Home

 

Getting Experience

- # of # Filtered -

Hooked On Volunteering!

Q&A with Uma: Volunteered in Guatemala & Peru
Share this
Print this
Uma
Volunteered in Guatemala & Peru
College of Saint Elizabeth
Her thoughts on Motivation
I am originally from Guyana. Growing up in a Third World country gave me a real insight into how hard things can be. Now I want to give back as much as I can.
Her thoughts on Pre-Departure Preparation
There are no excuses! If you have a burning desire to serve, you can make it happen.
Her thoughts on Homestays
Going with my volunteer program, we stayed in a local host home and ate traditional cuisine three times a day. This approach to going abroad made me feel like I was much more a part of the culture than I would have been staying at a hotel.

When and where did you volunteer abroad? What was your position?

I've volunteered all my life! When I was 21 I spent a year with Americorps (see Corporation for National and Community Service to access site) in Philadelphia working as an HIV counselor for high-risk populations. A few years later, I went with Cross-Cultural Solutions (CCS) for their week-long Insight Abroad program in Guatemala City, Guatemala. Over the course of that week I volunteered at a home for elderly women. Two years later I went abroad with CCS once again; this time it was to Lima, Peru, where I worked with underprivileged children at a government daycare facility. And this year I'm going to Morocco with CCS! 

What made you want to volunteer abroad?

I am originally from Guyana, South America, and growing up in a Third World country gave me a real insight into how hard things can be. Now that I am blessed a little (though definitely not living the high life!), I want to give back as much as I can in terms of time and resources. 

How did you conduct your search for a position? What made you select the program?

I like CCS because they offer week-long options for going abroad. I'm a single mother and also a small business owner, so it's hard for me to get away for longer than a few days. This is why I want people to know that there are no excuses! If you have a burning desire to serve, you can make it happen. You just have to find the organization that will make that dream come true.

What was the biggest surprise about your volunteer experience abroad?

I have traveled the world extensively, but I've always stayed in hotels and behaved as a tourist. Going with my volunteer program, we stayed in a local host home and ate traditional cuisine three times a day. This approach to going abroad made me feel like I was much more a part of the culture than I would have been staying at a hotel. We got really immersed in the country. And working as a volunteer you also get to see the real, down-to-earth side of a culture, rather than just the posh areas. Getting this perspective really makes you appreciate what you have. There were definitely major cultural differences. People are more appreciative and grateful for what they have and they 'make do' in many of the countries I visit. I think as Americans, we live in a country where we don't respect the things we have -- and we constantly want more. 

What made your experience successful?

I don't think you need a certain skill set or type of previous experience to make your volunteer placement a success. I would say having an open heart and open mind is what makes it successful for me.

How did you finance your trip abroad?

This was definitely the hard part; but you just have to be creative! CCS was very helpful, giving ideas about how I might go about fundraising. I reached out to my inner circle to ask for donations, and I also reached out to my clients (I'm a massage therapist). I was able to collect a little here and a little there, and in the end it all came together before my final payment due date! 

What is your number one tip for anyone hoping to follow in your footsteps?

Have an open heart. Have an open mind. Be flexible. No matter your age, go abroad with the mindset of a student. You are there to learn and serve. 

What did you miss most about home?

My kids... and definitely central air! Ha!

What are your future plans for going abroad?

I plan to go every two years until I can't walk anymore! I love volunteering; it's a humbling and wonderful experience. It reminds me to be grateful, thankful and happy for the things I do have and not worry so much about the things I don't have.

Advice from MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey, Publisher

Uma is someone who volunteers abroad often, and she has developed all the essential characteristics required to immerse herself fully into other cultures. Since Uma is also a professional message therapist, I am assuming that she is in the "mid-career" phase. Given her love of travel and her generous spirit, she might want to consider going abroad for a longer period of time, possibly as part of her retirement or pre-retirement plans, or even on a gap year with her children. She might also consider combining her love of volunteer work with her professional credentials by working in international health or volunteering with a health-focused NGO. (Note: You must log in to MyWorldAbroad to access the links below.)

