Name: Karen Macatumbas
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Languages spoken: English, French (beginner)
University: University of Ottawa
Bachelors: International Development
Past travel experience: Moderate
Volunteer Abroad: Working in a Botanical Garden in Cartago, Costa Rica
Duration: 4 weeks
Start month: May 2016
Claim to fame: Karen prides herself on always being with a smile. A great quality, welcome to the UBELONG Family, Karen!
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I chose to volunteer with UBELONG because I felt that the organization cares about its relationships with projects and volunteers. UBELONG cares about their local teams and by working in a custom based matter, projects are specifically chosen based on the need of the particular environment. Projects are granted the best volunteers, and volunteers are placed in welcoming and inspiring settings to work in as well. Additionally, UBELONG looks after their volunteers by ensuring that they are well accommodated, and are given a mentor that provides assistance in anything regarding their placement.
What is your favorite memory?
I was lucky to have made some friends from my volunteer placement. On my last day a group of girls from the garden, other researchers, and I went out for coffee and just talked…about everything! It was nice to have made those connections with people that I admire and aspire to be on a similar path one day.
What advice would you tell a future volunteer?
My advice is to enjoy yourself. Look around you and soak in the beauty of everything and consider how lucky you are to be part of such a wonderful experience. Particularly in Costa Rica, it is literally called the “Rich Coast”, there is natural allure and history everywhere.
In a sentence or less, how would you describe local life?
Local Life in Costa Rica is colorful and lively yet laid back and peaceful.