Alumni Spotlight: Denisse Alfaro

Volunteer in Ecuador with UBELONG

Why did you decide to volunteer with UBELONG in Ecuador?

Denisse: I learned about UBELONG from a classmate at Johns Hopkins-SAIS. I researched the organization online, attended a happy hour and was very much pleased with the detailed information provided including program costs. I chose Quito, Ecuador as my destination because of the programs offered and because of its location in the Andes.

Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.

Denisse: I would spend the first half of the day helping the English teacher at a local school and in the afternoon, I would go to Santa Isabel, a small town in the outskirts of Quito and assist the local teacher in an after-school program. The schedule was flexible. However, people depended on your help and support. You're also looked up by the children.

What made this experience unique and special?

Denisse: The whole experience was unique and special. I met really great local people and I made really good friends with other volunteers. Volunteering in Quito was very fulfilling. I was very happy being there.

How has this experience impacted your future?

Denisse: At a personal level, volunteering is a very enriching experience. Volunteering in a developing country is definitely a reality check. Often, as human beings, we get so immersed in our daily lives and assume that the world is only made up by people in our surroundings and forget of those who encounter poverty. At a professional level, it helped me decide to further pursue my studies in Economic Development. I was so pleased with the volunteering experience that the following year I decided to do it again in a different country.