Gap Year South Africa

Program Reviews

Default avatar
Nick
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I have nothing but nice things to say about this organisation! The program is very well managed by Jess and the constant access to transportation makes getting around very safe and easy. The house is well catered and has allowed me to meet lots of new wonderful people that I definitely want to see again and see lots of beautiful scenery that I can't get at home. I had slight concerns about safety before coming out to South Africa but those fears were put to rest immediately and I found out the country is perfectly safe providing you are street smart ie don't go out on your own very late at night. Can't recommend enough to anyone looking to visit South Africa.

Default avatar
Aline
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

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.
Default avatar
Tori
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program
Program:
Surfing Program

Great program to learn independence and cultivate life long relationships. Over communication is key with the director and other leaders. Overall it was an incredible experience. I would recommend a minimum of a two month stay for the surfing program, five weeks was too short for me personally, I was just beginning to develop a set of surfing skills and beginning to improve. I would advise to stick with one or two surf coaches when possible as they understand where you are at consistently.

What would you improve about this program?
More communication. More textbook surfing information would be helpful, i.e. Tides and wind direction info and history of surfing and board distinctions.
Default avatar
Sandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

If you have a heart for serving and helping others, Gap Year South Africa is your next destination.
I will keep it short and to the point. My decision to be part of the program has been one that I would regret if I hadn't taken it. It is worth every minute you spend away from your family and loved ones. In the Gap house you will have a new family that has one common purpose, which is to draw a smile on the peoples' faces, to work hard to make them better persons for the future. In your Gap journey along with your service, you will also get to know and see a lot about the country and their culture. Its a lot of fun and you will make many precious memories to recall when you get older. Last but not least, I cannot finish my review without speaking about the amazing host 'Jessica Gould'.. She has a heart of gold, she loves what she does and she is the most supportive, fun, crazy, outgoing, passionate, loving person that you can meet (love you Jess :)).
If you are considering the program, don't hesitate because its worth it!

Default avatar
Mayo
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

So enjoyable. Certainly a milestone in my life. Met amazing people both in the GYSA accommodation and in the Hillsong programme. Amazing staff - thank you Josh, Len for ensuring the program ran smoothly everyday. And a special thanks to Jess for going out of her way to ensure we had fun weekends!! On some weekends/weekday evenings, we had lovely picnics which gave everyone a chance to bond after a day full of activities. Other times we would go hiking (and subsequently indulge in delicious pizza). I particularly enjoyed our trip to Cape Verde.. Overall, it's difficult not to enjoy Cape Town -especially if you are the able hands of GYSA!

Default avatar
Kevin
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program
Program:
Surfing Program

Gap Year South Africa was the first time I ever traveled on my own and was an amazing experience. The program is set up so you feel comfortable and safe at all times. The owner is amazing and always there for you. As well, South Africa is a absolutely beautiful country. The simple daily train ride from Fish Hoek to Muzinberg was something I would look forward to everyday as it ran along the ocean offering a beautiful view. As well GYSA is the reason I fell in love with surfing. Since leaving I have traveled to Central America for a surf trip as well as moved to southern California. GYSA gave me the confidence to continue to travel and explore other cultures. GYSA was the best choice I could of made and will be something I remember for the rest of my life.

What would you improve about this program?
It was a little pricey but still absolutely worth it.
Default avatar
Rebecca
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Going to SA with GYSA was a massive step outside of my comfort zone but I really felt God calling me there. I decided that for my Gap Year I would go for 3 months as I'd never really been away from home for that long before. The team at HAF were so awesome! They really helped me grow as a person and help me to really overcome the social anxiety that i experienced. It was so great having Jess, Martha and Clive there to help me get to know my surroundings and really settle in. I felt really welcomed and really at home while I was there! GYSA has really opened my eyes to knew experiences and challenges! Thank you so much for everything that GYSA and the HAF team have done for me! I hope to come back again soon!!!!

Default avatar
Jack
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program
Program:
Surfing Program

The time I spent with Gap Year South Africa's surfing program was an unbelievable three month adventure. I had no clue how to surf going into it, but you quickly learn and the people with GYSA and the Surf Emporium make it very easy. You quickly become immersed in the Muizenberg surf community, and by the end you feel like a local. The Cape Peninsula is such a beautiful area and there is so much to do in Cape Town, it is impossible to be bored. I had the time of my life, and am trying to find a good study abroad program in Cape Town so I can go back and do it all again. I recommend this to everyone, you simply cannot find a better study abroad program.

What would you improve about this program?
Nope this one is
Default avatar
Katja
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My time with GYSA and Hillsong South Africa was one of the most amazing times of my life! It's the perfect package as you can concentrate on serving God and the people/ kids in the townships, everything else is taken care of by GYSA. You live in a beautiful home, Martha our big sister and mother is taking care of the house and making the best and yummy food, Clive is taking you to all your projects and Jess is making sure you can serve in the projects that you care for, that match with your personality & interests and that your time in South Africa becomes more than you could have ever imagined. Fish Hoek is a lovely place and the house is just 5 min away from the beach. I don't even wanna start speaking about how beautiful Cape Town and the area around is - so many beautiful places to discover just at your door step. And Hillsong South Africa has become my spiritual home that I miss until this day! I have met amazing people, made friends for life, got so many hugs from sweet little South Afrian kids to last a lifetime, got to discover new parts of myself and deepen my relationship with God. What more could anyone ask for! Thanks Jess, Martha & Clive for this wonderful time - hope to see you again one day!!!

Default avatar
Katie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I absolutely loved this program!! If you have the opportunity to go travel to South Africa with GYSA, you should definitely should.

During my time with GYSA, I helped out with the Community Development Program. The program was very flexible--I spent my first few days in Cape Town visiting different organizations to put together a personal volunteering schedule that I was excited about. Ultimately I spent most of my time working in pre-schools and and a disabled school in the township Masiphumelele. The time I spent volunteering was both meaningful and enjoyable.

GYSA is a wonderful and unique program for a number of reasons. You are living in a lovely house surrounded by other people your age, in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. The house atmosphere really accelerates the friendships you make. When you are living with ~10 other people, you quickly become friends.

When you're not volunteering (or surfing or helping with Hillsong) there are almost unlimited fun activities to participate in. GYSA helped my group organize a number of touristy activities, such as visiting Robben Island and snorkeling with seals. And even just planning among ourselves we managed to put together a variety of fun weekend adventures. Also, the night life in Cape Town is great. There was never a boring moment.