Splendor in South Africa

Benefits: 10
Support: 10
Fun: 10
Facilities: 10
Safety: 10

I had little idea what to expect when I boarded the plane to Cape Town. Although I had traveled in South Africa for work in the past, I had never taught, was unsure what would be required, and was concerned that I would be so much older than the other volunteers. From the minute I arrived, it was a wonderful and magical experience. Due to predeparture information, I was well prepared in terms of what I brought with me, and our coordinator, Peter Fenton, made us feel very welcome and at home from the beginning. His insightful comments, discussions on the history of apartheid, and overview of the S.A. educational system were excellent foundations for working in this cross-cultural environment. At the same time, there was an almost immediate sense of team building and bonding with the other volunteers through sightseeing, hiking, visiting the penguins and baboons, markets, walks around the township and visiting local schools and other volunteer projects. Every effort was made to place volunteers in the optimal setting for tutoring and mentoring to the benefit of both volunteers and students. As the weeks went on, it was clear that we had formed a family as volunteers and had bonded with each other and with the children and adults we worked with. It was an incredible experience - one of the best of my life. Although small things may have gone awry along the way - delays in schedules, difficulty in setting up key meetings, disruptive children, and the emotional toll of working in a challenging environment; it was all part of the learning process - and in the end, the answer is, "This is Africa." Wonderful, majestic, amazingly beautiful and inspiring Africa. In fact, the experience meant so much to me, I returned to the States at the end of the program and spent over 4 months obtaining a long-term volunteer visa to come back to S.A. and the same township of Masiphumelele. I am back in the country working at the same community centre. I highly recommend this program!!!!

Would you recommend this program?
Yes, I would
Year Completed
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