Our goal is that you have a safe, impactful and unforgettable trip. That starts with our providing UBELONG Volunteers with personalized, world-class support. We are there for you every step of the way.
“Even if you do encounter a problem, you have so much support: the site contact, the liaisons, anyone from UBELONG.” – Janine Puleo, UBELONG Mexico Volunteer from the United States – read her interview here.
We are hard-working, dedicated professionals who have devoted our lives to giving people the opportunity to volunteer abroad in an extremely affordable, flexible and meaningful manner. The UBELONG mission is a social one – everything we do is about making the world a better place.
If we accept you into one of our international volunteer trips, we are bringing you into the UBELONG Family. From the UBELONG Mentors our volunteers work with before they get to the field, to all the people who support UBELONG Volunteers when they arrive, we work together to welcome, support and empower you to make a difference.
How do we support you?
Coupled with the affordability and flexibility of the UBELONG volunteer opportunities, one of the biggest reasons UBELONG has earned such a good reputation is the support we offer to UBELONG Volunteers. Highlights:
- UBELONG Mentor: When you join one of our volunteer programs, we pair you with a UBELONG Mentor, a highly experienced member of our team who works closely with you throughout your volunteer experience. From coordinating details like airport pickup and housing preferences to preparing you for your role as an international volunteer, your mentor is there for you.
- Briefing Meeting: Prior to your departure, you have the opportunity to meet with your UBELONG Mentor for a one-on-one meeting. You go over staying safe during your trip, as well as tips for getting the most out of your Volunteer Abroad experience. The meetings generally occur over the phone or Skype, but if you are in the same location as your UBELONG Mentor they can occur in person.
- In-country support: Throughout your Volunteer Abroad placement, we work with our Local Team Leader to provide you with any assistance that you may need. Whether you have a question about where to travel on the weekend or have an issue that requires immediate assistance, the local team is there for you.
- United States and Europe based support: UBELONG is an American organization with our headquarters in Charleston, South Carolina. We also have offices in Lisbon, Portugal and Cusco, Peru. As such, you have the peace of mind that comes from having the support of an American organization with global reach.
We don’t “drop” you in the field – and we don’t want a gazillion people joining us.
A number of “voluntourism” and “factory travel” organizations boast about sending many thousands of people abroad. Fifty thousand, eighty thousand, a gazillion thousand…
To us, these numbers are not reflective of responsible volunteering – pumping people into projects that do not need them is not the way to make a positive impact.
Those numbers also make us wonder about the level of support those people receive. Many of these organizations are simply intermediaries who drop people into a country and then don’t interact with them again. In fact, one of the reasons our Executive Principal Cedric Hodgeman started UBELONG is that he had volunteered with one of these organizations back in 2008 and felt very unsupported.
As such, while we have had 5000+ people join our volunteer programs over the years, we do not want to be the biggest volunteer trip organization. We just want to be the best one.
When you join a UBELONG trip we support you before, during and after your trip. We continually check-in with you and offer assistance. We also work extremely closely with our teams on the ground. From large details like accommodations and project supervision to small ones like public transport and safety monitoring that you will probably never notice but that are still crucial, we work together to make sure volunteers feel safe, comfortable and ready to make a meaningful contribution.
We look forward to meeting you!