Alumni Spotlight: Emily Dinsmore

Studied Events Management and Tourism at the University of Chester. She absolutely loves adventure.

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Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program as part of my studies during my second year at university. I could either go on work placement somewhere in the UK or I could pick to study abroad for my module. I went with the obvious choice and decided to study abroad.

You could pick from a variety of programs in a variety of countries, and the Edge of Africa program stood out. It had a mixture of adventure and helping others, and I even got to learn more about what I was studying and put it into practice in a completely new and different environment.

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

As I was going through the university, I had sessions to discuss things – which has a lot to do with the country, the program and the jabs, visas, etc. Edge of Africa has been absolutely great when I needed answers to any questions I had that weren't covered in my uni sessions, or if I just wanted more information. They always got back to you quickly and efficiently.

I did organize by myself everything in the UK to South Africa such as flights, etc. but the help was there if and when I needed it. As soon as I got to South Africa, the team were there waiting for all of us volunteers at the airport. I didn't really have to worry about anything whilst I was there.

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

One piece of advice I would give is on clothing. Make sure you have something that goes below the knee for when you are working within the communities; it's a sign or respect. I took long shorts, and we get a t-shirt to work in so you don't have to worry about the top half of your body.

Also, if you love bournville, there is a mint version sold in the supermarkets, and OMG it's absolutely delicious! I can't seem to find it anywhere else so enjoy it whilst you're there!

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

It depends on which program you choose to do with Edge of Africa. From Monday to Thursday, you would go to where your placement is. If you are in a school, then that's where you would go for a few hours before coming back to the house for dinner. You have about an hour for dinner which is provided by Edge of Africa. Then you go back out to do two more hours of volunteering which is usually completely different to what you have done in the morning. You have complete free time in the evenings and weekends. Weekends are usually when excursions would be done.

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

I was worried about sharing a room with a lot of girls for five weeks and not having personal space even for just a small amount of time. However, I told myself that I wouldn’t have to do it forever and that I could do it. I'm so glad I did because it turned out to be such an amazing experience, and I absolutely loved sharing a room with so many wonderful people!

What is the food like?

I get this question quite a lot when people ask me about my time in Knysna, and the first thing I say is that it’s amazing! A lot of traditional food is a little stodgy and might not even be to your taste, but I would definitely recommend trying it! It is so appetizing and delicious; I don't think there was one thing I didn't fully enjoy. They also eat the same kind of food we do in the UK, so if you have special dietary requirements or anything, you don't have to worry too much.