I decided to spend my gap year in Cape Town with Gap Year South Africa because after I had looked into the program I realised that the way of life in Muizenburg (where the surfing program is based) suited me perfectly, one I had seen what GYSA where all about I didn’t even consider any other programs. The volunteer work seemed to really make a difference to the people in the communities GYSA work in. The surfing looked incredible, the opportunity to learn from a world champion surfer at one one of the best beach breaks in the world was far to good to pass up.
What do you wish someone had told you before you went abroad?
Don’t expect everything to go to plan. At some point something is going to go wrong, no matter how prepared you are, something will go wrong. Don’t let it get to you, the best thing you can do is roll with it. It might be a problem with your visa or it might be an injury, but the thing to remember is that the people around you are there to help.
I had more than my share of incidents and with all the fantastic people around Gap Year South Africa, I now look back at those moments as some of the most memorable times I had during my time abroad. So what do I wish I had been told? When things go wrong, thats when you have real adventures.
What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
Go. When ever I hear someone say they are thinking about going away travelling or volunteering the first bit of advice I give them is go. Every experience is going to be different but they all start with the same decision.
After that, I let them know that choosing the right place and activity is really important. There is no point going during ski season if you hate being cold, or going to the jungle if you hate bugs. Also, talk to the organisers about any problems you have with the project your thinking about doing, they are normally very flexible. But when you find the right project and you know that you're going to have the time of your life, enjoy it.
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
Its really difficult to say, there are so many. From walking with elephants to surfing with whales every second was incredible. But the day that stands out in my mind was on a road trip along the coast. We ate breakfast at a local market, then spent the morning bungee jumping on the highest bridge bungee in the world.
That afternoon we led elephants by hand through the African bush, and played with orphan lion cubs before spending the night at a hostel on a beach where we had a braai and walked along a local beach where the sand lit up as you stood on it because of the plankton. That day was incredible.