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Projects Abroad volunteer teacher and her students Projects Abroad volunteer teacher and her students

Projects Abroad in South Africa

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Volunteer Experience

    10

  • Program Administration

    10

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Community Impact

    10

  • Health and Safety

    10

  • Social Life

    10

Physiotherapy in Cape Town ,South Africa

This summer I had the opportunity to go to Cape Town, South Africa with Projects Abroad for three weeks. I volunteered at the Friends Day Centre on the Alexandra Hospital Grounds in Maitland. I worked closely with the staff on the children's physical therapy to improve their strength and flexibility. They were all so welcoming and I learned a lot! I stayed with a host in Grassy Park. Every day I was picked up from the home by a Projects Abroad Staff Member and driven to my work site. My host family was incredible. I felt at home despite being on the other side of the world. I lived with several other volunteers,, so there was always someone to explore Cape Town with (and there was plenty of time for that). The Projects Abroad staff was so supportive in the days leading up to my trip and while I was there. They were always checking in with a phone call and a visit.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    10

  • Cultural Immersion

    10

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

PAHRO Cape Town Interning

This summer, I went on a 2 week trip as an intern to South Africa at the ProjectsAbroad Human Rights Office in Cape Town. I didn't know what to expect, coming in as a high school student from Indiana into a program normally reserved for college students preparing for pre-Law. Of course, I couldn't take on clients or perform any of the legal work, but the work I was able to do exceeded all of my expectations. For two weeks, I performed Human Rights work in the field of social justice that involved travelling across Cape Town to different schools, townships, and juvenile detention centers to perform recreational and educational activities with the kids. ProjectsAbroad also granted me the opportunity to design and present my own educational presentations on a variety of topics to help troubled youths between the ages of 5 and 17 dealing with very difficult situations. All of these work opportunities gave me valuable experience in an office environment as well as volunteer work interaction. I was made to feel welcome by not only the staff, but the other interns there as well, despite my unusual situation.

From beginning to end, all of the general ProjectsAbroad staff were incredibly welcoming and informative about every aspect of the program in which we were about to participate. Before coming to Cape Town, Coordinator Flora Mbambi gave me all the advice I needed about any belongings I needed to take with me and what I should expect. On the first day, I learned immediately about my duties, was introduced to the stunning city of Cape Town, and made some new friends. After my introduction, I met the two staff members with whom I would spend the majority of my work days: Ricardo, my supervisor throughout the trip, and Shuan, the head of the social justice area of the Human Rights Office. Ricardo was incredibly helpful in helping me to settle in and in teaching me all about Cape Town; He even showed me many of the local attractions in the short time that I was in town (including Table Mountain). Shuan was hilarious and incredibly helpful in guiding me through all of the social justice programs. He also gave us a bit of insight into the lives of the children awaiting sentencing in the facilities. The ProjectsAbroad staff also helped by organizing the weekend Garden Route Safari Tour for me with a few interns from other prograns, which included a lion walk, full safari, bungee jumping, and cave spelunking.

Finally, I would be remiss not to include my incredible host family experience. My host mother was Faye, an amazing and sweet woman who has been hosting kids for the past decade. She made us incredible local food of every variety each day, and refused to let us pass it up. She helped to show the new volunteers different parts of Cape Town and was very accommodating every time any one of us had a request. With Faye, it was almost as if she was our real mother. My host father and the rest of the volunteers in the house truly made Cape Town seem like a home away from home.

I'll never forget my experiences in South Africa. My time there has changed and shaped who I am. I would recommend ProjectsAbroad to anyone looking for a valuable intern experience and the chance to see beautiful places, help underprivileged people, meeting great friends, and take memories with them that will last a lifetime, especially if you are a college student preparing to study law, or already studying law.

Overall Rating

10/ 10

  • Internship Placement

    10

  • Program Administration

    9

  • Living Situation

    9

  • Cultural Immersion

    9

  • Health and Safety

    9

  • Social Life

    10

Human Rights Project

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.

Institution Affiliates:

The International Volunteer Programs Association