Camille Andre is a bright and talented young woman from France who recently graduated from McGill University in Montreal. She majored in International Management and International Relations, and will begin pursuing a master’s in that field in the fall of 2012. She has a strong interest in pursuing a career in international development, and, as evidenced by her involvement with various humanitarian organizations, an admirable commitment to social causes. Camille has lived in Europe, North America and South East Asia. Her UBELONG placement marked her first time in South America. For a month in February she volunteered in the “teaching French” Volunteer Abroad in Lima, Peru. We are thrilled to now bring you our interview with this wonderful person.
What motivated you to seek a volunteer opportunity in Lima?
I just finished my bachelor’s degree and am going to start my masters in the fall. I want to work in international development, and felt I could obtain valuable fieldwork experience during the couple months I had before school.
I also wanted to go to South America, which I had never been to. I liked the program in Lima, and figured that teaching French would allow me to contribute language skills that are harder to come by since UBELONG is an American organization and most volunteers teach English.
What kind of impact did you have on the community?
On the kids and adults I was teaching I made a positive impact by teaching them French and making personal connections. Even in four weeks I felt I made a difference. For example, at the end I made a test and was pleased with the results. Many students could not even say hello in French just a couple weeks before, but they were now able to introduce themselves, describe how they were feeling and engage in basic conversations. I also became close with many of them, and we shared a lot about who we are and where come from. I think that’s important on a personal level.
I also made an impact on the other volunteers, as they did on me. We all came from very different backgrounds, and we really enjoyed talking to each other. There were volunteers from France, as well as the US, New Zealand and Finland. We all grew together and taught each other a lot.
What did you learn about yourself during your experience?
I was on Skype the other day with one of my friends and she remarked how I seemed to be truly happy. The experience helped me find myself. The realization that I could make as much of an impact as I did was really rewarding, and it helped me know what I want for myself both personally and professionally.
Personally I want to continue travelling and giving back. In only four weeks I grew so much. Professionally I know more than ever that I want to pursue a career in international development. It gives me a lot of confidence to keep moving forward in that direction.