Channel your inner (super) hero

Written by Jackie Bischof
19 October 2007

The greatest thing about being a student is probably the three-month-long summer holidays. Hours of tanning, drinking and partying lie ahead for Witsies, a well deserved rest after months of cramming and stressing.

But unless you’re a natural born sloth, the thought of three months of holiday gets a bit tiring after the first few weeks. With nothing to do except become a Playstation expert and get roasted at the beach, you might start looking for alternative options. You could work as a bar lady and save bucks for your awesome tattoo. You might want to go to the UK and get drunk in miserable weather. Or, if you’re one of those types, you could buy your textbooks early and get cracking on next year’s work.

Sounds really great, but Vuvuzela has a better idea. What about doing something that would let you have fun, make you feel good and most likely help you score that cherrie you’ve been eyeing since July holidays? Volunteer work may not sound like the most exciting thing in the world – but read on to see that it’s more then just feel-good stuff.

Volunteer Jo’burg
The City of Johannesburg has a list that runs a mile long of organisations needing volunteers. Homes for abandoned children, wildlife rehabilitation centers, inner city initiatives (see sidebar) and programs for addicts are some of the places looking for energetic students to help out. You could also show off your bravado and muscles by volunteering as a firefighter, or joining the community policing forum. Just make sure someone takes photos. Visit http://www.joburg.org.za/help/voluntary.stm for more information.

Volunteer South Africa
Fancy getting a tan while helping others out? Teach environmental education in rural East London schools, or hang out with disadvantaged kids in Cape Town in between tanning. You’ll have to pay to work there (accommodation and meals are part of the package) but it sure beats a holiday with Aunt Millie down at the coast where you have to worry about coming in after a heavy night out. You’re also guaranteed to meet other like-minded volunteers who fancy cocktails after a hard day’s work. Go to http://www.africaimpact.com to get more information.

Volunteer Africa or further abroad
If you have a little bit more money and are keen to travel, why not volunteer in Africa, or – The World?! Run a mobile clinic in Kenya, rehabilitate lions in Zimbabwe or look after dolphins in Mozambique for fun. (http://www.africaimpact.com) Alternatively, if you fancy traveling further a field, or Dad’s paying, try saving the rainforest in Costa Rica, playing with pandas in China or teaching English in Sri Lanka (www.responsibletourism.com, www.studentflights.co.za and www.statravel.co.za)

These feel-good holidays allow you to meet you new people, do a good deed, travel and look great on your CV. Sure beats soggy fish and chips in a London pub, or a late night shift at the Dros!


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