UBELONGers on a weekend break at the beach in Cambodia

“Visit a new country, take part in a cause, apply your knowledge and skills in this stimulating environment.”


UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Maxime Johanet
Age: 22
Hometown: Loiret, France
Nationality: France
Languages spoken: French, English (fluent)
University: Pantheon-Assas University
Degree: International Economics
Past travel experience: Avid
Volunteer Abroad: Microfinance and Income Generation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Duration: 8 weeks
Start month: November 2017
Claim to fame: Maxime spent two months during the Summer of 2017 interning at a company in Mumbai, India. Welcome to the UBELONG Family!

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I studied Economics for the past 3 years and have been looking for professional and meaningful experience where I could apply things I learned. I found the Microfinance and Income generation volunteering as the way to combine those two requirements. Visiting a new country, taking part in a cause, applying my knowledge and skills in this stimulating and foreign environment were the reasons for me to choose UBELONG. And let’s admit it, UBELONG is also an affordable opportunity to volunteer abroad!

What was your impact on your volunteer project?
It took me a couple of months to achieve a fully working and automated version of my NGO’s monthly aging reports. When they spent two weeks filling data and using calculators they now just have to press a button to process the late repayments.

The NGO I worked at offers loans to women from rural environment giving them the opportunity to start a business and gain their independence. Still some people struggles to repay in due time and this has to be fully accounted in order to allocate the other resources in the best possible way. I hope I have been able to save them a lot of time and also money by automating these accounting documents, so that it can be a benefit to more women.

What is your favorite memory?
In the last few days of 2017, a few volunteers and I decided to spend New Year’s Eve in Koh Rong. After almost 8 hours travelling by bus and then boat we arrived to one of those dream beaches with transparent water and white thin sand. We witnessed the twilight in the warm waters just staring at the dying sky. We were supposed to have booked tents at a resort but the hotel overbooked and we ended up sleeping in our own bungalow for free!

At night, we were awaken by the manager of the hotel to observe the glowing plankton in the sea. In the dark, we moved our legs in the water to see the spark of life shining in a surrealist green. It was almost too good to be true and still today I wonder if it wasn’t all but a dream that lasts for so long.

In a sentence or less, what did you think about the food?
Be prepared for sweet and sour and stir-fried food! Be prepared for exotic tastes! But most of all, be prepared for cheap and delicious food all over the country (even western food)! That’s eating out in Cambodia!

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Related post:
Meet Ali Raza Hussain, a Middlesex University Business School undergrad, who volunteered with UBELONG in the NGO Support project in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.