Children playing at the daycare project in Cape Town

“Just smile and be happy, be open to everyone.”


UBELONG Snapshot
Name: Alexander Bross
Age: 19
Hometown: Hannover, Germany
Nationality: Germany
Languages spoken: German, English (advanced)
High school: IGS Roderbruch Hannover
Volunteer Abroad: Teaching Physical Education in Cape Town, South Africa
Duration: 10 weeks
Start month: March 2018

Why did you decide to become a UBELONG Volunteer?
UBELONG was not a “normal” organisation. The website and the description of the projects were really clear and so I had a good impression from the beginning. It was good to know that UBELONG is a non-profit organisation because I saw organisations which exactly offered the same project but you had to pay the triple. UBELONG gives you the chance to have a really nice time, with very good support for comparatively less money.

What was your impact on your volunteer project?
I was a teacher assistant in an primary school. My task was to help the children when they were doing their tasks. I looked over their shoulders and gave them advice. In their free-time, I was there to play with them. I would say my biggest impact was that I made the children happy and gave them some closeness. It was easy because the children were super friendly and respectful. I didn’t have to come to them, they were always coming to me.

What were your major challenges?
In the beginning, for me, it was to speak English all the time but after two weeks this wasn’t a problem anymore. I was also a little bit uncertain when I was standing in front of the class and like 30 children are looking at you. But you really get used to it and I didn’t expect that I would have a good relationship with the children so easily.

In a sentence or less, best advice for fitting in with the local culture?
Just smile and be happy, be open to everyone and everyone will smile at you too.

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Related post:
Meet Buyi Zhu, an analyst from Canada, who volunteered with UBELONG in the caregiving project, in Cape Town, South Africa.