  • The 50+ Worker Abroad offers many entrepreneurial strategies for going abroad in pre-retirement and retirement years. These strategies are equally applicable for mid-career professionals.
  • Health Careers Abroad describes professional careers in the international health sector, including many volunteer positions working with NGOs
  • NGOs & International Development describes how to work and volunteer within the NGO sector. This section contains numerous NGO profiles that are specialized in health services abroad.
Uma's Next Steps
Advice from MyWorldAbroad
by the founder of MyWorldAbroad
Jean-Marc Hachey
Want to Have the Same Experience?
10 Core Global Competencies
Take control of your career with this ESSENTIAL model!
Virtual Internships in 2021!
Remote work is the way of the future! Start planning YOUR virtual international internship now.
The 1-Year & 4-Year Global Mindset Maps!
Don't miss your blueprint for success! Set goals & take action to build the Global You.
The Global You
What skills, knowledge and experiences can change your life? Find out with this NEW model!
Quizzes & Scorecard
Take these simple quizzes to assess your international skills, experiences & job search readiness!
The Culture Tree
EXPLORE the three levels of culture!
9743
- # of # Filtered -
  • 102
102
16382
Making the Most of Lockdown with a Virtual Internship
1
16392
Building International Career Skills Online
2
16387
An Epic Internship in Malaysia
3
16312
Virtual Internship for a Cross-cultural Future
4
16320
Independent, International, Virtual! A UN Internship Online
5
16316
Exploring the Sights, Sounds & Tastes of Mexico City
6
16157
Zoom Zoom! A Virtual Internship with Central America
7
9756
Springtime In Spain
8
9763
A Professional Visit To Vietnam
9
9780
A Year In Marvelous Mexico!
10
9751
A Canadian Globe-Trotter Visits The US
11
9743
Hooked On Volunteering!
12
9768
Going Solo In Spain!
13
10188
Now Or Never In Colombia
14
9792
Rolling With The Punches In Seoul
15
9745
An Unforgettable Adventure In Nanjing
16
9774
Gaga For Ghana!
17
9783
Off The Beaten Path In Africa
18
9755
People, Places And Passionate Volunteering In Peru
19
9778
Study And Adventure In New Zealand
20
9740
Sports, Study And Fun In France
21
9777
Into The Wild In Alaska
22
9775
A Year Of Feeling French
23
9754
Building Memories In India
24
9750
Host Hospitality In Morocco
25
9747
Fun And Friends In The Netherlands
26
9748
Adventure In The Alps
27
9786
Kids And Culture In Korea
28
9772
Learning To Go With The Flow In France
29
9791
Making Contacts Count In The UK
30
9762
American Freshman In London
31
9771
Learning To Love London
32
9742
Take-Charge Travel: Germany And Beyond!
33
9773
Independent In India
34
9746
A Cross-Cultural Co-Op In West Africa
35
9760
Getting In Sync In Nairobi
36
9759
From Cold Feet To Confidence In Germany
37
9779
One Summer, Two Internships!
38
9785
Motivated In Madagascar
39
9741
Adapting to Work In Peru
40
9784
Skill-building in Bonn
41
9753
A Season in Sweden
42
9765
Simpatico in Florence
43
9782
Making The Most Of Milano
44
9737
Passionate About Panama
45
9766
Short-Term Trips For Long-Term Gain
46
9781
A Hospital Helper In Costa Rica
47
9789
Loving Life In Lyon
48
9790
Design And Dining In Korea
49
9770
Contributing To Change In Ghana
50
9757
Teaching And Learning In Tanzania
51
9738
Living For The Moment In Valencia
52
9767
Beyond The Call Of Duty In Africa
53
16174
An Empowering Virtual Internship in Nicaragua
54
9761
Communicating Creatively In Spain
55
9744
Food, Fun And Festivals In Germany
56
16161
A Bright & Friendly Cross-cultural Workspace
57
15401
From Korea to Oman: Teaching English Around the World!
58
16017
A Globally-minded Visit to Qatar
59
10204
Across Europe In A Caravan!
60
9758
Learning The Local Ways Of Addis Ababa
61
11645
