How can you spend your time at home most efficiently during the Corona pandemic? Nicolas from Germany completed a Remote Internship in a Tanzanian microfinance organization. Read about Nicolas’ experience as a remote intern, in times when international travel is not easily possible.
Nicolas from Germany completed his remote internship at WEECE, a microfinance organization in Tanzania. The organization supports so-called “Village Community Banks” (Vicobas). These are an important instrument of development work, as they enable people who do not have access to conventional bank accounts and funds to finance their agricultural, small business and education projects for their children.
“The internship was a total success for me. First of all, I was able to improve my English language skills. I attended Skype meetings three times a week and worked with various members of the organization on topics related to microfinances (introduction to the country of Tanzania, profile of the organization, goals, challenges of the organization WEECE etc.).
I learned about the principle of microfinances and the importance of VICOBA organisations. We held small discussions and exchanged experiences at all of the meetings.
Due to the current situation (Corona), I was unfortunately not able to intern on-site and take on larger tasks. However, with the knowledge I acquired during my internship, I think I can effectively take on tasks on site in the future. Therefore, I plan to do an internship in Tanzania as soon as possible, once the current situation has improved. ”
Nicolas from Germany
Here you can find all information about Nicolas’ internship. Register now and use your time at home effectively!
Pia from Germany completed part of her medical elective at the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar. Here she reports on cultural differences in medicine, a typical daily routine in the hospital and how she spent her free time in Zanzibar.
Which internship did you do abroad and where?
I completed part of my mandatory elective at the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar, Tanzania. I went to Zanzibar together with a lovely colleague of mine whom I met in med school. I worked in the hospital for fifteen days and completed the remaining one and a half months of my elective in German hospitals. At German medical universities, we have to complete electives in medical outpatient facilities, which I chose to completed in Germany as well. At the Mnazi Mmoja Hospital in Zanzibar I spent most of my elective at the pediatric ward but I also got to observe the work in the maternity ward every now and then.
During which semester did you do your medical elective abroad?
I did my medical elective during the term break of my 6th semester.
Please describe why you decided to do a medical internship / elective abroad.
I decided to do part of my mandatory elective abroad for many reasons: On the one hand, my friends in med school who had already done a medical elective abroad totally recommended this experience to me not only to develop my skills from a medical but also from a personal point of view. Some of these friends had completed their elective in Zanzibar and were absolutely thrilled about the experience. I’ve always wanted to get to know the medical system in another country and Africa was particularly interesting for me. I wanted to learn about the different health systems worldwide and be able to draw a comparison between Germany and a (developing) country. Another aspect that encouraged me to do my elective abroad was that I wanted to learn to be more independent and to improve my medical communication skills in English. And last but not least I was hoping to meet new people and to make international friends.
How did you come across World Unite!?
I found World Unite! on the internet. Their informative website spoke to me and after I had sent my inquiry, I quickly got a response from a team member who answered all my questions. I liked the fact that I could reach my World Unite! contact on WhatsApp and never had to wait long for a reply. Two friends of mine had completed their electives in Zanzibar through World Unite! before and I knew the organization was trustful and that everything had worked out well for them. Furthermore, I did not find many agencies offering electives in Zanzibar and I definitely wanted to go there, so the decision was easy to make!
Which departments of the hospital did you work in? Did you stay in one department the whole time or rotate through multiple departments and why?
I chose not to rotate through different departments and spent my entire elective in the pediatric department. However, the hospital staff encouraged me to visit the maternity ward and the delivery room from time to time to get even more exposure. I’ve also heard of other medical and nursing students or who rotated through various departments during their stay. However, in my opinion this does only make sense for a longer stay. For me, the best way to spend my 15 elective days was to stay in one department. The pediatric ward at Mnazi Moja Hospital has two floors which means that you can still somehow rotate from floor to floor internally. For example, the children in the monitoring room and premature babies were downstairs. The children with malnutrition and diarrhea were on the 2nd floor. I was able to see and experience a broad range of diseases and illnesses. Every day, there was an open consultation hour for children with acute diseases where a different specialist was present every day. Overall, I can really recommend pediatrics for an elective abroad!
Describe a typical day at the hospital, including your work days, working hours and your tasks.
