Name: Matteo Franceschini
Hometown: Milan, Italy
Languages spoken: Italian, English (fluent), Swedish (fluent), Spanish (intermediate)
University: Università degli Studi di Milano
Volunteer Abroad: Assisting at an After-School Center in Cusco, Peru
Duration: 4 weeks
Start month: July 2018
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I decided to become a UBELONG Volunteer because I felt the need to give back, in some way, everything life gifted me with and that I never fully appreciated.
What impact did you make on your volunteer project?
I was working at an after-school center in the caregiving program in Cusco, Peru. I can not know what kind of impact I made through my project. Most of the kids that I met have serious problems at home and in their community. I can say, though, that I contributed to the greater goal that the project is trying to achieve with them, by making the kids’ afternoons more joyful and careless of adult problems.
I remember when Rodrigo (12 years old) always wanted to play computer games with me like if I was his older brother; when Coral (8 years old) ran down the hill to jump in my arms screaming “Matteo!”; or every evening when we closed the school’s door and Araceli (10 years old) wanted me and the other volunteers to take her home and I carried her on my shoulders, walked with her on my feet or anything else she could come up with.
How did you grow personally during your volunteer trip?
I grew through all the things that I learned from my fellow volunteers and especially the kids. As our project leader said “everyone that crosses your path in life has something to teach you”. So I realized that I can learn so much even from the youngest of children.
In a sentence or less, how would you sum up your volunteer experience?
“Tienes que ser el cambio que quieres ver en el mundo” – “You have to be the change you want to see in the world”.