WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in South Africa
98% Rating
(8 Reviews)

WorldTeach - Volunteer Teaching in South Africa

As a WorldTeach volunteer in South Africa, you will witness firsthand the diversity of South Africa and the aftermath of the apartheid movement. When you first arrive in South Africa, you will go through a WorldTeach orientation that includes an introduction to life and culture in South Africa, visits to the schools and communities where we work and information on health and safety issues. The primary purpose of volunteer teachers in South Africa is to provide educational services to disadvantaged communities. Volunteers will be involved in winter courses for various grades that include English literacy programs, computer training, math, and special projects.

With our summer program, you can also become TEFL certified to earn credibility and give you an edge in the ESL teaching job market. While certification usually costs about $1,899, with WorldTeach you can become certified for FREE while also gaining priceless in-country teaching experience.

Africa » South Africa » Cape Town
Africa » South Africa
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Program Reviews

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Show 1 - 8 of 8
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Splendor in South Africa

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!!!!

How can this program be improved?

I'm not sure I can think of a way to improve on this program.

Yes, I recommend
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Life Shaping

My time teaching in Cape Town was a life shaping experience not because everything was perfectly set up for me by World Teach but because the program allowed for self exploration. Many times I was given the freedom to find my way. This kind of experience was exactly what I was looking for. My Program Director, Peter Fenton, was one of the most down to earth, inspiring individuals I have ever met as well as being a huge supporter of education. He not only discussed intricately the educational, social, and economic pros and cons of Cape Town but also placed the volunteers, according to their comfortability, in the thick of it. We were allowed to become as integrated as we possibly could in our work. I remember by the time we were halfway through the summer I was teaching English Literature, Tourism, and Arts and Culture in Ocean View High School then getting in a taxi to go tutor my previous students in the Black Township of Masiphumelele in Math and Science. Then after that I was running rap workshops with a smaller group of boys obsessed with the art form. When I wasn't teaching core subjects at Ocean View High School I was running workshops in creative writing and latin dance just because there was an interest from the students I worked with. I was able to give all of myself to the experience and I learned so much about education, cultural difference, and the shared humanity we all have. This experience did not come without its hardships from homesickness to long, tiring days, and disagreements with fellow volunteers and host families but they paled in comparison to the richness of the experience. I made life long friends, still keep in contact with numerous students, and have a burning desire to return to Cape Town for any reason whatsoever. If you want to be a globally aware teacher, this is where to do it, no matter where you are from.

Yes, I recommend
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World Teach- some teaching, a lot of learning

In this program, the volunteers are definitely teaching hands on in a variety of different positions. Some people taught in high schools, some in primary schools, and others, like myself, taught in pre-schools. Working with Early Childhood Education in South Africa was quite the eye-opening experience.

How can this program be improved?

More communication prior to departure

Yes, I recommend
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Fantastic program

Volunteering for WorldTeach in South Africa was one of the best decisions of my life. For a relatively short experience, I was able to learn so much and truly felt immersed in the culture. On-site support was amazing and the pre-departure information provided by WorldTeach increased my comfort level tremendously.

The most important thing I can say about this experience was that it didn't feel like "voluntourism." We were immersed in the communities and doing real work.

How can this program be improved?

My understanding is that a few changes have been made since I did the program. A preference for homestays would probably enrich the volunteer experience.

Yes, I recommend
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Do it!

I was one of the first participants in this program when it started in Cape Town, South Africa, about 25 years ago. It was awesome, and a life-changing experience! I highly recommend the program to anyone

How can this program be improved?

Actually, it was perfect. I wouldn't change a thing about it.

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

Great place! Great people!

South Africa WT is an amazing program! As a history lover it was truly incredible to see the effects of apartheid and talk to people who lived through it. The whole experience I felt safe, and quickly met people who I now consider family.

How can this program be improved?


Yes, I recommend
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Changed my life

Volunteering abroad in South Africa changed my life. Because of this program, more career opportunities have opened for me, I have met lifelong friends, and feel better equipped to be an effective educator in an under-served area back home. While safety was the biggest concern, I would go back in a heartbeat. I am a different person today because of this program. My advice: go. World Teach does a wonderful job setting you up before you leave, and ensures you have everything you need while abroad. If you have a preference, say it. Speak up about particular needs and wants. World Teach does a great job making accommodations for volunteers.

How can this program be improved?

It may have changed since I was a volunteer, but I would recommend transportation and cell phones for volunteers in S. Africa. Getting around safely to work from our homestay was the greatest challenge.

Response from WorldTeach


Thank you so much for taking the time to submit this review, it is extremely valuable for us, and important for our readers as well.

The safety of our volunteers is the most important priority of WorldTeach. Specific to the South Africa summer program, our Field Director Peter ensures the safety of each one of our volunteers in his/her commute to school. If necessary, the volunteer is driven from his home site to his school. Thank you for raising this concern because it is of the utmost importance.

WorldTeach does not provide cellphones to any volunteers in any of our programs, however the majority of volunteers purchase a local, affordable cellphone.

Thank you again for your time Jesse, WorldTeach values your input!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar

WorldTeach South Africa - Best Summer of My Life

WorldTeach South Africa was incredible! Before departure, the WorldTeach office was great about answering any questions I had.
In country, the program coordinator is fantastic! You learn a great deal about the South African education system and about the townships where you are working.
Volunteers usually work in two different townships near Cape Town, helping with holiday programs (tutoring, mentoring, etc) in a primarily Xhosa township during the schools' winter break, and in a 'coloured' township once school resumes.
Overall I felt safe throughout the trip. In general, I felt comfortable walking around both townships, and WTSA is great about safety. The trip coordinator will warn you of any areas that may be dangerous.
Both my school experience and my experience with the holiday programs were very positive. The students are wonderful and the administration and teachers at the school were very welcoming.
You typically live within walking distance of other volunteers, and in general, you see most of the other volunteers and the program coordinator every day. This is great, because it allows the whole group to become very close.
This was my first time outside the US, but it was a pretty easy transition, especially because we were in such close contact with the other volunteers and the coordinator.
Certain aspects of living in South Africa take some getting used to. 'Africa time' can be frustrating at first, and planning and scheduling are less common than in the U.S. Once you accept this as part of the experience, though, you can feel like you are really being immersed in South African culture.
On the whole, I would absolutely recommend WorldTeach South Africa! My time in South Africa was one of the most exciting, inspiring, and eye-opening experiences of my life!

Yes, I recommend

About The Provider

WorldTeach was founded in 1986 by a group of Harvard students who were motivated by the desire to promote local education initiatives in places where teachers and resources were lacking. Today, we continue to provide opportunities for individuals to...