Twenty-year-old Colleen McGilpin from the United States embarked on the adventure of a lifetime this year when she volunteered with the animals of various shelters in Cape Town, South Africa. Colleen was born deaf, but that didn't stop her from pursuing her passion for volunteering with animals. Thanks for sharing your story Colleen! After a long flight from the States to South Africa, I wasn’t sure what to expect. It was my first time flying overseas alone. I had to change planes four times, and it was very exhausting! I had never volunteered abroad before, but it was my dream to volunteer with African Impact. I wanted to volunteer in Africa for a long time, and I finally had a chance in August this year! I think that it has surprised some people how I travelled so far alone without being able to hear. I was born deaf, but I love being independent. Once I arrived at the volunteer house, I was very excited. I met so many friendly people. The house was really neat, and there were people from all over the world! I had three great roommates who were from Belgium. I decided to volunteer on the Veterinary Assistance project in Cape Town, South Africa. I grew up with many animals in my life and I was hoping that I could learn from the project, since I want to work with animals or in healthcare in the future. I spent my time volunteering at TEARS (The Emma Animal Rescue Society) and Wenga Cat Farm in Cape Town, and I loved every minute of it! I helped with dog walking, feeding, cleaning kennels, assisting veterinarians during surgery, and many other exciting things. My favorite activity was volunteering at the cat farm, because the place was really fun. I met so many wonderful people while being on the project and learned so many new things! I have great memories from my time in Cape Town. It was absolutely an unforgettable experience! I went shark cage diving, hiked Lions Head Mountain, toured Cape of Good Hope and visited Boulders Beach filled with penguins! I never had any problem communicating with other volunteers or anyone from my project. I made new friends and I had a lot of fun in South Africa while volunteering. I even turned twenty years old in Cape Town, and the other volunteers surprised me with a birthday cake! I hope to be back someday. African Impact is a wonderful organization and the people that work in the organisation are inspiring. They love to help people and animals in Africa and to be able to make a real difference. I feel so lucky to be part of the organization and it has become a big part in my life. I will never forget my trip to Africa. About the Author: Colleen traveled to Cape Town, South Africa all the way from Massachusetts, USA. She was born deaf and is the only person in her family who can’t hear. She uses sign language and writing to communicate with her family and friends. Colleen grew up with animals and has always wanted a career working with them. She hopes to become a veterinarian once she finishes with school in her hometown. She also loves to work in healthcare and currently volunteers at a hospital near her home assisting nurses. She loved spending her two weeks in Cape Town and she will never forget it. Colleen hopes to be back to Africa and to volunteer with the African Impact again in the future.