Volunteer in Cambodia from US$470

UBELONG offers 2-week to 6-month volunteering opportunities in Phnom Penh across many different fields: business development and microfinance, law and human rights, NGO support, caregiving, education, health, and women's empowerment.

Highlights
  • Affordable: Without compromising quality, the world's most affordable international volunteering opportunities.
  • Flexibility: Pick from 100+ projects across Africa, Asia and South America. Volunteer 1 week to 6 months. Start any week.
  • Support: Work one-on-one with a UBELONG Mentor throughout your volunteer experience.
  • Comfort: Housing and meals included, as well as 24/7 field support.
  • Network: UBELONG is based in Washington, DC, the capital of international volunteering.
  • Impact: UBELONG is a social venture led by international volunteers and university professors driven to make a real impact on local communities.
  • Trust: Every year, thousands of individuals of all ages and backgrounds, and from throughout the world, become UBELONG volunteers.

Simply, UBELONG is the world's premier short-term international volunteering program.

Program Info

Location: 
  • CambodiaPhnom Penh
Program Length: 
2-4 weeks
1-3 months
3-6 months
Cost: 
$500 - $2,000 (USD)
See site for details.
See Additional Information
Cost Description: 

Without compromising safety or impact, UBELONG offers the world's most affordable 1-week to 6-month international volunteering opportunities.

Fees vary by location and placement duration. They start from US$150 for one week. Fees include:

-Airport pick-up

-Housing and meals

-24/7 in-country support

-Continual one-on-one mentorship from a UBELONG Mentor (including written materials and a phone/Skype Briefing Meeting)

-Peace of mind from joining the leading short-term international volunteering program, which is based in Washington, DC

-Networking opportunities through the powerful UBELONG community

*The UBELONG Campus Leaders program offers scholarships to university students. Contact us for more information.

Languages: 
English
Local dialects
Housing: 
Volunteer House
Application: 
Online Application

Videos

Program Reviews (32)

96%
Positive
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  • Impact
    86%
  • Support
    94%
  • Fun
    95%
  • Value
    94%
  • Safety
    93%
  • Angela Kang
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Seoul, South Korea
    University of Melbourne
    Not a one-off experience
    02/15/2015

    UBELONG made me realize that any one of us can make a difference in whatever shape or form. Volunteers are supported at every stage of the process and are given the most practical advice and information. The team at UBELONG knows exactly what the volunteers are going through as they themselves have experience in overseas volunteering. The journey I experienced in Cambodia and the support I received from my mentor have been a smooth sail and needless to say, unforgettable. Thank you UBELONG for making my first overseas volunteering trip so lasting and meaningful. I am already planning for my next overseas volunteering trip at the end of this year and I know who I will look to for support for this upcoming trip.

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  • Nai
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    New westminster , British Columbia
    University of Alberta
    Be grateful and be open minded
    02/11/2015

    I learnt not to compare how things were done back at home and impose them to my volunteer project, as what works for us at home might not for the locals here. Instead, work with the local team to modify the method that is realistic and workable for them to sustain for long term.

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  • Nicholas Bruhn
    Age: 19-24
    Male
    Madison, Wisconsin
    University of Wisconsin
    UBELONG Volunteer in Cambodia
    02/11/2015

    UBELONG was absolutely wonderful. Originally, I was a little apprehensive to be living in a new country where I would not know anyone. The UBELONG contacts took time to skype and go over any questions and concerns I had. They also emailed a very detailed preparation packet with a pre-departure checklist and advice for literally everything I could think of. The time and energy they put into preparing you is evident from the moment you become accepted to your program.

    How could this program be improved?

    I would have liked to have a few resources for learning a bit of the language before arriving in Cambodia. We received some resources a couple of days after arriving (which were very helpful).

    Photos:
    People Improvement Organization - 1st Grade Class
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  • Maria
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Italia
    Other
    UBELONG
    01/21/2015

    UBELONG is a very serious and reliable organization. The preparation to the field and all the work behind make the volunteer experience very enriching and easily enjoyable. Being a UBELONG Volunteer made me more conscious of myself and of the work in the field.
    Thanks to international organizations as UBELONG, people have the opportunity to travel and to live unforgettable experiences looking for a common good.

