Travelling solo across the world is by far the most empowering thing I have ever done. It has opened up so many doors far beyond the realms of my career goals. I originally travelled from the small town of Luck, Wisconsin to Cape Town, South Africa for a marketing internship with African Impact. This was my first time travelling solo, and I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t scared out of my mind. Finally after two long days filled with wandering aimlessly through airports and flying almost 10,000 miles, I was greeted with smiles by a friendly woman telling me nothing but the amazing experiences I would encounter. I arrived at the intern house jetlagged and I couldn’t have been happier to find a warm bed waiting for me. This day seems like only yesterday, but so many countless memories have happened since. Despite being in one of the most beautiful cities in the world, my experiences wouldn’t have been as incredible if it wasn’t for the wonderful people I have been able to meet along the way. Never have I met so many passionate employees, volunteers, and interns. Everyone involved with African Impact puts their heart and soul into everything they do, and it is an indescribable feeling to be a part of such a remarkable organization. My two roommates who are also my fellow interns quickly became family, and the volunteer house was always so quick to welcome us with open arms as we would join them on their weekend adventures.
Over the past four weeks as an intern I have experienced what happens behind the scenes at the office, as well as a volunteer on project. At the office I get to be a part of the daily activities, as well as critique my marketing skills that are tailored to my interests. It was also an incredible experience stepping out of my comfort zone to work with the education programs. I mostly taught pre-schoolers, and being able to experience the laughs, smiles and energy pouring out of these children was truly invaluable. I learned rather quickly that children are children regardless of location or language. Seeing the children completely content and happy despite their circumstances is a constant and much needed reminder that happiness will never be what you’ve got- It is completely a state of mind. It is the most rewarding program I have ever been a part of, and I am so thankful I get to be an active volunteer on such a meaningful and sustainable project.
Apart from intern and volunteer work, I have also been trying to take advantage of all that Cape Town has to offer. Extreme sports, safaris, local shops and restaurants, wine tours, the possibilities are limitless! I have much to check off the bucket list before I depart, and I will be trying to immerse myself in as much as I possibly can. I have been given the opportunity of a lifetime and can’t wait to see how the rest of my journey unfolds.
To find out how you can follow in Ashley's footsteps take a look at the program information here or email firstname.lastname@example.org