Working in Zanzibar is more relaxed than in European countries. The doctors are very flexible about the working hours and won’t tell you how much time you need to spend at the hospital. It’s not a problem if you would like to leave earlier on some days, but it’s also totally possible to stay for the entire day, to observe the routines of the health care staff and also to carry out some tasks independently.
The day starts in the morning with an early meeting with the pediatricians. I was welcome to join the meeting and to actively involve. After the meeting, they would go back to the ward and start their morning patient visits. I usually accompanied the doctors to all rooms where they would take a close look at each child and do examinations, if needed. Blood sampling and venous catheters are usually done by the nurses. The doctors then make a diagnosis and suggest how to continue the therapy. The doctors usually take a lot of time for each child and the parents. I was lucky to have a great supervising doctor who was always happy to answer and translate all questions. Most patients only understand Swahili and no English, which made it difficult for me to get a detailed medical history from them on my own. Med schools in Tanzania teach in English and local students therefore speak very good English.
Mostly, the morning visits ended between eleven and twelve and depending on how you felt, you could either spend the rest of the day at the beach or stay at the hospital a little longer and see if you were needed for more tasks. I have rarely stayed longer than noon, since there are fewer medical activities in the afternoon.
What did you learn during your elective abroad?
I learned a lot from my medical elective. It was less of technical knowledge for my studies, but a lot of knowledge for my future life that I gained. As I had hoped, I made many new friends and also improved my English skills a lot. Honestly, I was quite proud of myself being able to manage my elective and everything related to it on my own and in a foreign country. African culture and life in an African country have made me appreciate a lot of things here in Germany, for instance not to take seemingly normal things for granted.
What cultural differences have you observed between the medical systems / treatments / doctor-patient relationships etc. in your host country and your home country?
It was very exciting to see other diseases compared to Germany. For example, there were several children with sickle cell anemia in the pediatric ward, a disease which we rarely have in Germany. Another common disease for children in Zanzibar is malnutrition, whereas in Germany we struggle with obesity and high blood pressure. I also learned how different our medical resources, diagnostic and therapeutic options in Germany are compared to Zanzibar.
If you break your leg in Germany you might be able to play soccer and do sports only a few weeks after. Locals in Africa say that they don’t dare to play football because if they break their leg they may never be able to walk again. On the one hand because the standard in the local hospitals is very different and on the other hand many cannot afford the therapy.
How did you spend your free time in Zanzibar?
There are endless opportunities for leisure activities only in Stone Town/Zanzibar Town. Locals will be happy to give you recommendations, so I’d like to encourage you to speak to people and to mingle with the local community. Always remember to bargain if you want to shop on local markets. If you want to travel on the island, my recommendation is not to book the standard tours for tourists. Zanzibar Town has a Dala Dala (public mini bus) connection to almost everywhere on the island. From here you can do a spice tour, visit the Jozani Forest or take a boat to Prison Island. I highly recommend the night market and the numerous bars in Stone Town where you can even sing Karaoke. Once per week, World Unite! arranged a joint event for all volunteers and interns from their different projects, e.g. a meet-up for coffee in the afternoon or a pizza dinner. It’s not mandatory to join, but great fun! I highly recommend you to plan in some extra time after your placement and to travel the island. I would totally do my elective on Zanzibar again at any time and recommend it to anyone!
Visit us on our website to read more about Pia’s placement on Zanzibar and how you can apply!
Taking an English course in Zanzibar – is that even possible ?! Certainly! Tilmann from Germany took a 30 hour English course on this island paradise and enjoyed his stay to the fullest. Here he tells you about his experiences.
Tilmann from Germany about his stay:
The support from Abdi, my World Unite! Coordinator in Zanzibar, was excellent. He picked me up at the taxi stand, took me to my host family, took me on a tour through Stonetown, and then introduced me to my language teacher.
I really appreciated the SIM card that I got from Abdi right at the beginning that allowed me to use the internet and to make calls. Throughout may stay Abdi was always available and – if we happened to meet in Stonetown – ready to talk. I felt very well looked after by him.
Sarah, my language teacher, totally adjusted her teaching to my needs. She found out about abou my strenghts and weaknesses in English very quickly and took it from there. Sarah is a very pleasant person, is incredibly flexible in terms of times, meeting points and learning content. And most importantly, the lessons with her are so much fun, so it was never just studying vocabulary and grammar. In addition, she has an incredibly extensive knowledge of the island, the history of Tanzania and Zanzibar and also about the current political events there. So the 30 hours with her were much more than “just” learning English. I can only say thank you again and warmly recommend her as a language teacher.
