Alumni Spotlight: Matthew Wilkinson

Why did you choose this program?

I chose Warriors as I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life. I used to school in Limpopo at Stanford Lake College, so I already had a good idea about the area. I am also in love with the outdoors, so when I read about what Warriors does and teaches, I could not resist and signed up immediately.

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

Warriors does all the planning for each adventure, but as a warrior, you don't know what that adventure is and will only find out the day before. They do this to keep people always alert and ready for anything; as a warrior, you have to help with the preparation towards trips and activities such as packing the bus or getting the required equipment needed for the trip.

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

As a student that has never been to South Africa, make sure you come prepared for our hot days and warm nights, but also for the thundershowers and hail storms that can catch many international students by surprise, but also brings great joy by bringing new weather experiences and beautiful African sunny skies.

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

An average day at Warriors is filled with adventure and suspense as you never know what you are going to do next.

Starting bright and early with morning exercise to get the blood flowing, then moving on to the activity for the day or leaving for your next adventure. A typical week could be filled with all different adventures and learning days; you'll just have to come see for yourself!

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 that I wasn't going to be prepared for Warriors.

It was a lot of new experiences, new people, as well as a new environment that I was going into, and this scared me, but what helped me was the lists that warriors provides of what you will need as well as the great support from the facilitators, as you are able to WhatsApp and call them with any problems or questions you might have.

What would you have done differently?

Something I would do differently is to try and involve myself more as, at the start of the year, I was very shy and sort of isolated myself, as I didn't feel safe yet.

This was a mistake.

Warriors brought me out of my shell and really made me feel safe in my own skin.