Name: Andres Vargas
Hometown: Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Languages spoken: Spanish, English (fluent)
Occupation: Corporate Audit Staff Associate at The Nielsen Company
Volunteer Abroad: Elementary School Teaching in Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: November 2018
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I decided to become a volunteer because it was something that I’ve wanted to do for a long time. Working as a Finance Associate it seemed that I had less time to give back to society due to the long hours at the office. I wanted to spend time volunteering in an unknown country to learn something new and at the same challenge myself to a situation that was unfamiliar to me.
South Africa seemed like the perfect place to do it as I had never been to Africa and it was a part of the world I was eager to learn about. I selected the schooling project because I’m highly passionate about education and it’s a cause that motivated me.
What impact did you make on your volunteer project?
I volunteered for two weeks in an Elementary school as an assistant to the teachers and staff. I had to take care of the children and interact with them during their classes and breaks. It was an incredible experience being able to spend time with such energetic and enthusiastic individuals. Kids can really change the way you view things and make you realize that sometimes the world is a more simple place than what you might think. I was able to spend time with them and the reality is that it’s more about the impact the children have on you than what you have on them.
I was able to show them a piece of myself and the places that I’ve been to and in return I received smiles and hugs that filled me up with happiness.
How did you grow personally during your volunteer trip?
My experience during the volunteering was very unique as I had to interact with people much younger than me and it made me realize that you can’t take the things you have for granted and that you have to be grateful for the things you have. Being in Cape Town with the children and the school teachers made me realize that, even in challenging situations, you can be happy.
I also had the opportunity of meeting young people that were doing other volunteering projects and interacting with them was very unique as it brought memories of my younger years.
In a sentence or less, how would you sum up your volunteer experience?
Unique experience that made me realize that small actions can have a significant impact.