My experience as an international volunteer from Austria volunteering abroad in Cape Town –South Africa on a Volunteer Mzansi AFRIKA experience
Julian Stolinger (Austrian Volunteer)
More than one month has passed since I’ve been to South Africa as an international volunteer now and I’m still thinking of it every day. It kind of feels like my body is back in Austria again, but my heart and my soul are still walking around on Kommetjie Beach, playing with the kids volunteering abroad in Cape Town – South Africa. It’s quite a challenge to start this text in a proper way but at first, I want to thank Chantel. Never have I ever met such a heart-warming, care taking, non-prejudiced, motivating and amazing person in my entire life. The way she showed us her community of Ocean View, her country-South Africa and her way of thinking, has changed my point of perspective about almost everything. “To see the human first” is probably the most important lesson I’ve learned from being on an international volunteer program.
I still remember the first days of my international volunteering program in South Africa on our cultural and historical orientation in Ocean View. Chantel introducing me to my host family (in fact the best host family you could EVER wish for), getting to know the other international volunteers from all over the world and being introduced to like 100 people from all over Cape Town in just three days. At first, I was a bit anxious about what the people think of me and if they would judge me because (sadly), that’s what happens in Austria. But as soon as I got to know more and more beautiful people of Cape Town, it turned out that my fear was unfounded. By the time, I think I caught the “African Spirit”. To live in peace, to respect, to feel and to talk.
The time I spent at my international volunteering project volunteering in Cape Town was just amazing. To see all the sleepy kids in the morning (almost falling off their chairs haha), playing with them, teaching them how to count, paint and write is an experience I’ll always remember. But the two weeks at the “Open Door Holiday Programme” have also made a big impact on me. Preparing role plays with the kids was amazing. The talent, hidden inside of them came out and some of them just acted as if they were actors and actresses for years.
To end this text, I just want to thank every single person I’ve met on my international volunteer program in South Africa. You turned this journey into an unforgettable adventure.
“It’s not about the place you are, but it’s about the people you are with”