Name: Udit Kumar
Hometown: Alexandria, Virginia
Nationality: United States
University: George Washington University
Degree: Public Health
Occupation: Project Management Consultant at Inova Health System
Languages spoken: English and Hindi
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Assisting in Public Health Education in Accra, Ghana
Duration: 4 weeks
Start month: June 2017
Claim to fame: Since starting his professional career after college, Udit has had the opportunity to work in various different sectors and has worked from the bottom up, which requires hard work, dedication and patience. We’re thrilled to have you in the UBELONG Family!
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I have worked in the corporate world for some years since college and felt that I wasn’t making any significant contribution to my community. I decided to become a UBELONG Volunteer in hopes of making a positive difference in a community in Ghana while utilizing my international relations and public health skills that I acquired at university. I feel that I made a difference in the community of Senya in many ways and believe that these changes add up over time and go a long way.
While in Ghana, I had the opportunity to teach about sexual and reproductive health rights, assist at a child welfare clinic and conduct interviews in the field to determine how sexual and reproductive health was perceived within the community. Throughout my time, I made many friendships which also ultimately led to the feeling that I was contributing something and sharing a positive message to prevent certain issues like teenage pregnancy. The clinic staff was also very welcoming and gave me a chance to learn and participate. I was also given the chance to start my very first fundraiser which has been going well. Overall, I am very glad that I became a UBELONG Volunteer.
What did you find most rewarding from you volunteer experience?
To me, service isn’t something that is limited to a certain number of hours per day but an attitude one embraces. It’s a way of connecting with other individuals and hearing another story to refine my worldview. The most rewarding thing from my volunteer experience was certainly the people I had the opportunity to serve during my time in Ghana. This is why I tried to connect with the locals any chance I got. This included having conversations that were taboo, serious or silly with school teachers. While shopping in Cape Coast, I had the chance to talk to a 10 year old child who was selling water sachets and glimpse the world through his eyes for a brief moment. I also had the chance to serve a child who had nothing to eat in the community of Senya and share fufu with him. I had the opportunity to embrace my humanity at times, which was a very humbling experience and this is what I found most rewarding during my volunteer experience with UBELONG.
What three pieces of advice would you give to a future UBELONG Volunteer?
To future UBELONG Volunteers, I would simply say:
- Be open minded and try to embrace flexibility as much as possible while pushing your boundaries.
- Leave your expectations behind and be open to strange or different experiences (you are on an adventure after all).
- While abroad, try to see the world as the locals do without any judgement and try to embrace every opportunity to serve if possible. It may teach you something, you never thought you would have had the chance to learn.