I had my accommodation with Mama Munna in Stone Town. An incredibly nice family and very interesting woman. The food was simple, but absolutely top notch. The insights into family life were unique and unforgettable for me. The room I stayed in was very simple. Ultimately, however, completely sufficient, because in the end you only sleep there. If you are looking for Western European comfort, you should better go to a hotel, but then miss a very exciting and above all unforgettable experience of living with a local family.
Last but not least, I want to thank World Unite! for the very good care before and during my stay. The arrangements with you worked perfectly and the instructions and information on the homepage are complete and accurate. At no time did I feel that there was a lack of care or information. Thank you very much for the great work. I will recommend World Unite! to anyone who’s looking for a learning experience abroad.
Here you can find out how to register for an English course in Zanzibar.
Can you imagine to live inmidst of the stunning nature of a South African National Park? To join the only exclusively female anti-poaching unit wordwide to protect the animals in the park? Or to monitor the fascinating animal and plant life of South Africa? Manuela from Germany did exactly that! Read about her experience volunteering in a South African National Park below.
The Balule Camp is a wildlife reserve which is part of the Greater Kruger National Park in South Africa. It is known for its abundance of wildlife, including the “Big Five” (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo). Tourist safaris are organized within the wildlife reserve, but it is largely used for research work and so you will find many doctoral and master students there as well.
The projects’ main tasks are connected to collecting data for their research. During my time, these included looking for snares, finding rhino clues in the reserve and attaching cameras to marula trees. What I liked best was the simplicity of the camp and the closeness to nature – I would return there anytime!
I really enjoyed my time there and I am still missing the camp today.
Manuela from Germany
Join us at the Balule Camp in the Greater Kruger National Park and apply now!
Isabel from Germany totally fell in love with our Mother Nature Camp in Zanzibar! We can totally relate! Setting out on an adventure in the tropical rainforest and helping to conserve the local nature and the environment on Zanzibar at the same time, is something truely amazing to do! You can read Isabel’s review here.
Isabel from Germany:
“I really liked the atmosphere at the Mother Nature Conservation Camp and that you build your own little community of local team members and foreign volunteers there. During the day you work, in the evenings you talk, play cards or other games, or stay in your tent and have some time for yourself.
The staff was extremely helpful. They even help you organizing tours, trips and excursions for your leisure time. The food in the camp is quite good.
I like that you also work together with locals and get in close touch with the local community. Everybody in the camp cares about the environment, nature, wildlife, children and the neighborhood. It’s interesting, that each day is a little different, depending on the volunteering activities that you’d like to involve in. It helps when you stay flexible, open minded and watch World Unite!’s preparation videos to get a good feeling of what to expect.
Be part of Sambhali Trust: We act and make a difference! Carin from Germany actively decided to continue her volunteer work in India during the Covid 19 pandemic. In our blog she speaks about the effects of the pandemic on the lives of people in India and why her work as a volunteer is particularly needed now.
It is late in the evening and I am sitting in our volunteer home, the Dev Bagh Ressort, in the middle of the Indian desert Thar in Rajasthan (approx. 1.5 hours by car from Jodhpur), under the beautiful Indian sky and under thousands of shiny stars. My heart is still pounding and there’s an almost mysthical atmosphere all around the place, with the full moon seeming within the reach of my hands.
We have just returned from our first basic-food-distribution. Our minds are still full of these experiences, but we can’t yet talk about them because this ride through desert has touched us so deeply.
We just visited the poorest families of Rajasthan in their little huts. Huts with only a fire pit and some firewood. In some there might be a couple of blankets hanging on the walls, which will be spread out on the floor at night to sleep on. When I entered one of these huts, my hair accidentally touched a toothbrush neatly tucked into the thatched roof, waiting for its owner to use it in the evening.
Some families might have a few goats which can give milk to the children in the mornings or a dog that guards the night sleep. The heat is everywhere and the storms blow the sand over your body, face and eyes.
Here in rural Rajasthan, the COVID-19 pandemic immediately had an existential impact: The quarry was closed for weeks due to the lockdown. Many fathers who provide for their families lost their jobs and there are no such things as unemployment aid or short-time work. The children cannot longer help to generate income, so their low earnings are also lost. Families were deprived of their livelihood overnight.
