8 Pieces Of Advice You Must Know Before You Volunteer In South Africa
Thinking about volunteering in South Africa? With amazing nightlife, delicious food and rich heritage, you’ll be pressed to find another volunteer country as amazing as South Africa. And if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you already know that!
But, when you start digging into the history of South Africa and the socio-economic challenges, you’ll realize that there’s more to the background of this stunning country than meets the eye. And you don’t want to show up uninformed!
With that in mind we’ve rounded up 8 pieces of advice you’ll need to know when volunteering in South Africa. These pieces of advice will help you not only understand the conditions you’ll be working in, but will also help you choose the best volunteer projects in order to make the most of your time.
Choose Your Volunteer Organization Wisely
It should go without saying that not every organization is built equally. Take some time to do your research and make sure you pick the best organization that you can pick to work with. You can use this resource to find the 10 top organizations to volunteer for!
Also remember when you’re choosing an organization to consider your gifts, talents and skills. If you are great with kids, or animals or sick people, take those skills into account. This will help your placement be successful.
Before volunteering read up about volunteering in the area you’ll be in. Also try to find stories about people who have worked for the organization you’ve picked to work with. That will help you know exactly what to expect and how to pack.
Learn The History & Culture
While the idea of learning history and culture before arriving might seem silly to some, with South Africa in particular, the history has greatly the impacted the country. If anything, at least read up on the pre and post-apartheid in South Africa. This will help you understand the current culture. Speaking of culture, take a few minutes to watch some videos on culture to learn the basics.
Wherever you’re going follow the safety protocols put out by the government. No need to take on unnecessary risk! If they say to watch your belongings, wear a money belt. If they say to not go. Don’t!
Be Prepared (and Happy) To Teach English
In many places they will automatically expect you to help teach English. Be prepared for this and be responsible. You are there to better the country, so get your TEFL certification to ensure you’ll be doing the best you can as a teacher.
Take First Aid
Basic first aid courses are offered everywhere. Be smart and take a course so you’re prepared for anything. Also pack a rescue mask.
Don’t pack too much. South Africa is fairly modern, so don’t worry too much about packing everything you own. You can get basic amenities there!
Keep Your Mind Open
This is an opportunity to make lifelong friends, understand a new culture and part of the world and better yourself. Keep your mind open, be respectful and get ready to grow in ways you didn’t expect!