Name: Kinza Hanif
Hometown: Ontario, Canada
University: Ontario College of Art and Design University
Degree: Drawing and Painting
Occupation: Aftercare assistant at the White Oaks Montessori School
Languages spoken: English, Urdu (advanced) and Spanish (beginner)
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for Children with Disabilities in Cusco, Peru
Duration: 2 weeks
Start month: May 2017
Claim to fame: Kinza used to work as a Painting Teacher for adults and she’s now an aftercare assistant at a Montessori school! Very impressive, Kinza!
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I had volunteered with a different organization last year and really enjoyed my experience as a volunteer, and I wanted to do the same thing again this year. I looked into the other organization again and decided I wanted to try a new organization, which is when I stumbled upon UBELONG. I was so surprised at the amount and choice of different projects and locations to decide from, all with a very reasonable price. When I read past volunteer interviews, the feedback was incredible, and I decided then and there that I wanted to be a part of the UBELONG Team!
What did you find most rewarding from your volunteer experience?
I volunteered with children with physical and mental disabilities, something I had never done before with no idea of what to expect. The most rewarding part of every day was making the children laugh and seeing the smiles on their faces. Most people are very fortunate to be able to move around normally and develop “normally”. Knowing that these children were missing some crucial developmental elements and still seeing them smile and be some of the happiest kids I’d ever met gave such a warm feeling.
What three pieces of advice would you give to a future UBELONG Volunteer?
- Go in with an open mind. It will totally be different than what you’re used to in your everyday life, and will definitely be a culture shock. The food will be different, the people will be different, everything you’re used to will be different. Don’t judge anyone else’s culture and traditions if they’re different from yours, instead, learn from them and learn to love them.
- Make friends with other volunteers. Everyone who volunteers is there to help people in a less privileged setting, therefore have a very similar mindset and caring attitude towards life. Volunteers are usually very easy to get along with because of this, and you can make some friends for life!
- Try and learn the language! It isn’t usually required, but it helps SO much to be able to communicate and meet with other locals. Even ordering food at a restaurant can be that much easier if you know a little bit of basic vocabulary and grammar.