GoAbroad Interview

Andrew Ndwanya - Coordinator of Local Support & Outreach

Andrew Ndwanya - Coordinator of Local Support & Outreach

Mandla (Andrew) Ndwanya is a native of South Africa. He is currently the Local Support and Outreach Coordinator for the Volunteer Adventure Corps (VAC), based in Cape Town, South Africa. Andrew enjoys meeting new interns and sharing his home country while they are visiting over the months of their stay. He is also a part-time student at the College of Cape Town studying Business Management and Entrepreneurship.

How did you get connected with Volunteer Adventure Corps (VAC)?

I initially worked with Sean (Director of Programs at VAC) at Rent-a-Room, a company that works with VAC to provide housing for the interns.

What does a typical day look like as the Coordinator of Local Support & Outreach for VAC entail?

I organize transport to and from internship sites, work to place interns before arriving in Cape Town, and work daily with interns if there are any issues at their sites or if they need other types of assistance while in Cape Town.

Val de Vie Wine Estate in South Africa

Andrew Ndwanya at Val de Vie Wine Estate

You’re a native South African, what important things should interns know about the country prior to departure?

Interns should know to be open-minded as they travel to a new country, aware of their surroundings while traveling, and also to enjoy and try new things that VAC has to offer (i.e. hiking activities, tours, and weekend trips planned by VAC) while they are in the country.

How do you ensure the security of your interns?

Upon first arriving in Cape Town, all interns are given an orientation that outlines safety and security while they are here, including safety on public transport and while participating in other activities after work and on the weekends. We also have an emergency support line that is available to the interns 24 hours a day, seven days a week if needed.

What’s the most frequently asked question you receive from interns upon their arrival in Cape Town, and what is your response?

Where is the Wi-Fi or how can I get an internet connection? Internet is available in all VAC housing, but requires a subscription while they are participating in the program.

South African National team soccer game

Enjoying a soccer game for the South African National team

How do you assist participants in emergency situations?

It depends on the type of emergency. But, we do ask them to call the emergency line if something happens in the off hours. If an emergency occurs during the day and they can get to the VAC office, we ask them to come in and complete an incident report and we follow-up on the case and offer support.

You’re the VAC soccer coach and events planner, what types of activities are available to interns outside of their internship placement?

We have activities each Friday so that the interns can participate in cultural immersion events, like hiking, surfing, boat cruises, community service activities, visiting, and volunteering at orphanage homes and cheetah and lion outreach sanctuaries, among other activities that can be found on our Facebook page.

How do you help students who are feeling homesick?

We listen to their concerns and offer advice and support, and also remind them of their professional and personal goals prior to coming to Cape Town.

What is your favorite part about your role with VAC?

I love meeting new people, making new friends from all parts of the world, learning new languages and cultures, being introduced to new music and dances, and making life-long friends.

Men on a river cruise

Andrew with a VAC intern on a Waterfront sunset cruise