“The feeling of making a difference was the most rewarding part.”


UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Artem Milkov
Age: 27
Hometown: Toronto, Ontario
Nationality: Canada
Languages spoken: English, Russian, Spanish (beginner)
University: University of Toronto
Bachelors: Finance and Economics
Past travel experience: Avid
Volunteer Abroad: Cultural Enterprise Development in Cusco, Peru
Duration: 4 weeks
Start month: February 2017
Claim to fame: Artem lived in Europe, North America and Asia at different stages of his life and has traveled to dozens of countries in the world. He easily adjusts to new customs, people, places and conditions. UBELONGers are the best, thanks for your service, Artem!

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
Last year was a very tough year for me, lots of things went wrong and I wasn’t happy with my job, in fact, I felt depressed because I didn’t enjoy what I was doing. It got to a point where I couldn’t take it anymore and left my job in October, 2016. Quitting my job freed up a lot of time allowing me to slow down and think about what I actually enjoy doing. I’ve realized that I enjoy learning new things while helping others with the knowledge and expertise that I already have. That’s how I decided to go to Peru and volunteer for a business development project while exploring a new culture and learning Spanish. I’ve done a lot of research online choosing the right organization and UBELONG came across as the most reasonable and honest based on the reviews that former volunteers left (not to mention, it was the most reasonably priced). It was an easy and right choice at the end.

What did you find most rewarding from you volunteer experience?
I volunteered for a small NGO that takes care of children and women in the Sacred Valley, Peru. It was literally a “one-man shop” run by a lady with a new-born baby, so you can imagine how much pressure it puts on her. This is where volunteers like myself come in to provide the much needed support for projects like this one. Even the simplest things, such as helping out with the website or teaching the kids, have a great impact and the feeling of making a difference was the most rewarding part of my volunteer experience.

In addition, this experience wouldn’t have been the same without other volunteers and the UBELONG Coordinators that I met. I’ve made life-long friends that made my time in Cusco fun and unforgettable.

What three pieces of advice would you give to a future UBELONG Volunteer?

  • Get out of your comfort zone. Going to a new remote place may sound nerve-racking but it’s important to get out of our bubbles once in a while and explore the world out there, especially with such a great organization as UBELONG that will provide support to you at every stage of the process.
  • Don’t waste time. I did lots of preparation before going there (e.g. pick up some Spanish, reach out to the project leader to get a better idea of what I would be doing) and that was very helpful. You will be amazed how fast the time will fly and you should make every day count!
  • Have fun. At the end of the day, the time you will spend in the place you are going to should be fun and enjoyable, so make sure to connect with other fellow volunteers because that what will really make a difference in your UBELONG experience.
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Related post:
Meet Quinn Parker, a Princeton University undergrad, who volunteered with UBELONG on the education project in Cusco, Peru.