South Africa

Projects Abroad

I spent four weeks volunteering in Cape Town, South Africa in the Projects Abroad Human Rights Office (PAHRO). As a pre-law student, this was an unbelievable opportunity. I got to do real hands on work, on numerous cases, and help others at the same time. As the office offers free legal assistance, we have the opportunity to help many who would not otherwise receive it. The Cape Town office also has social justice projects. As the legal work often takes a long time, it is very nice to do the social justice programs that have more immediate results. The social justice programs include visiting juvenile detention centers, a women’s shelter, and a township. At the juvenile detention centers and the women’s shelter we gave presentations about rehabilitation and empowerment. It is very nice to see the change in the some of the boys and girls at the juvenile detention centers, and see their appreciation for our presence. Most other legal internships involve mostly secretarial work. Projects Abroad gave me the opportunity to make a real contribution to my cases and learn so much. Even in my short four weeks, I felt I made a real impact on the lives of my clients.
Projects Abroad does a really great job of structuring the programs. I always felt safe and that I had someone to rely on if needed, but also never felt overly supervised. I was still free to do whatever I want, but also knew a staff member would always be there to help if I needed it. Starting from the very day I arrived, in which I was met my friendly staff members at the airport, and taken to my host house with my amazing host mom.
In my spare time, there was more to do than I could possibly have imagined. The office creates a great place to make friends, and there’s always something being planned. I was able to go shark cage diving, a wine tour, the Garden Route safari, Robben Island, and so much more. Projects Abroad plans special events as well. I made some amazing friends and did some amazing things. It is an experience I would recommend to anyone in a heartbeat.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jul 16, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
8

Projects Abroad

Projects Abroad was exactly the organization I was looking for when I was designing my gap year before college. It is a competent organization that is available during the most stressful parts of traveling: international flights and orientation to a foreign country. Then when you are comfortable with your new home, they give you the freedom to explore on your own volition.

My time in South Africa is a perfect depiction of that. I was in a challenging but rewarding volunteer project working at a human rights/law office that provides free services, where I grew to the responsibility handed to me. It was an incredible experience, especially my visits to two women’s shelters. Talking with them on their constitutional rights and how they can use the law in their favor was enlightening for all of us; learning what was common knowledge and what was not interested me a lot, since it aligned with what I wanted to do with my life.

But what I also remember about my time in South Africa is the incredible array of experiences I had outside of the project. From shark cage diving with Great White sharks to cuddling with a blanket and some friends at an outdoor theater in Cape Town, and the added thrill bungee jumping off a bridge after a wildlife safari, I had many opportunities to explore the Cape Town area. The perfect balance between being involved and helping the community you are in while also enjoying everything the community has to offer is what makes Projects Abroad such a good choice.

Program: Gap Year
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jul 3, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
9

Askari WCP

From the moment I arrived, I knew I would never want to leave. Two weeks was not nearly long enough! Katie and Ed are both amazing hosts and wonderful people. Not only are they welcoming and friendly, but they're also incredibly knowledgeable and enthusiastic. During a great animal sighting you can tell that they're just as excited as the volunteers.
The accommodations are fantastic. The beds are comfy, the food is delicious, and there's a pool! (Which is definitely not too cold in the fall, despite what Ed might tell you).
This trip exceeded all my expectations. Every day at Askari was an adventure. Not only do you get to experience the African bush, but you also feel like you're making a difference and contributing to something worthwhile. The Pidwa Wilderness Reserve is run with integrity and dedication. They don't manipulate the environment for the sake of tourists - it's all about wildlife and conservation.
Overall - a very rewarding experience. I'll definitely be going back next chance I get!
"There is a kind of magicness about going far away and then coming back all changed"

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Jun 16, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

The depth of knowledge, enthusiasm and passion were inspirational moments throughout my stay. Both Katie and Ed demonstrated leadership qualities that really formed the glue for a teamwork atmosphere. The education I received here with regards to conservation has really opened my eyes to the utmost need for sustainability for both the wildlife and the ecosystem they inhabit. Being a part of all the projects was engaging and informative and gave you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the day. I highly recommend the program. Be prepared to “embrace the bush” as Katie would say! Thanks for an amazing experience guys!

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Apr 30, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

My summer spent with Projects Abroad in Southern Africa is one that I will never forget. I stumbled upon their website inquiry form late one night while researching internship opportunities in Cape Town and was blown away by how supportive and helpful their staff was right from the get go. Within hours of submitting my request for more information I was connected with a volunteer coordinator who was able to answer all of my questions and help me get the ball rolling. This support was only intensified once I arrived in country. The entire staff at the Journalism Project (and head office) in Cape Town was always willing to share advice about great local activities, day trips, and sometimes, just a friendly face when you were feeling a bit homesick. A trip with Projects immerses you in the local culture immediately upon arrival. By living with local host families you get to experience the country in a way that you simply wouldn't as a tourist. Not only was my host mom a blast to be around, but she took care of us when we got sick. was always interested in how our day went, and would give us the inside scoop on amazing local places to check out. I felt so welcomed by her that the overwhelming stress of being jet lagged in a foreign country was gone right after she gave me a tour of the house, joined me for lunch, and helped me get settled. The Journalism project was a great experience and our editor in chief made it a point to get us out of the office and away from our computers and into the city. We attended other projects, were able to sit in on local Press Club luncheons, and got to hit the pavement and explore all of the different stories Cape Town had to offer. She also was incredibly flexible and helpful when it came to my college credit requirements. Filling out a pile of paperwork and surveys for me without even batting an eye. Down time was spent exploring with the other volunteers who quickly formed a close knit community even though people were coming and going quite literally every single day. Overall this trip was enlightening, exciting, and fulfilling in more ways that I could have ever imagined. I would recommend Projects Abroad to anybody looking to have an authentic work experience abroad with a safe and reliable company (who still know how to have a good time!)