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  • Robert
    Age: 19-24
    Male
    Arizona
    Northern Arizona University
    A great experience
    01/20/2015

    UBELONG is an organization committed to delivering the best experience possible for volunteers. Their program in Cambodia provides excellent food and accommodation. The local staff are quick to provide whatever support you might need during your stay. The volunteer house is large and there are always plenty of volunteers to befriend and explore the country with. I made a lot of great friends while I was there and that alone made this experience worth it.

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  • Elien Van Wynsberghe
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Antwerp, Belgium
    Other
    English teaching in an orphanage in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
    01/15/2015

    Volunteering with UBELONG was a great experience. My mentor helped me a lot and also the communication went very fluently. This made me feel very comfortable.

    I absolutely loved my work as a teacher in the orphanage in Phnom Penh. Although the children have so little, and the resources in the school are reduced to an absolute minimum, it was great working over there. You learn to be creative with the things you have and you realize that that works out fine. Also, these children were so grateful and they gave me so much love in return that I didn't want to leave. We had such an amazing time, singing songs, playing games and, at the same time, learning English. My last day we sang Christmas songs because they love Christmas. Everyone was so excited, it was amazing to watch them being so happy.

    How could this program be improved?

    The information about the projects given on the website should be more up to date

    Photos:
    English teaching in Phnom Penh
    Fun during English class - Phnom Penh
    Fun during English class - Phnom Penh
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  • Adena Gold
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    Tel Aviv, Israel
    Other
    Professional and worthwhile program
    01/08/2015

    My biggest concern in volunteering abroad was foreign logistics in the developing world. UBELONG takes care of that professionally and perfectly. For the (very reasonable) price I paid, I had my anxiety entirely assuaged. UBELONG walked me through every step of preparation with a personal mentor, organized transportation from the airport, arranged for me to live in their volunteer house in Phnom Penh, and set me up to volunteer at a local NGO. The living standards were above my expectations, and the vibe in the house was positive and fun. Being taken care of by professionals while you're somewhere so incredibly foreign is comforting, helpful, and now I believe, well worth the price. I would happily volunteer through UBELONG again.

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  • Jarusha
    Age: 31-50
    Female
    Clayton, CA
    Marymount Manhattan College
    Teaching English in Cambodia
    12/16/2014

    UBELONG provided me with an experience I would not have gotten had I simply travelled as a tourist. By connecting me with a local team, I was able to see life from a local's view and work closely with the Cambodian people. Definitely a once in a lifetime experience full of hard truths, amazing people, and incredible stories.

    How could this program be improved?

    I believe the minimum 2 week commitment may be too short of a time to really adjust, settle in, and figure out how you can be of help. I wish there was some sort of set curriculum that could be followed by any volunteer so they could jump in at any time and know where the children were at in their learning. With so many volunteers coming through the school, I worry about how much progress is actually made.

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  • Jeannie Yap
    Age: 25-30
    Female
    United Kingdom
    University of Liverpool
    UBELONG review
    11/10/2014

    I was glad I chose to sign up with UBELONG for my first volunteering abroad project., because it gave me a good experience, both before and after the project. The information contained on the website helped to give a glimpse of what to expect in the project, along with the many reviews online which allowed me to be at ease and trust the organisation and placement I was going to have. What also helped was the enthusiasm of the team in introducing the project and offering help and advice prior to starting the project, even after the project. It was a valuable experience for me.

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  • Laura
    Age: 18 or younger
    Female
    Paris
    Université Paris IX Dauphine
    UBELONG allowed me to do a great, unique and safe travel by having an impact.
    11/10/2014

    UBELONG is perfect to go abroad: it offers a lot of different opportunities and once you've decided to go with them, they attribute you a person who will follow you and help you to prepare your journey, who makes sure everything is going well when you are there and who keep in touch when you come back.

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  • Clémence Logeais
    Age: 18 or younger
    Female
    Lille, France
    Other
    Volunteering in Cambodia
    10/06/2014

    So many beautiful encouters !
    Some of the most beautiful landscapes I have ever seen ; a hike in the jungle ; a Khmer style photoshoot ; a welcome dinner with spiders, crickets and snakes ; an afternoon with elephants ; Khmer lessons with a tuktuk driver ; a natural shower at Angkor Wat temple (sweet rainy season...) ; a gymnastic session on the backyard's floor at the orphanage... And also looooots of laughter !
    This volunteering summer was probably the best summer I've ever spent !

