Volunteering abroad with UBELONG can be a profound and life-changing experience. Our team is there to help you before, during and after your trip.
“I am really happy that I was an UBELONGer and I must confess that if I would go back in time I would have taken exactly the some decisions! Everything went well and each time that I needed help, someone was always there for me. I was volunteering for 6 months and for 6 months I always had my mentor taking care of me and doing some follow ups by asking me if everything was going according to my expectations.” – Ines Torres, UBELONG Cambodia Volunteer from Portugal – read her interview here.
UBELONG Volunteers have the opportunity to experience extensive mentorship before, during and after their volunteer placement. UBELONG Volunteers are known for their excellent work ethic, attitude and preparedness, and that has a lot to do with the training they receive from UBELONG. Highlights of that mentorship:
Before arriving in the field:
- Upon being accepted into a UBELONG Volunteer Abroad program, we pair you with a UBELONG Mentor, a member of our team who works one-on-one with you to prepare you for your experience. All our Mentors are accomplished and passionate professionals. To give you a taste, our Mentors have included Ivy League graduates, an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) and multiple world travelers who have spent years of their lives living and volunteering abroad. Your Mentor is there for you.
- You receive extensive preparation materials, which come in easy-to-follow text and videos. Some of the important topics we cover include: volunteer vs. tourist mindset, culture shock, cross-cultural sensitivity and skills, living tips, and social norms. The materials also go into safety, as well as topics like packing, dress code and touristic activities to do during your free time.
While in the field:
- We have an incredible network of people who work to support UBELONG Volunteers when they arrive. In line with our focus on local empowerment and providing genuine immersion experiences, most team members are from the place where you are volunteering in. During your first days you receive an orientation, which goes over everything from living locally to the work you will be doing. Depending on your location, the orientation may also include a welcome dinner, walk around town, and meet and greet with other volunteers.
- Throughout your time in the field, the local team checks in with you to see how you are doing. They are available to answer any questions you have, as well as give you tips on the daily life, local culture, project or anything you may be curious about. The team members in the field are wonderful resources to lean on.
After the field:
- Once a UBELONG Volunteer, always a UBELONG Volunteer. Just because you are home from the field does not mean your UBELONG experience has ended. When you return home, your UBELONG Mentor will send you a survey and offer you the opportunity to meet on Skype for a debriefing meeting. We encourage you to do so, it is a great way to reflect on your experience and ease back into life at home.
- Your UBELONG Mentor will also give you the opportunity to participate in numerous activities, including blogging for UBELONG, being interviewed for our Volunteer Abroad news section and, if you are a US citizen, receiving the United States President’s Volunteer Service Award, which we have been certified to give as a U.S. based international volunteering organization committed to the highest standards.
Happy UBELONG volunteering!