Sambhali Trust quickly recognized this critical situation in the Setrawa desert region and sat down with the local officials. The poorest families were identified by field workers and a mission to provide basic-food-packages was started. A team of foreign and Indian volunteers acquires flour, lentils, sugar, salt, tea and spices every day and packs them in 14-day rations. A food-package costs around 15 € and provides for a family of 5-6 people with the most important basic food for half a month.
Let’s look back a couple of weeks ago – our live in India before Covid-19:
In the middle of January I traveled to India / Rajasthan to support underprivileged children and women as a volunteer. Sambhali Trust welcomed us like a family. Sambhali Trust’s projects in rural Rajasthan are called “SETU” and consist of several missions which we want to build up.
In the morning we taught English in government schools – in a completely different way than the Indian school system usually does it. We tried to spread the joy of learning with songs, games, learning videos and workshops every day. We would also meet our students on the way to school or in the afternoons during the sunset walk to the dunes. Here, too, we would play “English” and explore the environment of the Thar desert together.
It’s touching to see that most people here can only live a very simple live or even live in poverty. I didn’t picture it like that before coming to India. The children are pure bliss: lovely, eager to learn and full of laughter and joy.
In the late afternoons we always offered additional English lessons for all children and teenagers in the area at our volunteer home Dev Bagh. The students walked several kilometers to get to our place right after school. In groups divided according to age, we practiced English dialogues, played educational games or watched motivational movies (e.g. “I am Kalaam”, Nelson Mandela) and discussed them in English.
During the golden hour, our field was always transformed into a sport and activity community-ground. We played cricket, volleyball, football, organized races and learned Indian dances with the boys and girls.
With the lockdown, all of this could no longer take place and the Sambhali Trust projects had to be shut down. For us volunteers, one question had to be answered: How do we personally want to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic?
Why I decided to stay in India during the Corona pandemic
One thing is for sure: during a crisis, you need a family that stands beside you – a family were people care for one another and support each other. Therefore, many European families have recommended the volunteers to travel back home. However, a team of more than ten of us decided to continue supporting the Sambhali Trust missions on site.
Govind Singh Rathore and his (extended) family treated us volunteers as if we were part of the family right from the beginning. With the beginning of Covid-19, we all moved into self-isolation at the Dev Bagh Resort in the Thar Desert where our community was even strengthened.
We are provided with the latest information at all times, we play and laugh together, we have conversations in up to five languages, we cook together and share the housework, we exercise together and enjoy nature – and we fight together against COVID-19-Pandemic. Side by side, from heart to heart.
Hygiene and safety measures for us and others
We take good care of ourselves and stick to the common hygiene and safety measures: keeping physical distance to others, wearing a mask, washing and disinfecting hands, no coughing or sneezing at each other.
In addition to the basic-food-distribution for 251 families, Sambhali Trust also provides the residents with information about preventive health care and has e.g. soaps distributed to 810 families. The national press reports intensively on our projects.
We have now provided the families with the food-packages for the third time; we are grateful for international support and that we can help personally on site. Every day after lunch, we pack the food-packages together in the resort and send out our daily changing team with good blessings. At sunset we are waiting for the returners, receive them with disinfectant (insider joke: our joy, our fun cannot be taken away through COVID-19) and spicy masala chai and hear, while sitting in the warm sand, the reports about the gratitude and open hearts of the locals in our area – the friends, families and relatives of our laughing students.
I am grateful to be part of Sambhali Trust: We act and make a difference! Fighting against COVID-19-Pandemic globally – connecting internationally!
Carin from Germany, in India
Here you can read all about Carin’s volunteer organisation.
Lina from Germany has decided to volunteer in the picturesque city of Léon in Nicaragua. Today she talks about her tasks and why she would like to come back to Nicaragua soonagain!
Even though my stay unfortunately ended much earlier than I had planned due to the current circumstances caused by the corona virus, the three months that I spent in Nicaragua were a great time. Of course, when I arrived I was very nervous both in the host family and in the project, but I was warmly welcomed everywhere and felt very involved after just a few weeks.
Lina volunteered in the “Minibiblioteca”. This project is committed to making children and adults want to read, and offers pre-school tuition and afternoon and free time programs for children whose parents work full time.
