Alumni Spotlight: Josh Shaw


Josh is a 17 year old sixth form student in the UK. He enjoys photography and running, and is looking to go to university to study wildlife conservation.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because I have always wanted to travel around the world and I have an interest in photography. This was a great way to do both! It was also a great way for me to meet new people. This was massively beneficial to me as I now have friends from many different countries, of whom I am in regular contact with.

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

They assisted with most of the process of getting out to South Africa. I had to organize flights myself, but there was someone in the airport waiting for me to direct me. Everything on the program was provided for, such as accommodation, food (for nearly everyday) and transport. There were a few days we had days out which we had to pay for our lunch; however, it is very cheap.

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

I would try and prepare early, getting the correct clothes, injections, bags etc. This helps there to not be a mad rush getting closer to the leaving date. I would also recommend trying to connect with other people on the trip as soon as you meet them as I did because this helps the first few days to not be awkward.

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

On the two weeks that I was there, on the first few days, it started off with a short lecture so that we could understand what we were going out to see. This was actually really interesting! Then in the late morning or afternoon we would go out on a drive to see all the wildlife we could. On some days we would get up at four or five in the morning to see the sunrise and then drive around the park. And then we would do another drive in the afternoon/evening. There were also many days out to visit places like Kruger National Park or the mountains there.

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 actually just getting to South Africa and meeting everyone for the first time. It turned out I didn't need to overcome this fear because, as soon as I was on my way, it was very simple. When I first arrived, everyone was so welcoming and we all got along straight away, so this fear went away immediately as well.

What was my memorable moment from the program?

My most memorable moment from the program cannot be narrowed down much as it was all amazing. It would probably have to be either watching the incredible sunrise from a high rock as it rose above the misty distant mountains or walking into the bush and watching a group of cheetahs rest only 10m away from us.