Alumni Spotlight: Pauline Maes


Pauline is a Linguistics student from Belgium who took a gap year from her studies to volunteer for Comamos Juntos.

Why did you pick this program?

I had been looking for a volunteer program for quite a long time when I finally came across Comamos Juntos. I picked it because their mission and vision really spoke to me and my interests. I was really happy to know that I had been accepted as an intern because to me, Comamos Juntos cause was my top pick for a program.

What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?

Just go for it! I've been away from home several times for a few months and I have always enjoyed it so much! Volunteering is a great opportunity to go abroad because you will learn and grow so much.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

Don't be afraid of expressing any doubts, ideas, criticisms you have. Your thoughts will always be listened to and taken into account. There is no real hierarchy here and everyone has the right to speak up! Be sure to come packed with initiative as well.

What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?

The amazing times we had at the food collections are my favorite memories. Sometimes, we would get a little bit demotivated seeing that we didn't collect enough food, but then vendors would just bring us more beautiful veggies and fruits out of their own initiative. Through this, we would always end up with a truck full of food to distribute.

What did you learn from this experience?

I learned things that I could not have learned from academic sources or university. Being a part of a growing social initiative and being able to see from the inside how it works was really interesting. I took care of social media and fundraising, which is mostly unrelated to my studies, and I'm so glad to have been able to learn about this.