UBELONG Volunteers in the after-school project helping with homework

“The kids were so excited to learn English that they would run up to me each day.”

UBELONG

In addition to offering volunteer trips, UBELONG can work with you to customize trips with a social mission. If you’re interested in creating a trip like the one presented below, contact us and let’s talk!

UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Bethany Perkins
Age: 17
Hometown: Wilder, Vermont
Nationality: United States
High School: Hartford High School
Languages spoken: English, Spanish (intermediate)
Past travel experience: Newbie
Volunteer Abroad: Teaching and Caring for Children and Young Adults in Cusco, Peru
Start month: November 2016
Claim to fame: Bethany has always pushed herself to be outside her comfort zone. UBELONGers are the best, keep up the good work, Bethany!

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
Deciding to join a UBELONG volunteer trip was something that came naturally to me. It has always been a goal of mine to help other people, and I knew that with this group, I could accomplish just that. Traveling has always been a dream of mine, and so I knew that combining the two things I had always wanted to do was a great opportunity. I never thought that I would be able to teach anyone well enough to help further their education and abilities. Being in the classroom was some of the most fun I had, the kids were so excited to learn English that they would run up to me each day yelling, “Profesora profesora, que significa… en ingles?” Their excitement led me to believe I was doing something right.

What was your favorite memory?
The most memorable experience from my trip to Peru was a conversation I had with an 8 year old girl named Cataline. The kids always seemed to be the most understanding when I made mistakes in my Spanish; they would laugh it off with me. Cataline was one of the smallest in her class, and had the most unforgettable, high pitched, happy laugh. During lunch I asked her if she liked Peru, and when she told me why her answer was no her response is what has stayed with me for so long: “La contaminación”. She did not love her own country because it was too polluted. It broke my heart, but inspired me. I am now pursuing research on privatization of water, and the fight to get clean water back. This one amazing little girl has to live drinking dirty water, and does not have the ability to change that, so someone should.

What advice would you tell a future volunteer?
To any and all future high school volunteers, do NOT be afraid to leave your phone behind. You will make so many more connections with the people around if you are not attached to your screen. I realized by the time I got back to the Volunteer House each night, I had no desire to go on my phone. I would answer a couple of messages from friends then put it away. Updating the other side of the world on what you’re doing every couple of hours makes it much less exciting for when you get back. Telling stories of your time can be one of the best parts, but you are only able to do that if you truly experience them.

In a sentence or less, how would you describe the locals you met??
The locals were easy going and happy people.

Related post:
Meet Anne Weston, the Assistant Head at Heathwood Hall High School, who led her students on a High School Abroad trip to the Galapagos.

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