Seven months of HOOP!

All good things must end eventually, and we’re sad this week to be
saying goodbye to one of our long-term volunteers. After seven months with HOOP, Catherine
is heading back to the UK. But before we let her go, we thought we’d ask her
some questions for our blog:

What did
you do before you came to HOOP?

I was finishing my second year at university. I’m studying a degree in International
Development at the University of Portsmouth, and volunteering can be taken as a
year abroad to get experience. So in September I’ll go back to university for a
year and graduate!

Why did
you decide to volunteer at HOOP?

I liked the idea of what HOOP was about and the idea of coming to Peru
for half a year sounded really exciting.

What have
you been doing at HOOP?

I first started at HOOP in September 2014 as a volunteer English teacher
in Monkey class. Then In January I started working in the office as an intern,
which has included editing videos, managing our social media and newsletters
and building relationships with universities so more people like me can come
and do the same thing!

Which do
you prefer?

They are both very different and doing part of my placement in the
classroom and part in the communications team has given me the best of both
worlds. If I had to pick, I think it’d be being a teacher as everyday was
completely different!

So would
you say your experience with HOOP has helped with your university course and
what have you learned along the way?

Yes, I have a better understanding of how an NGO is run and I have seen
all the different sides to the charity. I studied charities at university so
being able to see the organisation in real life has helped a lot.

What have
you enjoyed the most about your time at HOOP?

Getting to know the children in my Monkey class and meeting all of the
other volunteers.

What was
the worst bit and did you face any difficulties while volunteering?

Well, it would have to be falling of a mountain bike on the slopes of
Chachani, a nearby volcano, and breaking my collar bone! I had to have surgery…which
isn’t nice when you’re so far from home, but I had support from HOOP and the
other volunteers. But don’t worry I don’t think this has ever happened to
anyone else at HOOP!

Did you
ever miss home at all and what do you miss the most about the UK?

Not really minus a little over the Christmas period, as I was having
such a good experience in Peru…The thing I miss most about the UK except my
family and friends has to be the food!

So would
you recommend volunteering with a small NGO abroad?

Yes, even as someone who had never volunteered abroad or even been out
of Europe, I think it was a great experience. I feel like I have managed to
experience all aspects of how a charity is run which is an important aspect of
my university course. Also everyone I met during my seven months here has been
friendly and welcoming, making for a great experience and if I could, I’d stay
a few more months!

Written by Catherine O’Gorman

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