My South African Volunteering Experience by Sorry Ameya

I am of the opinion that travelling is best way of acquiring massive knowledge about different people and their cultures. When the AIESEC exchange programs were fully explained to me in detail, I was left intrigued, and my keenness grew big and bigger, so I decided to go on exchange to South Africa, because I was sick and tired of having long unproductive holidays, so I decided to use my long holiday to travel.

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My exchange was supposed to be in Pretoria but due to some unforeseen circumstances, I had to move to Johannesburg. In Joburg I was working on a Project under the Human Empowerment Revitalization Drive (H.E.R.D) initiative called BOSASA.
BOSASA is a prison for juvenile criminals. I was so scared at first when I was told that I will be working with juvenile criminals, but as soon as I introduced myself to the boys, they smiled, giggled and laughed. They actually found humour in my name (Sorry) which made it easy for them to open up to me and share their stories. I felt hounoured to mingle with such enthusiastic young boys.

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Unfortunately cameras were not allowed on site, so we couldn’t take pictures with the boys. I was serving as career guide for the boys, showing them different ways on making an honest living without getting themselves into trouble again. I also gave them advice on how to behave once they were released from prison. After giving advice, some boys were remorseful and were full of regret over their sinful doings, I so proud to have had an impact on other people’s lives.

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That was the Internship, The exchange in particular was beyond awesome, as interns were lived in a big house, that we called the GAUTENG BIG BROTHER HOUSE, the house was always filled with laughter,. We lived in the house with five Indians, two Ghanaians, two Mozambican and one Motswana. Since we lived together as a family, my fellow interns and I became close friends. Apart from working, we visited a lot of touristic places in Joburg like Soweto, Hector Peterson museum, The Top of Africa (the tallest building in Africa), Loin Park, Joburg Zoo, Monte Casino, Gold Reef City and Sandton City Mall, to go see the big Mandela statue. We also attended awesome parties that were thrown for us by AIESEC alumni, and former AIESEC members.

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My exchange was really awesome and it had massive changes on my perspective towards life, and it taught me to be more appreciative. Through my exchange I saw the importance and values of voluntarily work and the values in doing something positive for society. What I really loved about SA was its people, the people I was constantly in touch with were really nice, and the reception was excellent. Another thing that wowed me was the fact that South Africans highly value their cultures, and speak their native languages with so much pride, I was really impressed.

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