    How could this program be improved?

    Maybe try to see with the placements where the need is, so that the volunteers could be better prepared at the begining of their programm. If I already knew before coming what I was exceped to do, I could have brought so many games and stuff from home !

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  • Tuomas Vuorinen
    Age: 19-24
    Male
    Finland
    Other
    UBELONG Microfinance in Cambodia
    10/03/2014

    UBELONG has an extensive range of programs around the world, and deservedly raving reviews. They understand local conditions and give full support before, during, and after the placement. I would definitely go with them again, and recommend their reliable and welcoming services to anyone thinking about volunteering.

    How could this program be improved?

    More detailed information on the actual project (like the history of organisation and information on its operation) would have been appreciated, so that learning could have started beforehand. However it is normal that the outflow of information from an organistaion in a developing country is patchy at best.

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  • Sandra van den Poll
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Nederland
    Other
    Meeting all my needs
    09/23/2014

    I had some specific goals in mind when I started looking for volunteering abroad. I wanted not just to help out, I also wanted to make a contribution to society and learn something as well. Therefore, it took me quite some time to find the organisation that met my needs but when I found UBELONG I was convinced right away. Afterwards, I can say it was the best decision I ever made!

    How could this program be improved?

    The website looked a bit basic at first, but it has improved a lot over the summer with all the pictures and stuff!

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  • Leah Montaño
    Age: 19-24
    Female
    Las Cruces, New Mexico
    New Mexico State University
    UBELONG Experience in Phnom Penh
    09/03/2014

    UBELONG was a great program to go through. This was my first time abroad outside the US, so you could imagine my hesitance, worry, and confusion. Beyond all that, my mentor was patient with my many questions and constant emails. UBELONG also had a great online community, especially the Facebook Page, which shared photos and experiences of other volunteers. The program helped to set me up with a project that related to my professional work and background, with I appreciated. I would definitely recommend UBELONG and already have to other colleagues and fellow students who desire a volunteer abroad experience.

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  • Simon Kronenberg
    Age: 19-24
    Male
    Deutschland
    Other
    Great organization, great experience
    09/03/2014

    UBELONG enables volunteers to engage in meaningful projects in areas such as Human Rights, Microfinance and NGO work in countries all over the world. UBELONG has a well deserved reputation of attracting extremely talented young people from all over the world. It offers great service with a mentor assigned to you that is always available. All at considerably lower prices compared to others organizations which it makes it seem as if money is used with purpose.

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Alumni Interviews

  • Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with UBELONG in Cambodia?

    Lacey and the kids in their classroom.
    Lacey and the kids in their classroom.

    Lacey: My senior year of high school I traveled to Guatemala and volunteered there, but I was there for only one week and did a lot of physical work. I wanted a volunteer experience where I could communicate and be more involved with the culture and people.

    I wanted to be able to have my own free time to explore and learn as well. UBELONG offered just that. They offered so many places to travel to, so many projects to choose from, and you got to choose your length of stay, all very important factors. The application process was easy to understand and fast as well. Ubelong had everything I wanted and was the perfect fit for my first time traveling across the world by myself.

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Lacey: The project I picked was caring for orphans. So Monday through Friday I woke up at about 6:00am, showered and got ready, then had breakfast with many of the other volunteers, at about 7:00am I left with my volunteer partner and roommate Sofia. It took about 30 minutes to get to the volunteer site. They we would arrive and pile into the school van and make our rounds to go pick up most of the children.

    Two of the sweetest boys popping bubbles at play time.
    Two of the sweetest boys popping bubbles at play time.

    We got back with the children and started off the day with some songs and dances. After we would go to our assigned classroom and give the children showers, change their clothes (so we could wash theirs) and brush their teeth. Next would be the first lesson of the day in Khmer which would be about 45 minutes, then snack time with the kids, after a lesson in english and then it would be lunch.

