Name: Rhoda Lynch
Hometown: Princeton, New Jersey
Nationality: United States
University: Princeton University
Languages spoken: English, Spanish (intermediate)
Past travel experience: Newbie
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for Children with Disabilities in Hanoi, Vietnam
Duration: 8 weeks
Start month: June 2017
Claim to fame: During the summers of 2014 and 2015, Rhoda was a chess teacher for children with autism. Fantastic work, welcome to the UBELONG Family 🙂
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
UBELONG offers a variety of projects that are interesting and immersive. I choose UBELONG because of the programs they offered and because of the way in which I would have been able to interact with the locals. In the Vietnam program I recently completed, the volunteers lived amongst other international volunteers and had locals supporting us throughout the entire program. So even though UBELONG sent me to Vietnam alone, I was never alone while I was abroad.
What is the most rewarding thing about being a UBELONG Volunteer?
The most rewarding thing about being a UBELONG Volunteer would have to be the relationships formed with both the other volunteers, the locals and staff at the workplace. I traveled to other countries sometimes alone and sometimes with friends, but while in Vietnam, I really felt like I belonged in the country because of the relationships I formed. The Volunteer House really felt like home because I formed relationships with the people who lived there and the locals gave me a very authentic Vietnamese experience. Over time, I felt like I’ve been living there for a while instead of being a tourist.
What three pieces of advice would you give a future volunteer?
To future volunteers, I would offer three pieces of advice…
1) Don’t worry about anything. You are fully supported throughout your time away from home and UBELONG has both local volunteers as well as your UBELONG Mentor.
2) If you ever need anything, don’t be afraid to ask! UBELONG is always checking in on you and so are the local volunteers. So if anything is uncomfortable for you and/or bothers you, speak up! It would make your experience a lot better.
3) EXPLORE! When will be the next time that you get to do something this awesome? Make sure to be dedicated to your work and still have enough time to travel and really explore the country you are living in!