Travelling is a luxury, not only because of the money it costs, but because you will carry the memories with you forever. You will forever remember the first time you set foot in a different country. Being a tourist is a wonderful experience, especially if you can extend your stay and live amongst the local people for a while. Which is why coming to learn English in Cape Town is such a wonderfully enriching experience.
However you will probably notice within the first few days of your stay that not everyone in Cape Town is as fortunate as you are. Africa in general faces many challenges and South Africa is no exception. I believe as a traveller there is immense value in responsible tourism as an individual. And that a great way to give a little something back, especially if you are living in one place for a while, is to get involved in a volunteering programme. Even though your main goal might be to learn English, helping those in need is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself into a native English speaking environment even further.
There are many ways in which you can help make a difference. Not only in the lives of the people in Cape Town, but also the animals, if that is something you are more passionate about. DARG is a “pro-life, non-profit organisation that rescues, cares for, sterilises and rehomes previously abused, neglected and abandoned cats and dogs.”
As you will not be able to commit to adopting a pet, why not make a dog’s day and take him for a walk? The shelter is always in need of food for the animals, so why not head out to beautiful Hout Bay and drop off a bag or two?
If you have an afternoon to spare I would strongly suggest visiting the Maitland Children’s Hospital in Newlands. They specialise in the medical and surgical treatment of children with physical disability due to disease or accident. Here you will have the opportunity to help by playing with the children and brightening up their long days spent in hospital beds. Take a book with you and practise your English reading skills by reading to the kids!
I have only mentioned two organisations who need your help, and because there are many more that deserve to be mentioned I will write this blog over two parts. Although children and animals came to mind first I would like to take a more in depth look at all the options you have in around this beautiful city of ours.