Name: Teresa Goncalves
University: ISCTE – IUL
Languages spoken: Portuguese, English (fluent), Spanish (advanced) and French (beginner)
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Assisting at an after-school center in Delhi, India
Duration: 4 weeks
Start month: July 2016
Claim to fame: Teresa went in a field trip to China with her high-school class! She had the opportunity to visit multiple cities, like Shanghai, Beijing and Hong Kong.
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I always wanted to have a volunteering experience, the only problem was not knowing for how long should I go for. UBELONG offered me the best of two: I could choose how much time I wanted to be in the field and the project I preferred. As I searched for volunteer programs, UBELONG was the one that appealed the most to me because of the previous volunteering experiences other people had with UBELONG, their reviews and testimonials, and the fact that I could choose the specific program I wanted!
What did you find most rewarding from you volunteer trip?
The whole experience was very rewarding, I had the opportunity to meet amazing people that would do everything to help me in the field, especially the ones at the center where I worked. Pankaj and Adjeet, two boys going to this center would guide me everyday around the center and taught me most of the things I know today about India and its traditions. Every single bit was rewarding, from the people I met to the whole country itself! The amount of stories I heard and the people I met in four weeks is simply unbelievable!
What three pieces of advice would you give to a future UBELONG Volunteer?
The three pieces of advice would be- without hesitation- firstly not to have any kind of expectations, don’t think you’ll have one thing or another or that it will be certain way. One thing that India taught me was to go with the flow without being completely lost, just let things be as they are and you’ll have the best time of your life.
Secondly, be completely open minded, India is a world itself and you can’t go there expecting things to be a certain way – India is India and no one can do anything about it.
Finally, my last piece of advice is to stay in touch with your family and friends, they will be a big help there, even being far away!
And what can I say? Just like I once read, India is India, you can’t explain it just feel it.