• South Africa
    • Port Elizabeth
26 - 52 weeks

Program Details

Academic Year Fall Spring Winter Year Round
Host Family
Primary Language
Age Max


Starting Price
Price Details
Extensive pre-departure preparation
Food and lodging in your host country
Airport transfers
Emergency medical insurance
In-country orientation upon arrival and ongoing support and supervision throughout your Quest
Language training
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Meals Transportation Travel Insurance
Jan 09, 2023
Mar 06, 2013
5 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

Imagine yourself in this complex, yet warm and welcoming country known for its historic break from the abuses of apartheid, and for its spectacular landscape of coastline, diverse wildlife and dynamic urban centers. Today, South Africa's strong economy, well-developed infrastructure and modern amenities speak to a nation actively working to recover and grow.

On a United Planet gap year Quest in South Africa, you can be in country for 6 or 12 months engaging an an experience that will be a true learning exchange. Hosted by Volunteer Centre, the South African partner organization of ICYE, United Planet's in country partner, you will play an important role supporting educational initiatives, either volunteering as a sports coach with at-risk youth, or working with young orphaned children. A gap year quest to South Africa is an experience of a lifetime!

This program is currently not being promoted on Go Overseas by its provider. Check with United Planet for the most up-to-date information regarding the status of this program.

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United Planet Service Scholarships

Several scholarships are available for those looking to volunteer for a short or long-term period abroad with the non-profit organization United Planet, who work with communities in over 35 countries around the world.

$250 - $5,000

Program Reviews

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No, I don't recommend this program

United Planet took advantage of me financially and refused to assist me in times of need

I sent United Planet $9680 dollars for a full year to volunteer abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. They put me in a muslim home in a muslim neighborhood where nobody was even remotely the same age as me (26). It was very difficult to experience all the cultural immersion I was hoping for, because my host family basically had no concerns for me whatsoever, and I was really just a paycheck to them each month (later I realized it was about $200 per month). I asked my program rep to move so I could better my experience, but before I could even state my case she was already cutting me off in mid sentence and wouldnt let me even finish my case. Even the lady who was my immediate supervisor
was shocked at how this lady treated me. I then emailed United Planet my concerns, and presented my case to maximize my experience in South Africa. I waited for weeks with no reply. I then resent the email and waited, they eventually got back to me in a short email and said that I was to stay in the Muslim household. I told them that according to their website the majority of my $9680 was allocated to housing, they informed me that in my case that is not correct, and I later figured out that they sent the organization in South Africa about $4000 for my whole year, and they pocketed the rest. Once I sent them the money and left they basically cut off contact completely. As far as the pre departure training they offer, it is just a bunch of nonsense and not helpful. As far as the insurance, it is completely useless as my friend came over on United Planet program and got into a motorcycle accident, and the insurance didn't do anything he was stuck in a givernment hospital in South Africa, given horrible treatment, and the contat organization didn't even help him in any way with his accident or insurance. I was fortunate enough to take out a 1 million dollar insurance policy from a company called Four Corners, and it provided me with private hospital stay in necessary, helicopter airlifts, and the best doctors in South Africa, and the best part is it only cost $55 a month. United Planet made it sound like I was getting great care and help from them, when in reality they just wanted my money. Several of my friends came over as indepedants and saved lots of money, had a great time, and even stayed longer.

Cape Town as a city is beautiful, the people are great, the nightlife incredible, and the traveling in South Africa is unbelievable. As a matter of fact, I have been here for 2 years now and love it, but I really was taken advantage of by United Planet and I wouldn't recommend them to anyone.

31 people found this review helpful.
Response from United Planet

Thank you for your review. We understand that not everything will go as planned or as desired while volunteering abroad, as is true in all aspects of life. We here at United Planet believe that our volunteers' welfare and safety are of utmost importance. We work closely with our staff, partners and volunteers to respond to all volunteer needs and make adjustments to the programs whenever possible, keeping the host communities’ needs and wishes in mind.

Traveling on one’s own to volunteer abroad is always an option. The benefits of going with an established program are not always evident to volunteers, but among other things include:
• Having the host family and host organization vetted and trained.
• Being part of an international network that is connected for the volunteer’s safety 24/7.
• Having a local organization continually assess local risk and make choices about the program to minimize risk and have a plan in responding should the need arise.
• Receiving extensive pre-departure support and training.
• Being connected to an international network upon returning home with access to readjustment resources.
• Training and support for staff and partners.

Questions & Answers