Name: Hsuan-Wen Wang
Hometown: Greensboro, North Carolina
University: University Of North Carolina At Greensboro
Degree: International Business
Languages spoken: Chinese and English (Fluent)
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Caring for People with Disabilities in Merida, Mexico
Duration: 1 week
Start month: January 2017
Claim to fame: Hsuan-Wen volunteered in a mental disorder institution and nursing home. We are happy to have you on board, Hsuan-Wen! 🙂
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I was lost, I want to do something meaningful in my life because I think this will make me feel better and I may able to find what I am missing in my life. I wanted to help someone and also I wanted to see different stuff. I wanted to know what this world looks like in another side of the world. I wanted to experience many different cultures and I want to feel by myself not just look at online or from a textbook. So I figure it out that if I do volunteer, I may get everything I want. After I make my mind I search it online about volunteer abroad, the first organization that shows up to me is UBELONG, I looked at up the website and all those online reviews, and UBELONG has high and good reviews. So I decided to contact UBELONG and submit my application.
What was your impact on your volunteer project?
When I first arrive my volunteer project, I feel a warm welcome from everyone, teachers and kids. I don’t even feel I am a stranger, I feel I am part of a group already. I learn things fast, even if sometimes I don’t understand what is being said but I am able to use my judgment to see what I should do. The teacher from my project tells me what should I be careful about so I adapted pretty fast. I played with kids and help them do some art activities, I have to be patient to help them step by step. Those small steps change me a lot, I could totally feel satisfied through those kids smile and see they been so happy on all activities we did. I became more appreciative for everything I received in my life.
What were your major challenges?
I don’t think I have any challenges, but if I have to pick one, I will say I wish I speak Spanish so I can talk to those teachers who work in my project. Basically, I don’t think language barrier is a big issue, we still can communicate to each other through a picture, body language or translation. Just feel if I know how to speak Spanish then it will be interesting to know their story, and talk more about stuff.
In a sentence or less, best advice for fitting in with the local culture?
I think the best advice to fit in the local culture is to be open-minded and flexible. After that you will find out so many things are waiting for you to discover.