Just a girl with a passion for travel and adventure
Why did you choose this program?
I chose this program because I've always been drawn to South Africa and as soon as I had found this program I knew it would be very safe and a great way to travel around while meeting other volunteers and doing meaningful work.
What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?
The program assisted me with almost everything. The only thing I organized myself was the flights to get there. They had accommodation already set up, plus an orientation so it was super easy to meet other volunteers and make friends fast.
They also had transportation from the airport to placement which I think is very important because when you land in a foreign country you don't know what to expect. I found it very safe and loving like I was part of one big family from day one, like it was a home away from home.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
Go at least one month to get the full experience, but I would go even longer! I went for five weeks and I wish I had gone for at least another month. There is so much for you to do and time goes by way to fast.
I would also suggest going by yourself. I went with a friend which was awesome but next time I would like to try by myself because meeting other people is so easy and you get to push yourself outside of your comfort zone and I think that's what traveling is really about -- trying new things, meeting new people, adventuring.
Also, be a 'yes man'. I said yes to almost everything (unless it was unsafe), trust me you'll have a blast. I ended up going to an African rugby game, bungee jumping and even skydiving because I just DID IT. It's awesome to do stuff with the locals too so you really feel involved and can see first-hand the different type of lifestyles.
What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?
An average day consists of waking up at 6:30 am, sneaking around in the dark, trying not to wake up the volunteers in other programs while eating breakfast, and heading out for your day.
When I was in childcare we finished around noon, and when I was in the surf program it started at 10 am and ended around 6 pm. You get a lunch break and tons of free time, whether it be that night going to a market or waiting for the weekend and planning excursions.
Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?
My biggest fear was being lonely when I was down there and I can tell you right now that if you're an open-minded individual you will not have to worry at all. I am a very shy person and still it was so easy to make friends down there, and in the end, I did not want to leave all of the amazing people I had met because it was like we were one big family.
Is there anything that you would have done differently?
I would have stayed for longer and would have done more things will the local people rather than always doing excursions. I would wake up at 5 am and go hiking through the mountains for seven hours with the local guides, that is the kind of stuff you will remember most.