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Gap Year in South Africa: Expectations vs Reality

gap year in south africa expectations vs reality

Taking a gap year is becoming more and more of a popular choice for young adults wanting to find their place in the world and enjoy a bit of freedom, self-exploration and adventure before embarking on the next phase of their life. And why not! Taking a Gap Year is a great way to gain new perspective, learn new skills and ultimately can improve your employment prospects.

South Africa is certainly a destination you will find at the top of many a Gap Year Wish List…but do people really know what to expect from a Gap Year in South Africa?

Safety: Expectations Vs. Reality

For most people when planning a Gap Year, one of the biggest concerns is safety. Often the perception of South Africa is that there is danger lurking around every corner and this can make people wary of choosing a Gap Year in South Africa. The reality is that South Africa just like any other country has safe places and not so safe places. That’s why wherever you chose to spend your Gap Year it’s important that you chose a reputable host organisation or provider for your Gap Year experience. At EDGE of AFRICA the safety of our volunteers is paramount – we have comprehensive risk assessments for all our projects; we ensure all our volunteers receive a safety briefing as part of their orientation; and we have full time project co-ordinators supporting our volunteers throughout their stay.

gap year in south africa expectations vs reality

Environment: Expectations Vs Reality

When you think of South Africa what’s the first image that comes to mind? …you just pictured The Lion King didn’t you! Lions prowling around open savannahs is certainly the image that most people have when imagining South Africa…and this is not entirely incorrect, it’s just not all that South Africa has to offer! There are a huge variety of different landscapes depending on which area of South Africa you visit. In the north you will find the “typically African” savannah landscapes; but travel to the Garden Route and you will find beautiful green indigenous forests, vast coastlines and magnificent mountain ranges. If you want to experience all the variety that South Africa has to offer then why not consider combining more than one project? We offer a number of combination programs that allow volunteers to make the most of their time in South Africa!

gap year in south africa expectations vs reality

Travelling alone: Expectations Vs Reality

Thinking of embarking on a solo Gap Year in South Africa but worried that you’ll be lonely? Never fear! One of the best things about South Africa is how friendly everyone is so we can assure you that you will make friends in a heartbeat! We actually think there can be some great benefits to travelling alone, like building your self-confidence and making yourself more open to making new friends. However if you are traveling alone it’s important to chose a host organisation who will put you at ease, help you with the logistics of your trip and most importantly make you feel welcome in a new country. At EDGE of AFRICA we have hosted many volunteers, some traveling alone and some as part of school or university groups…and whether you join us with a friend or by yourself we promise you the second you arrive with us you’ll be part of the EDGE family!

gap year in south africa expectations vs reality

Amenities: Expectations Vs Reality

You might be surprised to learn that South Africa has many of the same amenities that you are used to at home! There are many disadvantaged communities in South Africa who don’t have access to basic amenities and these are the communities that EDGE of AFRICA aims to assist and empower through our community projects. However there are also developed areas where you will find much of the same amenities as you would find in cities across the world. For example our volunteers in Knysna, South Africa stay in a fully equipped house with electricity, running water and internet access. In Knysna you can enjoy shopping malls, banks, amazing restaurants, and a variety of exciting activities (both in Knysna and in the surrounding areas).

gap year in south africa expectations vs reality

Project opportunities: Expectations Vs Reality

Maybe your worried that South Africa doesn’t have the opportunities you are looking for for your Gap Year Experience? Well you might be surprised at just how many opportunities are on offer!  Whether you are looking for a wildlife program, community outreach work, pre-school teaching, or work abroad experience we can help you chose the best program to suit your needs. And don’t forget you can even combine different programs to make your ultimate Gap Year Experience! Not sure exactly what you want from your Gap Year? Feel free to get in touch with us, and we’ll do our best to help you tailor your ideal experience.

gap year in south africa expectations vs reality

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