“Being in the company of the less privileged taught me to appreciate everything I have in life.”


UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Mun Hong Yong
Age: 22
Hometown: Madison
Nationality: Malaysia
University: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Degree: Genetics
Languages spoken: Mandarin Chinese, English, Malay (fluent), Japanese (beginner)
Past travel experience: Newbie
Volunteer Abroad: Teaching English in HCMC, Vietnam
Duration: 4 weeks
Start month: September 2014
Claim to fame: Was a volunteer tutor for 2 years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s tutoring service.

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I wanted to do something that would push me out of my comfort zone, and yet meaningful at the same time. I decided to volunteer in Vietnam because it is a country with fascinating culture and history. It is also a close neighbor of Malaysia and I wanted to spend some time knowing more about the country.

What is your favorite memory?
It’s really hard to choose! I’ve had a couple of weekend excursions to tourist attractions outside of Ho Chi Minh City that were very memorable. Since I’m an avid photographer, my favorite place for photos was definitely Hoi An, up in central Vietnam. However, the daily life at the volunteer house was really memorable as well. Spending time with the other volunteers after a long work day was arguably the best part of the day – going to nearby shopping mall to get dinner, going to a local vendor for smoothies almost every evening, or just chatting at the living room late into the night, there was never a boring day!

What did you take from the experience?
There were way too many to mention. But, to distill it down to a sentence – as cliché as it may sound, being in the company of the less privileged people in Ho Chi Minh City have taught me to appreciate everything I have in my life.

In a sentence or less, best packing advice?
Ear plugs.

Related post:
Meet Nini, a University of California San Diego undergrad, who volunteered with UBELONG teaching English.