in the future.

01-11-2012

My trip to South Africa through UBelong was my first long term trip abroad. I've been to Africa before for two weeks, but being here for so long a second time had much more of an impact. I learned so much about the country by immersing myself in the culture instead of reading it through a book. I learned by experience what things were normal in the country and the differences they had compared o my home town. I cannot put into words the quality of friendships I had made in Cape Town. The people I lived and worked with were so amazing and I couldn't have asked for a better stay. UBelong did a great job of preparing me for my trip and keeping in touch with me while I was there. I recommend UBelong to anyone who wants an adventure that will change your life for the better! :)

07-20-2011

UBELONG provided me with an amazing experience that I will never forget. They made my stay in Cape Town, South Africa very comfortable and problem free. Without having to worry about problems with my safety or host family, I was able to fully enjoy and learn a lot form my project. I will definitely go through UBELONG again!

02-04-2011