Name: Joao Cardoso
Hometown: Lisbon, Portugal
Languages spoken: Portuguese, English (fluent), Spanish (intermediate)
Occupation: External Consultant at Galp Energia
Past travel experience: Avid
Volunteer Abroad: Microfinance and Income Generation in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Duration: 12 weeks
Start month: February 2016
Claim to fame: Worked as a volunteer at the Caxias Prison Hospital in Portugal.
Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
I was about to finish my masters’ thesis and I thought I needed an experience that would change my life completely. Working and helping out in one of the world’s poorest countries was definitely a challenge that I wanted to face.
What was your impact on your volunteer project?
The business development project I worked on made a clear impact, both for the social enterprise we worked with and the farmers they represent. It consisted of developing a production process performance model for a small banana chip business. The company lacked a tool to compare and evaluate the performance and efficiency of each production site and our tool helped them to do so.
What did you take from the experience?
The working pace and environment are definitely not what we are used to. You have to be patient and flexible to understand and deliver what the company really needs.
Cambodia is an incredible country that has a lot to offer culturally. Living there is an eye-opening experience and I feel blessed to have been chosen to go through it. I met incredible people and made a lot of really good friends there.
In a sentence or less, best packing advice?
No need to bring a towel! The volunteer house will provide you one 😉