Why would you volunteer in South Africa instead of just visiting as a tourist?
Schedule and Responsibilities
If you are part of a volunteering program you will have some kind of schedule of where and when you need to be at your chosen project. There there will be certain responsibilities placed on you as well.
As a tourist you won’t be stuck to a set schedule, unless you are traveling in an organized group. You can go as you please and spend your days visiting tourist attractions.
As a volunteer generally you will have more time in the country of your choice so you don’t need to rush to do activities and see all the sightings you want. You can choose to take a weekend off and explore the surroundings with other volunteers without planning everything as you would as a tourist..
Your living situation
As a tourist you will most likely stay in a backpackers, guesthouse or a hotel. The place you will stay in is well organized and most likely full of other travelers who are there for a short period of time.
As a volunteer you will live in a our volunteer house with other volunteers; you will actually experience living somewhere instead of just passing through.
Time spent in one place
There is a big contrast between tourists and volunteers when it comes to time spent in one place. As a volunteer you are most likely to bind yourself to a place for a longer period time.
As a tourist you move on after you’ve seen enough of the place you stay in. You are not bound to responsibilities so you are free to pack your things up and leave.
When you stay longer in one place you will get to know the city better and develop a bond with certain people you meet.
Making local friends
When you are traveling you are most likely to do this with your friends or family so you already have a set group of people around you. Even if you are traveling alone the fact that you are only staying in the same place for a few days will make it difficult to develop friendships with locals. When you are staying in the same city for a longer while, naturally this will be easier.
Importance of language skills
As a tourist you will do fine with the basics of another language. As long as you can ask for directions to the nearest bathroom you will do just fine.
As a volunteer it might come in handy to actually learn to speak the local language as it will help you achieve more with the local folks. We see that most of our non native speaking volunteers make huge progress with their language skills and improve their English on a daily basis.
Types of expectations
It’s important to think about what you want to get out of your experience abroad. If you want to develop yourself and others around you while absorbing the local culture and take your time to see the main attractions, join us as a volunteer! You wil not regret it and look back on this life experience as a time where you learned a lot and developed lasting relationships.