My experience with GYSA and the Hillsong Program was amazing! I spent 3 months in South Africa and it was honestly the best time in my life so far! I loved staying at the cute little house in Fish Hoek with Jessica, who is one of the most amazing people you'll ever meet! She made me feel welcome and comfortable from the first moment on. The house is a colourful mix of styles and really has its own personality. Staying there taught me how to be more independent and I learnt a lot of life skills. I really loved going on adventures with the volunteer group and learning how to surf. I think it's a great idea to stay with a local as you get a complete other insight to the country and the culture. You'll get to see some secret spots that normal tourists would not know about. It can also be quite challenging staying with people that are very different from yourself but I think it will only make you stronger and you can learn a lot from them.
Volunteering with the Hillsong Africa Foundation (HAF) taught me a lot. I grew so much in my character and also my faith that I can say I'm a different person now! Going out into the communities and getting the chance to make a difference in the peoples lives really is a great experience. The people I got to work with quickly became my family and I loved every single moment of serving on their side.
All in all I can say that I would totally recommend volunteering with HAF and staying with GYSA as it gives you an overall experience of South Africa. You don't have to worry about food, transport and accomodation; you get to see a lot and make new friends, you see life in the communities and get to help the people and you become part of a great church with a vision to build the Nation.
What would you improve about this program?
The volunteer house is quite far from church. Long rides every morning and evening and being stuck in traffic are normal. But the driver Leanard makes it bearable and quite fun as he always has a story to tell. For me it was just part of the experience.
As you will share a room with other volunteers you need to know that there is not a lot of privacy and that the rooms can get quite messy.