Name: Madeleine Montgomery
Hometown: Austin, Texas
Nationality: United States
Languages spoken: English, Spanish (beginner)
Occupation: Hostess at The Grove Wine Bar And Kitchen
Volunteer Abroad: Assisting at an After-School Center in Cusco, Peru
Duration: 1 week
Start month: June 2018
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I decided to become a UBELONG Volunteer because I wanted the opportunity to challenge myself while helping others. I love traveling, and I love working with kids (I am in college to become an elementary school teacher) so when I found the opportunity to go to Peru and work in an after-school program I couldn’t pass it up.
What were your major challenges?
The major challenge for me was the language barrier. I took four years of Spanish in high school, but I am nowhere near fluent. The kids I worked with did not know any English, and they all needed help with their homework when I was working with them. We had to figure out ways to communicate with each other so that I could help them, even though I only spoke basic level Spanish.
What is your favorite memory?
One of my favorite memories was teaching the kids hand-clap games. They all wanted to learn words in English, so we taught them hand-clap games with English songs. They thought it was so cool and always wanted to do the games with each other and with me. Another good memory was on our last day in our placement; the kids made a huge poster to say thank you for working with them that I got to take home.
In a sentence or less, how would you describe local life?
Local life in Cusco was, in one word, happy: everyone on the streets was always smiling, and locals were genuinely happy to help tourists with anything and seemed happy to meet new people.