Volunteering for the first time can be a nerve-wracking experience, filled with loads of questions and concerns about how to volunteer, where to volunteer, and what a volunteer placement will be like. As a first-time volunteer back in 2008, I had so many questions running through my head, especially after had made the decision to volunteer in St Lucia, South Africa. Now a three-time volunteer and former manager of these same projects, I’ve found some of the questions I had originally wondered about were easier than others to answer. So to help you out before you head out on our first volunteering adventure, allow me to divulge some of the (sometimes embarrassing) questions that I was too afraid to ask all those years back. “What is a volunteer?” Reading all the materials sent to you by African Impact will give you everything you need to know about volunteering on the ground and what to expect. However, each volunteer takes away different lessons and experiences from their time on projects. If you put your all into project life and volunteer work you’ll get even more out of the work you’ve done – physically and emotionally! “Will I make it there ok?” Deciding where to volunteer is always tough – especially when there are so many amazing places to see when you travel to Africa. There are also always pressures from parents and friends about how ‘dangerous’ Africa can be. But with African Impact there’s no worry – a representative is always there to greet you at the arrivals gate with a sign and a smile. “Will I be safe?” Safety is the #1 priority for all those who work on for African Impact. Safety briefings are part of the induction and orientation that volunteers receive upon their arrival, but in general there’s nothing to be too weary of. In fact, the communities where projects operate are welcoming and friendly to our volunteers and you’ll feel at home straight away. “Will there be elephants in my backyard?” Sorry to say, but no. Despite super-sized protected areas (Kruger itself is larger than the state of Israel), there will be no elephants, rhinos or cheetah roaming free around your volunteer house. Although you may see hippos, monkeys and a variety of birds from your home, and there will be plenty of time to view animals in their natural habitats, there’s no chance you’ll wake up to a lion on your front doorstep. “Will I make friends?” Of course you will – in fact, you’ll make friends for life. With so many like-minded people from all over the world living under one roof, you’ll be able to create bonds that will span continents. We would love to help answer more of your questions about volunteering in Africa! Feel free to pick up the phone and call us for free on UK: 0800 098 8440 or US: 1800 606 7185 or drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.