Alumni Spotlight: Rebekah Tomlinson

Rebekah is a kindergarten teacher that loves to teach and cannot wait to travel more to teach abroad.

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Why did you choose this program?

I chose African Impact after researching many nonprofits as I really wanted to teach in Africa during my summer break. African Impact has the greatest reviews, from those who have volunteered with them and they are very true! I watched every video and reached out to them. They immediately were in contact with me and knew that I wanted to teach little ones English. They made me feel at home and at ease before heading to Tanzania. They made it possible experience Africa in all the beauty that it is.

What did your program provider assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I contacted African Impact directly and they were wonderful throughout the entire process! They answered any and every question, helped me to decide on the best project for me and the impact I wanted to make, and they helped to organize other activities while in Tanzania. While there we were able to decide from local tours by 6 Rafiki, diner with the Wakipa Women, the local hot springs, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, going on safari, and so much more!

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

I think the best advice would be to take it all in, pictures are great but take away from the moment. Looking at the world through a camera lens or phone does not do Africa justice. It is truly an amazing place and living and breathing it makes it even better! I would also recommend doing every activity that interests you and not waiting because before you know it, you’re heading home.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Monday through Thursday’s we went on our projects. I volunteered on the Adult Intermediate English Class, then Shiner’s Nursery School, and in the afternoons, I went to the Wazee or Langoni Old People’s Home. Monday afternoons, we had Kiswahili lessons, which were incredibly helpful! On Friday’s, we planned lessons for the next week and went to one project. Then the weekends were ours.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

It may seem silly, but biggest fear was getting sick; however, I read my departure packet provided by African Impact. Then I was able to make sure to get all appropriate vaccines and medicines before traveling abroad, as it was my first time traveling so far. African Impact shared all the best information to leave your mind at ease. Of course, they took it one step better and the food provided was great, so there wasn’t anything to worry about!

Will there be people my age?

Of course! There were many volunteers across generations and nations. It was lovely to meet and make friends from all over.

Anything you'd like us to know?

This was a life-changing experience that I think about everyday. I was able to go for my thirtieth birthday and I want to go back so badly, but the flights are so expensive, so hope one day to return.