    After would be the kids' nap time. We would put them down, then it would be our lunch and break time. Most of the volunteers would just go to a cafe next door and eat and talk with each other. After we would give the kids showers again and change them back into their own clothes, have one more lesson, snack and end the day with play time. We would get back to the volunteer home at 4-430 and then have the rest of the night free. Sometimes I would go walk the city, eat out, or hang by the riverfront, other nights I would just stay in and read on the patio of the volunteer home.

    Was it difficult to navigate around language barriers?

    Lacey: In some certain cases, it could be a little challenging, but I expected that. Ubelong had an orientation for us volunteers and covered this category. They provided us with a sheet of common Khmer words and phrases and went over each of them with us. We practiced saying them and writing them as well.

    Ubelong workers also went over some strategies we could use if we didn't remember or have our sheet with us. The first couple of days were difficult but after that you came to know the basic commonly-used terms. Plus there were a lot of people who speak English. The one thing that never changed was that the children were learning English, so it was really hard to communicate with them on a personal level. But other then that it got easier as the days went on.

    What made this volunteer abroad experience unique and special?

    Lacey teaching English to the class.
    Lacey teaching English to the class.

    Lacey: Well, at 19 years old and traveling for a month overseas it was already inherently quite special. But I never realized all the things I would get out of this trip. I created two amazing relationships with two of the women I met there. One of them I am actually visiting in Portugal next year.

    I have benefited from getting to experience travel as a tourist and as a volunteer. I got to travel around the country and see what I wanted but also to help someone in need. I gained so much while giving. I am so grateful for the things I have and for what my country offers me. I don't waste my time or money for that matter. I am constantly reminding my friends and family how much they mean to me as well.

    The Cambodians really impacted me by how happy they were every single day and how close they were as families. I took that home with me. I also had the opportunity to become close with one of the four year old girls in my class, Slepat. So my very last day I bought us matching friendship bracelets and wear mine everyday. This way I am constantly reminded oh how special our bond was.

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Lacey: This experience has impacted my future personally by becoming a part of my desire to continue traveling. I have already planned my next two trips within the next 8 months. You can learn so much from traveling, being in a whole new world, a different culture, with so many people who have so many different life stories and wisdom.

    You can get educated by the people living there, by the volunteers, by the children, by everyone you come in contact with. I personally gained a whole new outlook on how I want to live my life and how I view others living theirs. This experience helped my professionally because my job offers the opportunity to work internationally and this volunteer experience gave me a chance to see how I would like that and gave me a chance to stand out from the others.

  • Day in the Life of Leonor Arrigunaga - Volunteer in Cambodia

    Morning: My morning began watching the sunrise from my room on the 4th floor of Tattoo Guesthouse. I had early breakfast along with other volunteers who had their schedule similar to mine, then go by bike to my work which was only 15 min away. I taught English to three different grades from 8 in the morning to 11 am at a school for vulnerable children.

    Afternoon: Generally there are two class times, morning and afternoon, so at 11 am when the morning classes finished I went back to the Guest House to have lunch. There I met some volunteers who had food break also. I used part of my lunch break to plan the following classes with my co-worker and have everything ready on time. Around 3 pm I would take my bike and head to the Orphanage for children with HIV. I helped them with their English homework and then we would spend the time playing and doing crafts.

    Leonor with children at the school
    Leonor with children at the school

    Evening: At night you could do everything. From socializing with the other volunteers, have dinner and watch movies in the guest house, go to the stadium to exercise with other local people, or try out different places and restaurants. Phnom Penh is full of activities, so it's never boring!

    Highlights: It was amazing! What most concerned me was the language barrier, but after a while I decided to stop worrying and start enjoying it, so that is how I found out a smile says it all, and it can take you everywhere!

    With all of the daily life challenges, satisfactions and emotions, I can honestly say I enjoyed every second in the school and in the orphanage, and I can't wait to go back to repeat that experience!

    Never... never thought of traveling alone to Asia, so far away from home, Mexico. At first you have all kinds of feelings and doubts and I kept wondering if what I was doing was the right thing to do or just a temporary madness. I can't be more pleased to have taken this decision and have taken the road to Cambodia. All these fears and insecurities that we all have at first, disappear once you get to know the people and when you get into the culture. Best time of my life !

