Name: Eva-Maria Tipotsch
Hometown: Innsbruck, Austria
Languages spoken: German, English (fluent), French (advanced), Spanish (beginner)
University: University of Innsbruck
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for disadvantaged youth in Merida, Mexico
Duration: 4 weeks
Start month: July 2018
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I have already worked in a volunteer program of an Austrian charity organization where I worked in a kindergarten for seven months. I knew I wanted to volunteer in a caregiving project with children again, and I also wanted to improve my Spanish skills as I need them for university. That’s why I chose to work with UBELONG.
What impact did you make on your volunteer project?
I was able to help the teachers to feed the kids, change their clothes and help them to follow their hygiene routine. I could play, sing, dance, hand craft, read with them or just listen to the children’s stories.
How did you grow personally during your volunteer trip?
I grew a lot during my time in Mérida. I met so many kind and beautiful people, whether it was in the Volunteer House among other volunteers, in my placement, from UBELONG or on the streets, I came across many great personalities which was unbelievably rewarding for me.
What is your favorite memory?
On my second last day in my placement I asked the teachers why one girl was absent and they told me that she’s already on vacation break. I was so sad because I couldn’t say good-bye and wish her a beautiful summer break.
About a week later I was still in Mérida and I was strolling around in the city center for the weekly event “Mérida en Domingo” and as I crossed the street I saw that girl with her parents. The girl recognized me and started screaming my name. Her parents were very surprised but not as much surprised and happy as I was when I saw the little girl again. We chatted for a bit and I wished them a nice vacation break.
How are the chances to see this one girl I haven’t been able to say good-bye again on the bustling streets of Mérida?
What advice would you tell a future volunteer?
Be open-minded, be ready to learn and adapt and love what you do.
In a sentence or less, how would you sum up your volunteer experience?
It has been the most beautiful and rewarding month I’ve experienced.