Exactly one year ago I packed my bags, said goodbye to family & friends and left home. I had absolutely no clue what the next six months would bring, but it turned out to be the best time of my life.
Living abroad, getting to know yourself, learning about new cultures, meeting the absolute best people ever, is something I would recommend to everyone. I don’t regret anything… Okay maybe one thing, and that is to not fully enjoy every moment – even the little things. Because before you know it, you are on the plane back home and you regret just taking some moments in and taking it easy. But there is such little time, so you want to do everything, be everywhere and see everything.
Everyone I met during my time in South Africa holds a special place in my heart and I appreciate every single moment. From going out to Barneys and White Tiger, to ordering pizzas and eating it in the Wi-Fi room while watching TV, to safaris, and of course, coaching the amazing children.
Because that is what they are: amazing. The children I have met in South Africa who live in the disadvantaged areas of Port Elizabeth are my little friends, and I miss them every single day. They brought something into my life that is hard to describe. It is so special, and I did not thank them enough, because I did not know how to. I loved coaching them, having fun, dancing, singing and really being a part of their lives for a while. Sometimes I wonder how they are doing. Are they okay? Are they safe? Are they following the big dreams they told me about? I hope they are. Because that is what they deserve.
My time in South Africa was special and I would 10000000% do it all over again. Give me a plane ticket today and I would run to the airport. To people considering volunteering: definitely go and see South Africa if you have the chance. The country is beautiful and the people living there even more beautiful. I have met the best people ever, with the most incredible life stories. They are inspirational and I am happy to call them my friends and even my family!
The wildlife is absolutely stunning. I could not get enough of safaris and am happy I did every single one. I saw so many beautiful things! The sunsets I saw were incredible, I cried almost every sunset because in those moments I felt so grateful. Just sitting there, on the beach and watching the sun go down with amazing people surrounding me in the best country I have ever visited. I am happy I can call Port Elizabeth my home, even though I left, it will always be a part of me.
All I have left to say is it had a real impact on me. It was the best decision ever and I miss it every single day. Port Elizabeth has a special place in my heart, and I hope to go back there some time to see my friends and the children again.
- Carlotte Klop, Amsterdam