Name: Rachel Gouveia
Hometown: Saunderstown, Rhode Island
Nationality: United States
Languages spoken: English, French (intermediate), Spanish (beginner)
Occupation: Engineering Intern at Navatek
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Forest Conservation and Sustainable Farming in the Galapagos, Ecuador
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: June 2016
Claim to fame: In high school, Rachel had the opportunity to travel to Costa Rica with her teachers and classmates. She had the opportunity to learn about and experience the culture of the country. While in Costa Rica, she also volunteered at a local elementary school. Great work, Rachel, we’re thrilled to have you in the UBELONG family!
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
Volunteering in the Galápagos Islands was something I have dreamed of doing for years. The UBELONG program interested me because it seemed educational as well as impactful. The UBELONG program also appeared supportive and organized.
What did you take from the experience?
I learned many things participating in this program, not only about the Galápagos Islands and conservation, but about supporting others and working as a team. I met incredible people who were intelligent and worldly, and discovered the capacity of my physical and mental strength. The experience was incredibly empowering.
What advice would you tell a future UBELONG Volunteer?
I would advise a volunteer to be friendly, positive, and outgoing. Volunteering offers a unique experience to meet and learn from people from all over the world who are intelligent and compassionate. I would also say that when you volunteer, expect to work hard, but know that the work you do benefits others and yourself.
Tell me about somebody you met who impressed you?
The program leader, Cesar, was one of the most incredible people I have ever met. He can build houses, carve instruments, play beautiful music, identify every plant in the rainforest; he is a man of many talents. I am so grateful to have had the experience of working with and learning from him.