Read about Annie, 18 from Scotland, who taught swimming in Port Elizabeth
Why did you decide to head over to South Africa to coach sports?
Going to do this in South Africa with underprivileged children was a new challenge for me, in so many ways. It was also to gain some life experience and see the world from a different perspective. To experience a new culture and meet new and fantastic people from all around the world!
What were your expectations?
I expected to have an amazing time, to teach amazing children and to make good friends with other volunteers - but I didn't expect to have as an amazing time as I did. I expected to gain confidence in my coaching, by expanding and learning new coaching drills, which I did! I also expected to have to learn to adapt sessions a lot depending on the facilities available, the equipment, the weather and the children’s different abilities - which I did too.
What were the highlights of your coaching experience?
The highlight of my coaching experience was when we had our final session with a group of children who required additional support. There was one boy in particular who I had worked with from the start, he was around 14 years old and could not swim at all, he had no confidence in himself or the water (unlike most of his classmates). By the final session, he managed to confidently swim half the distance of the pool completely without my help multiple times. This had to be the best feeling! I was so proud and it felt like my time with him and all of his hard work had really paid off! It was such a proud and rewarding moment for me - and him!
What have you learned from your experience in South Africa?
I've learned so much from my experience in South Africa. First off, it was my first time away from home, so I've become so much more independent and confident.
What advice would you give others thinking of doing Sports Coaching South Africa?
I’ve learned so much about myself and the world, and knowing what you're doing for these children and how much they appreciate it, is the most amazing feeling. I can't imagine anybody who wouldn't want to feel that!