One of my tasks was to help out at the Montessori preschool in the mornings, which is attended by 3 to 5 year old children. The children and I got on very well and I learned at least as much as they did in the 3 months I was there.
I will never forget this great experience and will try to come back to Nicaragua soon.
Lina from Germany
Here you can find all information about Lina’s volunteer project.
World Unite! participant Carina from Germany made a conscious decision to stay in Myanmar during the Corona pandemic and to continue her volunteer work. In our blog she tells about her everyday life in Myanmar during the pandemic and why she decided to stay in Myanmar.
I got to know Myanmar in April 2019 as an open and friendly country for tourists, and was quickly fascinated by the Burmese culture. At the time, I never thought I would come back as a volunteer a year later. However, I would never thought that there would be a global pandemic like the Corona virus either.
In a nutshell: I quit my job at the end of 2019, sold my car and sublet my apartment because I needed this hard cut to start my new adventure freely and without any responsibilities back home. This was one of the reasons why I chose to stay in Myanmar during the Corona crisis.
Carina volunteers in Yangon, Myanmar with the organization “Thant Myanmar” in the area of environmental protection and plastic recycling. You can read more about their job site here.
I arrived in Yangon on March 4th, 2020. The country was still corona-free, so to speak, and I slowly started to navigate my way around in the city and at work.
A month later I found myself preparing loads of copies of my passport and my visa! Many things had changed because of the corona pandemic and as a foreigner I had to register with the local immigration office as soon as possible. Many things related to the pandemic happened within a very short time here, and decisions and formalities had to be made and dealt with very quickly.
The beginning of Corona and the flood of information
At the beginning I only heard rumors that the country would close its borders in late March. When you are new to the city and do not speak the local language, it can sometimes be quite difficult to get information. All I knew at the time was that there were no confirmed corona infections in Myanmar yet, and that an official government conference on Coronavirus had been announced to take place in the following days.
A colleague and her boyfriend were the first ones I knew to leave the country in a bit of a rush. They were in contact with the Danish embassy, which recommended that all Danish citizens leave the country immediately. I then registered with the German embassy, just to be up to date and so – should any measures be taken – the embassy would know that I was here at all.
The following things then all happened within a week: The German Embassy sent emails almost daily asking German travelers in Myanmar to end their stay early. In my apartment, which I had just moved into, I was now alone because my roommates had already traveled back home.
I was particularly unsettled by the fact that the advice from my surroundings changed almost every day: from the well-intentioned advice that you should leave the country as quickly as possible to the information that you could actually stay, I basically heard everything. One can imagine that this back and forth and the flood of information can be very unsettling.
A decision is pending: leave or stay?
Knowing that there are only a few flights back home and you don’t know when you can go back was a big factor of uncertainty for me.
In any case, one thing was certain: I had to find out for myself whether I wanted to stay in Myanmar and continue my volunteer work or cancel my stay, and best of all before the borders closed and the German Embassy carried out the return flights.
I then spoke a lot to my family and friends, informed myself about the current situation in Germany, considered my options and spoke to many people in Yangon. In the end, I decided to stay in Myanmar, no matter what.
Some of you might think that my decision was brave, I don’t see it that way. I simply feel very safe in my apartment on the 8th floor, I can walk to work, keep a good distance from other people and if I feel uncomfortable, I can stay at home and work remotely.
In Germany where I no longer have a job, I would have to move back in with my parents at the age of 28 – during the quarantine period, when you are forced to stay at home and avoid direct contact with people outside the household.
The backing from home as a motivator to stay in Myanmar
What finally consolidated my decision was the support of my family and friends. No matter how I decided, they would always be by my side – a very important factor for me. During my time in Myanmar so far, I have often heard that the reason why many expats to finally return to their home country is because of pressure from friends, colleagues, families, companies, organizations, embassies, authorities, etc.
If my volunteering organisation had asked me to go home, what would have kept me in Myanmar? If my family lived in fear for me every day, would I still have stayed? If the most important group of friends is gradually leaving and you suddenly feel alone, should you still stay? I think that many expats and volunteers were confronted with similar experiences, even if they originally intended to stay in Myanmar. I know from stories that some of them later regretted their decision to leave because of Corona.
Sometimes I also wonder whether it was the right decision to stay in Myanmar, for example when locals are suddenly afraid of me, since in the beginning the media mostly spoke of infected foreigners or returnees. Or if you are mobbed on the street because you do not wear a face mask (even when you did not have to wear a mask).
