My international volunteer program experience as an American volunteering in Cape Town –South Africa hosted by Volunteer Mzansi AFRIKA Evan McCleary USA volunteer
In reflecting on my eight weeks international volunteer abroad program in Oceanview and Cape Town in general, I think a lot of the times I am at a loss of words because there is not just one sentence that can ever explain the experience I had. People continuously ask me about my trip and how it was and most of the time the only thing that comes out of my mouth is it was great because I really do not know what else to say in a short amount of time.
I think the thing that truly benefitted us the most was you and how supportive you were the entire time, as well as doing the first couple of days and truly learning the history of the community we were working with. I think I was able to learn a lot more and connect with the people because I knew the history of the people and although I have not gone through everything they have gone through, it helped a lot more connect with people. I really appreciated the two days of history we did.
I really liked my international volunteer project placement at Living Hope because the people I worked with will be life long friends, as well it was the same work I will be doing when I graduate from school. It was great to be able to work with such great people and learn a lot from the work I was doing.
The Tuesday meetings with everyone was really beneficial in understanding how each of us were feeling, as well as learning about each other and digging deeper into our learning. These cultural and reflective meetings were something I looked forward to and really appreciated because it was challenging but also beneficial to us as a team. The things that we talked about and the cultural immersion activities we did were something that I will remember forever. It was beneficial to be pushed outside of my comfort zone and truly talk and think about things in depth and potentially in a different perspective.
The one on one meeting for me was one of the most beneficial things that I could have ever done that entire trip. The one on one is something I will carry on for the rest of my life, as I have continued to work on being proud of myself and realizing I am a beautiful human being inside and out. I liked how I did the meeting early so I was able to truly realize what I needed to work on while I was there and had time so I could establish how I would deal with my confidence and then come home and continue to work on it.
Living in a host family on my volunteer abroad experience was truly one of the most special as well as beneficial things I felt like the entire trip. A lot of times when I talk to people in my life about my experience, the thing that stands out from my trip to my friends who have travelled abroad was that I had the chance to live with a host family and truly live life like people do in Oceanview. Learning Auntie and Uncles story and being able to talk to them about their lives and what they have been through were times I really treasured. It was nice to have someone open up about their lives and being willing to tell their stories because most times that does not happen. Being with you guys in the house was something that I will truly treasure for the rest of my life because you and the family are truly beautiful people.
It was very helpful having you guide and plan our touristic events on the weekends we traveled because you know best of all. So that really was helpful in being able to do stuff and have a good time. I think the best thing we did truly was bungee jumping and I do not regret it one bit.
Those are the points that stick out to me in reflecting on my international volunteer program in Cape Town – South Africa. Honestly, there is nothing I would change except for being there a couple weeks longer because I felt like I was not ready to leave when we did. There is truly nothing that I would have changed now looking back on everything we did.
This international volunteer program with Volunteer Mzansi AFRIKA was truly a once in a life time experience and I couldn’t be more thankful for the opportunity to come and be able to interact and create relationships with the people I met in Cape Town, South Africa. I think the most important part of all of this is none of this would have happened without you and all the sacrifices you made to start this program and even give kids like me an opportunity to go volunteer abroad and have such an amazing experience. So thank you. And no matter how many times I say thank you it will never be able to pay for everything you did for me. Thank you for truly becoming a mentor to me and thank you for everything you have done for me. I would not be the person I am today without you and your family and everything you have done for me so thank you, thank you, thank you.