You’ve been lucky enough to venture off into a new culture, and experience that culture with such depth that your home has become a distant memory. Without even realizing it, your life has changed drastically. You’ve become accustomed to this new environment and all the social norms that come with it. That is until you return home. You step off that plane, and hardly anything has changed around you, yet everything has changed for yourself. People can’t see these changes on you; your clothes might be different, and hair might be longer, but these changes are within you and are not easily explainable, let alone identifiable. It is painfully lonely and isolating. The experiences you’ve had come crashing down on you as you try to shift back to your old routine in your home culture. This, is culture shock. I believe its harder coming home than it is going to a live in a new culture. When you travel to somewhere foreign, you’re expecting to feel like an outsider, to feel out of place and know that you are going to need to work to fit in and get used to the lifestyle. When you return home, you are expecting to feel comfort, ease and welcome; yet sometimes, you end up feeling like an outsider in a place that you’ve lived the majority of your life. And that, is unimaginably difficult. Continue reading “Culture Shock”
From what I understand, IVHQ is the umbrella organization to many local NGO’s. In this sense, it’s great because your supervisors are locals and therefore have more inside knowledge. The downside to this however, is that the quality of each IVHQ program will vary. As I have only volunteered with IVHQ in South Africa I can’t be sure, but, I’m assuming that I could volunteer in 9 different IVHQ countries and have 9 different reviews of IVHQ. Note: IVHQ is also one of the most affordable volunteer programs there is. Some programs cost as little as $180 per week which includes accommodation and food.
How does sky diving in Cape Town, getting a birds eye view of the ocean, beaches and table mountain sound? Or what about bungee-jumping off Bloukrans Bridge at 216 m, one of the worlds highest bungee jumping sites? Even better, coming face to face with a great white shark, or climbing one of the 7 natural wonders of the world.
If you’re idea of a great trip includes getting your adrenaline pumping then South Africa needs to be next on your list. I would have never labelled myself as an adrenaline junkie, but somehow, in South Africa it was inevitable. There are countless ways to get that rush in South Africa, and I’m going to list my top ten favorites.
1. Shark Cage Diving
South Africa may not be your number one travel destination, but I am here to tell you that it SHOULD be. I understand the reasons that stops someone from boarding a plane to South Africa. A) it is literally far away from everything. Unless you live in Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe or one of the other many beautiful nearby countries — then it is a trek for you to even get there. Most people don’t have the time (or money) to spend going that distance. From Thunder Bay, Ontario, I flew 2 hours to Toronto, 7 hours to Amsterdam, and another whooping 12 hours down south to Cape Town. Mixed with layovers and delays it equaled out to days of airports, recycled air and dry skin. And B) there seems to be this fear about travelling to South Africa, or Africa in general. A number of people have this misconception and quite frankly, ignorant, idea that going to Africa is going to get your raped, kidnapped and infected with HIV. These stereotypes and fears are not only misguided, but they are offensive and ultimately inaccurate. Out of all the countries I have travelled to, South Africa will remain the richest in culture, beauty, history, and life. Continue reading “South African Travels”
1. Cultural exposure.
By volunteering abroad you gain a wider perception of the country you’re in. You are not only interacting with locals, but you are interacting with them on a level that is much more complex and sophisticated rather than the more often superficial interactions you would have with them through other means of travelling. Before you know it, you are returning home with a broader vision of the country and as a result, you are more cultured.
2. Personal Growth.
Volunteering abroad changes a lot within a person. Compassion, knowledge, confidence and independence are just some of the characteristics of someone who volunteers abroad will gain. You learn how to socialize with different people with different ethnicities and cultures. You learn so much about yourself and who you aspire to be. Continue reading “10 reasons why you should volunteer abroad”
When I first started writing this post I realized how difficult it is to explain this day. The nostalgia I feel for this point in my life is so real and so strong. I have no way of connecting back to this moment, it’s not something materialistic or objective, and it’s not a place I can return too. It’s a moment in time that will never exist again. Over years the memory of it has been distorted, changed and ultimately, forgotten. We only get so many trips around the sun; we only get so many memories. Eventually, the little details from the happiest days of our lives will slip away. That’s why this is so hard to write. It is such a beautiful memory, and yet I will never be able to remember it all as it truly once was. Continue reading “My response to the best day of my life”
With continuous education and cultural exposure, I have been constantly reflecting on everyday privilege that I, and most of the other people around me, experience. In the spirit of being “stressed out” that I have a million assignments to do, classes to attend, work to go to, volunteer commitments, and ‘somewhat’ of a social life to balance, I have decided to name 75 ways that I am privileged.
The 75 things that happen daily from the moment I wake up to the time I go to sleep, that I am privileged for: Continue reading “75 Daily Occurrences That Make Me Privileged”
June 30, 2011- July 19, 2011
Total showers: 4 Total contact with family/friends: 0
“I am official in Kenya! It is unreal. The trees are gorgeous. The surroundings are like nothing I’ve ever seen.”
“Despite everything, these people are crazy happy”
“I saw a lot of poverty today, women and children carrying water jugs, people living on the side of the streets”
“My reality from home is become more and more distant and my reality here is becoming increasingly real”