What helps me to master the situation – my contacts
At this point I have to mention that I have done everything so well so far because I have an incredible amount of help from some very nice people here: my housekeeper Aunty, who always takes care of me and is always concerned about my wellbeing; my neighbor, who accompanied me on every visit to the immigration authorities and sometimes even helped out with translating and managing the bureaucratic jungle for hours, only to repair my air conditioning system the next day; and my colleagues from Thant Myanmar, who will always inform me of any new government regulations, give me tips on visa extensions and document applications and who will always help me translate if the Burmese language should give me a hard time. Fortunately, there are great people all over the world.
Covid-19 in Myanmar vs. Covid-19 in Germany
In the past few weeks, I have become particularly aware that there is not much of a difference between a Covid 19 infection in Germany and an infection in Myanmar. In Myanmar, medical care and the health system are clearly not at the same level as in Germany, and of course I hope that I will not have the coronavirus and will not have to go to a hospital.
But you will catch the virus the same way in Myanmar as in Germany, through contact with infected people. The most important rules here are the same as everywhere else in the world: avoid crowds, stay at home if possible, wash hands and wear masks outside the home to prevent others from being infected.
So I’ve been working from home in my apartment since Thingyan (Burmese New Year) and only go out to shop groceries every now and then. Sometimes the quarantine does of course drive me crazy. Especially when a pick-up drives through the streets every day and announces new curfews and government regulations in Burmese through the megaphone and of course I don’t understand anything. Or when a cleaning team moves through the streets and sprays a mixture of bleach and disinfectant, which you better keep away from.
But even on those days I remember that I am not alone. That friends, family and colleagues are in a similar situation and also have to wait in quarantine until the situation improves again. That when I’m sitting on my balcony I’m not the only one sitting out there at the same time looking at the empty street. And that I can still move around freely here as a foreigner and call my friends and family via video call whenever I want.
We all have to get through Corona, regardless of whether we are in Germany, Myanmar or elsewhere. That is why I decided to stay here in Yangon and continue my adventure!
Carina volunteers with “Thant Myanmar”, an organisation dedicated to the reduction of plastic waste. Her tasks include the support of social media channels such as Facebook and YouTube. This includes creating weekly posts, analyzing social media reach and the website. In addition, Carina, on behalf of Thant Myanmar, is involved in World Bank Surveys, which records and evaluates pollution in various parts of Yangon and also helps with office structuring.
Diana from Germany volunteered at a horse ranch in South Africa for 3 weeks at the beginning of 2020. In today’s blog, she shares her experience volunteering in South Africa, and about living and working on a ranch.
I volunteered for three weeks at a Horse Farm in South Africa earlier this year. The farm is owned by Sarah and Kos. 11 horses, 5 ponies, 5 dogs and 2 cats live a good life at the farm and make the farm life vivid and fun.
I shared a pretty and well-equipped cottage with another volunteer, with whom I got on very well and we became friends. We were equipped with ingredients for meals and had the opportunity to go into town almost every day to do some shopping as well.
Despite my modest experience with horses and my basic riding skills, I was given the opportunity to volunteer, work on the farm and participate on the trails.
Sarah is a very patient, humorous and loving person who responds to the well-being and prior experience of every volunteer and guest. She really lives her passion for horses and animals! The well-trained horses have individual personalities and fit different riders. I came to the farm with very little previous experience and would say that I have greatly improved my riding skills and learned a lot from dealing with the horses (also that you should avoid horse feet, which otherwise can get painful).
The trails along the breathtaking beaches and riding through the yellow and golden dunes was just fantastic! I also learned a lot from Sarah’s extensive knowledge of the landscape, which she loves to share with volunteers and guests. Thanks to Kos, all these memories have been captured photographically!
Sarah and Kos also organized fantastic trips for us! Amazing experiences were the visits to the penguin and lion sanctuary and a shark diving tour.
I thank Sarah and Kos for the wonderful and unforgettable time I had! This made my dream come true and my love for the wonderful animals grew even stronger. I recommend everyone to volunteer and to experience this!
