“Do not set too high expectations of what you can do or changes you can make.”


UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Irene Lok See Got
Hometown: Hong Kong, Hong Kong
Nationality: Hong Kong
Languages spoken: Cantonese, English (fluent), Mandarin (advanced), Italian (beginner)
Occupation: Executive Officer at The Hong Kong Medical Association
Past travel experience: Avid
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for Children with Disabilities in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: March 2016
Claim to fame: Irene has been a community volunteer since high school. Great to have you in the UBELONG Family, Irene!

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I always long for volunteering abroad since I participated in my very first volunteering program during my days as a student. I started look for information for volunteer abroad programs and found UBELONG. I chose to become a UBELONG volunteer was due to its broad scope of services and the reviews from the participated volunteers were quite positive. And as a person with a full-time work, the duration of volunteering was limited. UBELONG provides various choices on duration which fit my planned schedule. In addition, Cambodia was one of the countries that I was planning to go since it is still under develop, and it needs lots of inputs and influences from the outside world.

What advice would you tell a future volunteer?
Grasp some basic information of the place you’re going to volunteer, e.g. history, culture, climate, people. Try to look for information about the fieldwork and see if you can plan on what additional value-added service you can do in the field, e.g. I have brought some art materials and led art sessions with the disabled children in the center I worked with. If you wish to make donation to the NGO or the organization you are going to work with, try to make a donation in kind instead of money. Do not set too high expectations of what you can do or changes you can make during your fieldwork. Making your beneficiaries happy is already a cherish achievement. Always ready to give a hand on whatever work comes to you in your fieldwork. Be positive, be patient and wear a smile at all times.

What is your favorite memory?
There were quite a lot of happy memories from my voluntary experience in Phnom Penh, such as the interactions with all the little angels wearing innocent though pure smiles in my fieldwork. I remember there was a girl who bit on my forearm just because she was too excited to have me reading a storybook for her, she wanted to show her love to me. Another time I helped changing diaper for a kid but I put it in a wrong direction which had make myself embarrassed and laughed! A boy with autism has changed his attitude towards me from avoidance on the first day to proactively come to me, sat on my lap and initiated to play with me after a few days. I realized that what the children need most is companionship and caring from others. Simply a hug, bringing the children on wheelchairs for a walk in the garden, or even feeding them, already make them very fulfilling!

In a sentence or less, what was your funniest moment?
To play with the children was the funniest moment and thing I mostly enjoyed in my volunteering!

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Related post:
Meet Nina Kukota, a Hfwu Nürtingen-Geislingen student who volunteered with UBELONG at the caregiving projects in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.