Hollie is studying a Dual Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood and Special Education. She joined the VACorps program in January 2018. and participated in an Education Internship.
“I could write a novel about what I have learned while being in South Africa. I originally chose Cape Town for the amazing scenic views. I pictured myself laying on the beach, climbing mountains, and seeing wild animals. When I arrived, I did all of that and so much more. My favorite part about being here was learning the culture and people of South Africa. Everyone I met here was so inviting and friendly. I learned how to ask for help when I needed it, to take chances, and to slow down. I found tranquility in nature as well as the busy streets of the city.
“My favorite part of my internship was working with the students. They were such a joy to teach and helped me learn so much about the culture here. Even though my students came from disadvantaged situations, they always had a great outlook and a positive attitude towards life. I found that everyone at the school was so willing to help me learn as a professional as well as share my experience and ideas freely. I was able to try educational practices I had learned in my college courses without worrying if it would work or not. My mentor was always helping me along the way. We celebrated my failures and successes. I learned how to work alongside professionals in my field. I cried on my last day of teaching as I hugged and said goodbye to the students who helped me feel so at home in South Africa. I was thanked by all of the teachers, some I barely spent time with, and felt so appreciated.
“I will never forget the mountains, the beaches, the Addo and the garden route, but I will miss the people I have met here and friendships I have formed the most. After about two and a half months of being here, I am so sad to leave. I feel like a different person leaving here. I am more knowledgeable about the world, people’s perspectives, who I am and who I want to become in the future. I want to thank VACorps staff for holding my hand along the way but also letting me go on my own to explore this beautiful country. I know I will be back someday soon.
“I also appreciated all of the help from the VAC staff and the welcoming faces when I arrived. I also can’t stress enough how much I loved the activities! I looked forward to them each week, knowing I would have an amazing time!
“My advice would be to take it all in. The school setting in South Africa can be very different than where you come from. There will be so many differences from what you are used to but jump in and help where you can. Don’t be scared to give ideas and try new things with the students. They love hearing what the interns have to say and are willing to let you try things out!”