A Love Affair with Shanghai
62
12058
Architectural Adventures in Australia
63
11996
Daring to Go Solo in Ireland
64
15333
A Literary Education in the UK
65
11845
Hospitality and Hosting in the DCR
66
10923
Insight And Education In Korea
67
14483
Finding Home, By Teaching Abroad
68
14088
An Eye-opening Experience Teaching in South Korea
69
15347
12 Months, 12 Countries!
70
14594
Growing Abroad: Hong Kong & South Korea
71
15405
From Daydream to Reality: Teaching Abroad
72
15383
Hustle and Bustle in Vietnam
73
15327
An Open Mind & Open Arms in Spain
74
15387
Bliss on a Budget in Brazil
75
15631
An International Career in the Making: Asia, Africa and Beyond
76
15644
Discovering the World on Campus: International Skills at Home
77
11467
Stepping Outside the Box in Sweden!
78
9752
Giving In Guatemala
79
9769
Getting Sporty In Switzerland!
80
9788
Business And Pleasure In Australia
81
9807
Fast Friendship in Korea
82
9787
A Spring Semester in London
83
9764
Do It Yourself! A Proactive Intern in Rome
84
11557
Un stage au Cambodge (Français)
85
9776
Soaking Up Japanese Culture
86
10230
Getting Caffeinated In Bolivia
87
11468
Learning While Teaching in Beijing
88
10145
Real Stories And Real People In Mexico
89
9803
Ten Years Teaching In Seoul
90
10851
Tips From Tasmania
91
9799
Getting Settled In Seoul
92
10258
Encountering Cultures Across Europe
93
10218
Adaptation And Appreciation In Japan
94
9812
Caring And Career Skills In Belize
95
10157
Changing Course In China
96
11850
The Warmest Welcome in Guatemala
97
11904
Enthusiasm, Education and Experience in Greece
98
10163
English Teaching In Eastern Europe
99
10153
China, South Africa And Beyond!
100
10192
Out And About In Paris
101
10143
A Warm Welcome In Mexico
102
9743
All Job Boards
462
All NGOs
1429
Au Pair Resources
39
Awards And Grants Resources
53
Business Directories
18
Canadian Federal, Provincial And Territorial Government Profiles
60
Canadian Government Resources
27
Children And Families Abroad
16
Consulting, Economic And Finance Job Boards
63
Country Guides
70
Cross-cultural Skills
80
Engineering Job Boards
59
Engineering Resources
81
Expatriate Networking Sites
32
Foreign Students Working in the US
9
Freelancing Abroad
27
General Job Search Books
15
Global Education And Social Action
45
Health And Medicine Job Boards
49
Health Career Resources
67
International Associations With Clubs on Campus
43
International Development Career Resources
75
International Internship Organizations
310
International Internships And Student Programs With Canadian Governments
35
International Internships With The US Government
37
International Job Hunting Resources
14
International Law Careers Resources
113
International Law Job Boards
26
International Studies In The US And Canada
11
International Trade Resources
25
International Volunteer Organizations
492
Internship Directories And Advice
37
Internships With The UN And Other IGOs
157
Language Careers
30
Learn A Language
108
Licensed Teacher Abroad Job Boards
28
Licensed Teacher Abroad Resources
31
Loans for Studying Abroad
18
Low-cost Travel
63
NGO Directories
33
NGO Job Boards
47
Re-entry
12
Regional Job Boards
102
Relocating Abroad
26
Resources For International Students Studying In Canada
17
Resources For International Students Studying In The US
46
Stories From Abroad
102
Study Abroad Resources
185
Teach English Abroad Job Boards
99
Teach English Abroad Resources
64
Tools for Travelers
72
Top International Blogs & Podcasts
85
Travel Health And Safety
39
UN and Other IGOs
269
UN And Other IGOs Job Boards
26
UN And Other IGOs Resources
73
US Government Profiles
76
US Government Resources
36
Virtual International Internship Organizations
89
Visas and Passports
26
Volunteer Directories And Advice
50
Women Living And Working Overseas
18
Working Holiday Resources
73