Before I started this unforgettable journey, I searched the internet for these kind of projects at a very short notice. I came across the site of World Unite! and found a volunteering placement that seemed tailor-made for me. After sending a short email request, I received a very informative reply from Claudia from World Unite!. No matter what question I asked, the World Unite! team always answered quickly and in detail. There was also a Skype preparation meeting with Katharina from World Unite!, where she informed us about important issues and we were able to discuss cultural differences with her and to clarify open questions.
Only a few days later I started my journey. Even when I arrived at the airport in Cape Town (South Africa), Claudia immediately inquired about my well-being. Everything went really smooth. I was warmly welcomed by Sarah and Kos, the owners of the horse farm, who took me to the farm.
I would like to thank the World Unite! team for the absolutely fantastic organization. The staff is extremely friendly, dedicated and always answer questions in detail and very quick. I felt to be in good hands and can only recommend them! Thank you very much for everything!
Diana, from Germany
Read more about the Horse Ranch in South Africa and how to apply!
Without a doubt, being in lockdown is difficult: Whether we lack the personal contact with our friends and families, feel controlled by exit restrictions, or reading the news makes us feel sad or overwhelmed. Although it’s becoming less easy for many of us every day, it is important now not to lose heart! Here are a few tips on how not to lose optimism in lockdown.
Acknowledge your feelings
If we are at home for a long time, negative feelings like fear, anxiety, concerns or even depression can quickly arise. It is all the more important that you and your family members or roommates keep a positive attitude so that everyone can get through this difficult time. The first step in the right direction is to acknowledge your negative feelings rather than trying to ignore or suppress them. It is helpful for some people to write down or draw their feelings. That way, you’re helping your mind to structure your thoughts and develop an awareness of what is bothering you.
Practice a healthy lifestyle
The opportunities for spending the huge amount of free time many of us have during the Covid-19 measures are, to be honest, limited. To still make the most out of it and to help your body and mind to stay healthy during the lockdown, maintain a healthy lifestyle. Try out new healthy recipes that you didn’t have time to cook before. It is also recommended to maintain a structured daily schedule with enough sleep. When you sleep, your brain and body regenerate and you give yourself the opportunity to process negative news and events of the day. Considering the amount of negative information we all have to digest at the moment, right now sleeping is essential for our well-being!
Exercise and sport can help you reduce stress and anxiety and also help you sleep better. All of this ultimately leads to an increased physical well-being even in times of crisis. No matter if you go for a walk outside, for a run, or do a home workout – keep moving! Many sports studios currently offer online courses. You can also find lots of sporty videos on platforms like YouTube.
Practise mindfulnessand relaxation
Take 10 minutes everyday day to meditate or exercise mindfulness on your body and mind. To do this, sit in a comfortable position or lie down flat. Close your eyes and just concentrate on your inhalation and exhalation. When outside noise distracts you or your thoughts start to wander, this is quite normal. Just calmly direct your thoughts back to your breathing. This exercise can help you to relax and to reduce stress and anxiety.
Avoid information overload
In times of Corona we are bombarded with news 24/7, most of which are not good and increase our fears and worries. Whether on news platforms, on the radio or on social media – for many of us, the virus currently dominates our daily news reception. Digital detoxing – turning off your phone for a while and not keeping up with the latest virus numbers for a few hours – can help you calm down and focus on your life still being more than just the virus.
Practice physical distancing instead of social distancing
Right now we need social contacts more than ever, even if we can’t meet in person with our friends and families. The term “social distancing” is currently on everyone’s lips and refers to the fact that we have to avoid unnecessary contact with other people. Correctly, however, we should practise “physical distancing” and not “social distancing”: We can and should still talk to each other! Use options such as WhatsApp, Skype or Zoom to have video calls with your loved ones, or take time for a physically-distant chat with your lonely neighbor from balcony to balcony.
Don’t lose heart!
Covid-19 won’t last forever. Try to think future-oriented: what will you do first when the lockdown is over? A crisis is always a good opportunity to set your own priorities, such as seeing your friends and family more often. What about the trip you always wanted to take but always put off? Perhaps “right after Corona” will be just the right time! Try to think how your future You will look back on the lockdown in a while, and how you might even link some positive thoughts with it, e.g. that you have called your family on the phone more often, had more time for yourself, or lived a more relaxed and slow-paced life.
If you are looking for travel inspiration for “the time after”, visit us on our website or our social media channels. Our dedicated team will keep you up to date on current travel regulations and travel security in times of Coronaright from their home offices! 🙂