Program: Study Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Apr 28, 2015
Overall:
8
Support:
9
Value:
7

Askari WCP

The Askari Wilderness Conservation program provides an excellent opportunity to learn about life in the South African Bush and conservation in practice. The staff (Katie and Ed) make everyone welcome and manage to provide an excellent mix of education, hands on experience and fun during the program. Their enthusiasm is infectious but they combine that with a very healthy respect for the wildlife. They lead by example in terms of the vigilance needed to stay safe while allowing the inhabitants of the Bush priority since they were there first! Everything about this program is well thought through and planned but the flexibility is there as needed to respond to the varying demands of Bush Life. I cannot imagine anyone coming away from this program without gaining a significantly improved understanding of what conservation means in reality and how to contribute to achieving the Askari vision. In addition its great fun.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Mar 13, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Projects Abroad

My name is Hannah Elliott-Higgins and I am currently a junior studying psychology and art/art history at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. During my senior year of high school, I spent some time debating the idea of taking a gap year and volunteering before heading off to college but eventually decided against this idea as the excitement of starting college set in. However, half way through my sophomore year of college I began to think again about how wonderful it would be to be able to take some time to simple volunteer and experience the world through my own eyes and not through a strictly scholarly lens.

I worked with a gap year/semester coordinator to decided what I wanted to do. I knew I wanted to work with children and if possible work with those with developmental disabilities. I was put in contact with Projects Abroad South Africa (Cape Town) and I could not be happier with the way everything went. From my first email contact with Projects Abroad I could tell it would be a wonderful experience. They were prompt to respond, answered every question I had, and provided me with all the information regarding my placement and living situation in a very timely manner.

During my time in Cape Town, I volunteered at the Sunrise Special Care Centre 5 days a week and had the weekends to myself. I absolutely loved the work, which consisted of basic occupational therapy and physical therapy as well as care taking. There was a bit of an age range with the majority of the children being between the ages of 6 and 14 and then a few young adults (early 20s). Everyone I worked with was kind and welcoming and spoke very highly of being there past Projects Abroad volunteers. Every week, I would meet with volunteers from other projects to talk with one of the volunteer coordinators from Projects Abroad. If there were any issues, they were always available to help out.

I lived with a host family who lived one street over from the Sunrise Special Care Centre and I cannot speak highly enough of them. They were wonderful and made me feel completely at home.They gave me and the two other volunteers I lived with breakfast, lunch, and dinner and the mother was a wonderful cook. I have certain dietary restrictions and they were wonderful about making accommodations for me.

Overall, this was an incredible experience for me and I would strongly recommend Projects Abroad for anyone who is looking to take a gap year, semester, or even just a few weeks off doing service work. It is an unforgettable time and I would do it over again in a heartbeat.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Feb 9, 2015
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

African Impact

It is really difficult to put into words how fantastic this entire experience was. Several months returned from my three weeks at Thanda and I still can not stop smiling.

I was very very nervous, having never traveled much before, and certainly never having traveled alone. But from the minute I landed in Durban and was greeted by African Impact staff, I felt completely at ease. Everything was explained right away, I was never guessing where I needed to be or what I needed to be doing. The staff there is incredible. Everyone from the guides to the business managers to the cooks was incredibly friendly and helpful and cheerful. The happiness and joy is contagious, even when you are in a new environment and very jet-lagged!

The first day included a lot of orientation. All of the information we needed was presented to us, which was a LOT of information, but necessary to have. The project aims orientation was very intense as well; there is a lot to learn and remember! I would definitely recommend reading through the information they give you via email ahead of time!

I felt like I really knew the importance of the data we were collected, and exactly how it was being used. It was great that members of the wildlife management team, the ecologist, APU, etc, were often stopping by for dinner or joining us on projects. It allowed us to really understand everything that goes into maintaining a healthy reserve and how the work we were doing helped this.

I feel like I accomplished quite a bit in three weeks, and I left feeling like I had really done my part towards a cause I care greatly about! On top of that, I had so much fun! Great friends, great times. All together, a life changing experience.

Program:
Location: South Africa
Posted: Dec 23, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Comments

Thank you so much for this wonderful testimonial. We are thrilled that you found value in the program, that you understood and enjoyed your contribution to our conservation efforts and had such a great time. We hope to welcome you back on project soon! Best, The African Impact Team

Daktari Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage

I have spent 5 weeks in Daktari Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage, an amazing program that allows volunteers to work with local children as much as with wild animals. The perfect mix! Not only you teach the children about saving environment, animals and other matters, but you also learn about them and their way of life which is quite different from ours. It's very enriching, and I would say that you learn from them as much as they learn from you. You also work and live among the animals, and the arrival of a new one is always very exciting!
Volunteers also have the possibility to meet local people from the near village, by spending a night within a family. A unique experience I highly recommend...
Daktari is a family size program, on the day you arrive you immediately meet all the people that work here, including the foundators, and you quickly feel like at home. The relationship with other volunteers is great because everybody is very willing, and you can meet people of every ages and from every places of the world.
Finally, when volunteering at Daktari, I would say that you feel very useful and it is an experience you will never forget.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Nov 20, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

Askari WCP

My 4 week stay at Askari was the most amazing time of my life. I wish I could have stayed longer. Learning about conservation in South Africa along with doing activities that will help towards conservation was an absolutely amazing experience. Ed and Katie are amazing leaders and teachers. Once you go you will want to keep going back!! I am looking forward to when I can go back and contribute again.

Program: Volunteer Abroad
Location: South Africa
Posted: Oct 9, 2014
Overall:
10
Support:
10
Value:
10

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