  • Why did you decide to volunteer with UBELONG in Cambodia?

    Jake: I decided to go abroad with UBELONG to do something productive with my first winter break at the University of Wisconsin. I knew that I wanted to make something useful of the almost month-long break and a trip UBELONG seemed to be the best way to do that.

    It was not only my desires which led me to decide on going with UBELONG, though. The leaders of the organization, Raul and Cedric, were very accommodating with all my questions and I knew that if the leaders of an organization would go the extra mile to make sure I was happy with and ready for Cambodia, that UBELONG was a great organization to be a part of. I could not be happier with the outcome and I hope to go back to Cambodia as soon as possible!

    Jake and fellow volunteers visiting the Cambodian National Monument
    Jake and fellow volunteers visiting the Cambodian National Monument

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Jake: The project I was involved in was "teaching english" (as defined on the UBELONG website). Each day, I taught six, one to two hour classes at a local school in the capital city - Phnom Penh. My day started around 7am with a breakfast along with all the other volunteers who were staying at the guest house. Then, I left the guest house at around 7:40am to walk to the school I taught at. Sometimes I would take a Tuk-Tuk instead (the Cambodian version of a taxi). My classes went from 8am until 12pm, when everyone had a two hour break for lunch. Typically, I would walk back to the guest house and eat lunch and then resume with the classes at 2pm. Then classes went for two more hours and we all had a break for dinner at 5pm. My last two classes went from 6pm until 7:30pm, upon which I would walk back to the guest house.

    By this time, most of the other volunteers were back from their assorted orphanages and schools. We would hang out around the guest house or go out on the town and explore the great night life that Phnom Penh has to offer. We also had the weekends off which was nice to go explore the nation. Be sure to go to Angkor Wat!

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Jake: This experience fortified my goals in life. I had not expected to love another place so quickly or so much. I had been discerning if I wanted to work in development and had taken this opportunity partially to explore that possibility. After going to Cambodia, I am sure that I want to do something which gives support to developing nations. How exactly that will pan out, I do not know, but I could not be so certain of the joy I receive from giving in places like Phnom Penh if I had not taken this great opportunity.

    It also helped me to grow as an individual. I learned how I react to situations in which I am completely on my own; having gone to Phnom Penh by myself. The biggest of the struggles was tackling the language barriers and understanding the cultural differences in society and most of all in the classroom. This was not too difficult though because the local NGO had a two-day training about Cambodia and the Khmer people. With it, and the support of the other volunteers, I found creative ways to connect with my students and learn just as much from them as they did from me.

    I very firmly believe that this could not have been accomplished in many other places in the world, and I highly suggest that anyone with even the slightest desire to go jumps right in. The Khmer people are amazing, the NGO was fantastic, and the experience was unforgettable.

  • Why did you decide to volunteer with UBELONG in Cambodia?

    Stephen: I had always considered travelling to Asia, because it seems so far removed from everyday life in the West. As I was looking into it, I discovered UBELONG and decided to do something worthwhile instead of just travelling as a tourist. UBELONG offered an affordable way of volunteering and seemed passionate about the idea of volunteering abroad. I also saw that with my legal background, their human rights volunteer project was a perfect fit.

    Explore Cambodia while volunteering with UBELONG
    Explore Cambodia while volunteering with UBELONG

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Stephen: I volunteered at an NGO called Legal Aid of Cambodia and was placed mainly in the Land Law Project, which helps teach indigent communities about their land rights, as well as represents them in land disputes. I was working in the office from 8am to 5pm every weekday, where I helped to proofread and correct the language in reports to donors, researched new donors, and created concept notes to explain the programme to them. I was also involved in creating presentations for the LAC Directors to give, as well as helping with the other projects, such as the Khmer Rouge Tribunal and Child Justice programmes. I was also able to visit the Khmer Rouge Tribunal on a number of occasions and see the importance of my work.

    How has this experience impacted your future?

    Stephen: Volunteering in Cambodia was truly one of the best experiences of my life. I was able to make a real difference to the lives of people out there and I have returned to the UK feeling elated that I have helped, but also somewhat sad that it was over. It has helped me to put my own life into perspective and I am now trying to pursue a career where I can continue to make a difference.

  • Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with UBELONG in Cambodia?

    Erin: I knew I wanted to travel and volunteer, but I didn't know what country or what program, so I did a lot of online research. I looked into many different volunteer programs in various countries, but all of my searching stopped when I found UBELONG. I was planning on taking this trip by myself, not with a group of friends, so I wanted to find an organization that wouldn't just take my money and drop me off somewhere. Through UBELONG's Facebook page, I was able to contact alumni volunteers and ask more detailed questions about their experiences. I found another female volunteer who went to Cambodia by herself through UBELONG, and she eased all of my nerves. That night I sent my application to UBELONG.

    UBELONG'S website was very helpful in the fact that each project was described in detail, with location, job responsibilities, timeline, and prices. Along with the flexibility of when you can start your program, UBELONG was the most affordable for that length of stay - which included transportation from the airport upon my arrival, and room and board. After being accepted into the program, I realized that UBELONG was more than just a volunteer program, it was a family. I was assigned a mentor as soon as I joined. He answered all of my questions in detail and he even took the time to hold a Skype session with me to go over the final details before I left.

    UBELONG volunteer Erin worked at an orphanage in Cambodia
    UBELONG volunteer Erin worked at an orphanage in Cambodia

    Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

    Erin: I stayed at a volunteer house in Phnom Penh with about 20 other volunteers, who were volunteering at different orphanages and NGOs in or near the city. Each morning, I would wake up early with the other volunteers, eat breakfast, which was prepared by workers of the house, and head to my orphanage which was about 30 minutes away. I asked to be placed in an orphanage outside of the city, and that is exactly what I got.

    I worked at the orphanage Monday through Friday from about 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. In the morning I played with the younger children, entertaining them with arts and crafts or reading books with them. I ate lunch at the orphanage every day with the children and then taught English in the afternoon to the older children.

    All of the volunteers had weekends off from volunteering, and that was when most of us would go sightseeing and spend time getting to know each other. I am still in contact with some of the volunteers that I met while I volunteered.

    Erin volunteered and bonded with the children at the orphanage in Cambodia
    Erin volunteered and bonded with the children at the orphanage in Cambodia

    How has this experience helped you grow personally and professionally?

    Erin: This trip changed my life. I have always loved to travel, but this trip gave me the opportunity to travel, help the less fortunate, see the country through the citizen's eyes, not a tourist, and grow personally all at the same time. Soon after I arrived, I realized how much I have taken for granted in my life. The children who I cared for were so warm and affectionate, from the first moment that I met them. They have so little, sometimes wearing the same clothes for a week, but they were happy that I was there spending time with them. They were truly a family at the orphanage and supported each other every day.

    I was a single female traveling by myself to a developing country that was still in the process of rebuilding. It was somewhat intimidating and a little scary, but it was also exciting. I definitely became a stronger, more confident woman on this trip. Knowing that I was able to travel on my own to a country that I knew very little about has created a strong confidence in me. I broke through language and cultural barriers, and was able to develop long lasting friendships with people from all over the world who I know I will stay in contact with.

    Professionally, I work full-time at a very fast-paced job. This experience has put things into perspective for me, teaching me not to "sweat the small stuff." The little things are just that - the little things, and small irritations are just small irritations. In the end, they don't mean a whole lot when you think about these kids and what they have gone through. It is because of this trip, my new found confidence in traveling alone and my experience with UBELONG that I have made a vow to myself to volunteer abroad every few years.

About the provider

UBELONG is the most affordable, professional and supportive international volunteering organization in the world.

Volunteer abroad in Africa, Asia and Latin America from 1 week to 6 months.

WHAT can you do?

For one week to six months, live in a community and volunteer on a community or environmental project.

WHERE can you go?
Asia: India, Cambodia, Vietnam and Laos
Latin America: Mexico, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru
Africa: Ghana, Morocco

WHEN can you go?
Projects run year-round and you can join from one week to six months.

HOW much do you pay?
Costs start as low as US$350 for a 1 week placement.

Among other world-class services, you work 1 on 1 with a UBELONG Mentor and receive a Preparation Booklet, in-country orientation, housing, meals, project supervision and 24/7 support.