Name: Ali Raza Hussain
Hometown: London, United Kingdom
Nationality: United Kingdom
University: Middlesex University Business School
Degree: Accounting and Finance
Languages spoken: English, Urdu (intermediate)
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Strengthening NGO Capacity in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Duration: 4 weeks
Start month: August 2017
Claim to fame: Ali was top of his class at Middlesex University Business School where he graduated in Accounting and Finance – wonderful work, Ali, and welcome to the UBELONG Family!
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I decided to make a positive impact on a part of the world that, at the time, I knew very little about. Previously I worked in a finance position for an NGO, so I understood the capacity of work that is to be undertaken in such a voluntary role. However, I wanted to work directly with an organisation on the ground and UBELONG was the only organisation I found that could make this happen effectively and as cost efficiently as possible.
From day one, my mentor, Barbara was available for any support needed and sent over a very useful booklet. This contained so much information about the project, what to expect and life in a new country. The amount of variety in terms of voluntary roles and geographic locations on offer showed me that UBELONG is truly part of a global family. This international connection, enabled me to make an easy decision. I regret absolutely nothing about the volunteer experience and if I could, I would relive the month spent in Cambodia over again!
What is your favorite memory?
It is so difficult to pick just one, as I had so many good times. Whether it be the interesting dinner conversations with other volunteers or joking around with Sreng and Mae! The house was one big happy family and everyone got along so well with one another. I met people who are now friends for life, in fact I plan on visiting them in their home countries, that’s how quickly the bonds develop.
But my favourite memories would be the amazing weekend trips me and many other volunteers took together around Cambodia. The sights we saw, with people who you eventually can call family is something so rare. I’ll look back on the coach rides and the stories shared, or the times spent exploring new cities will great euphoria and happiness. It truly was the time of my life and I will forever cherish those memories and all the laughter we had together.
Tell me about somebody you met who impressed you?
Everyone I met had impressed me in some manner or the other, but Sophea, the project/communications assistant in the organization I worked at, stands out. I feel privileged to have met all the staff members, but what struck me about Sophea was his charm, wit, intelligence, humour, work ethic the list really does go on! He always has a smile on his face despite all the work that needed to be done with this great organisation. He is definitely one that I will keep in touch with, as he reminds me of what I could be like, if I put in a lot more effort!
In a sentence or less, how would you describe local life?
Amazingly vibrant country with the absolute nicest citizens on the planet!