Projects Abroad was exactly the organization I was looking for when I was designing my gap year before college. It is a competent organization that is available during the most stressful parts of traveling: international flights and orientation to a foreign country. Then when you are comfortable with your new home, they give you the freedom to explore on your own volition.
My time in South Africa is a perfect depiction of that. I was in a challenging but rewarding volunteer project working at a human rights/law office that provides free services, where I grew to the responsibility handed to me. It was an incredible experience, especially my visits to two women’s shelters. Talking with them on their constitutional rights and how they can use the law in their favor was enlightening for all of us; learning what was common knowledge and what was not interested me a lot, since it aligned with what I wanted to do with my life.
But what I also remember about my time in South Africa is the incredible array of experiences I had outside of the project. From shark cage diving with Great White sharks to cuddling with a blanket and some friends at an outdoor theater in Cape Town, and the added thrill bungee jumping off a bridge after a wildlife safari, I had many opportunities to explore the Cape Town area. The perfect balance between being involved and helping the community you are in while also enjoying everything the community has to offer is what makes Projects Abroad such a good choice.