UBELONG Volunteer with his English class in Merida, Mexico.

“My volunteer experience was wonderful.”


UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Robert Merwin
Age: 64
Hometown: Dover, New Hampshire
Nationality: United States
Languages spoken: English, Spanish (advanced)
Occupation: Self employed insurance agent
Volunteer Abroad: Teaching English in Merida, Mexico
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: December 2018

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
Decision to become a UBELONG Volunteer – This past winter I watched a documentary on the White Helmets of Aleppo, a group of Syrians who dedicate their lives to rescuing people after a bomb blast levels of a building. It was mesmerizing to say the least. I realized I was too old for that so I began to look at things I could do. UBELONG hit all the good points, had many jobs I could do, and I took the plunge and will never look back.

What impact did you make on your volunteer project?
Impact made – Linda put it nicely when I doubted that the kids (twelve years of age) learned much English…she said for sure the kids learned a lot and it didn’t necessarily have to be English. I think that’s true, I surely answered more questions in two weeks than ever before! I especially enjoyed helping the kids do their homework. I never thought I would teach arithmetic let alone arithmetic in Spanish.

How did you grow personally during your volunteer trip?
Personal growth – How can one not be changed after two weeks at such a wonderful, yet abjectly poor, school? Every day brought a new adventure that I will never forget. I played street soccer with the kids as I waited for the bus, attempted to teach the Hand Jive dance to two classes, painted Christmas decorations, demonstrated some bad magic tricks that always resulted in loud non stop laughter and taught North American history/how Columbus discovered America.

In a sentence or less, how would you sum up your volunteer experience?
My volunteer experience was wonderful.

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Related post:
Meet Eva-Maria Tipotsch, a University of Innsbruck student who volunteered with UBELONG at the caregiving project in Merida, Mexico.