The young mind is a sponge; it soaks up knowledge from experiences that will leave indelible impressions far reaching into adulthood. Travel during teenage and early 20’s years provides experiential knowledge that will shape the minds of our young leaders. An understanding of foreign cultures, political systems and socio-economic scenarios different to ones own, is a life-gift not obtainable in a classroom.
Student programmes to Southern Africa with Spirit of Africa are developed in conjunction with educators to ensure that the itinerary provides stimulation; and results in pre-determined outcomes. And whilst each programme has an educational and participatory core to the programme, they all offer students the opportunity to see and experience the sites and wonders of Southern Africa whilst they are here (ie Table Mountain, Penguins, Cape Point, Safari, Apartheid Museum etc) and can incorporate more adventurous activities such as shark cage diving, abseiling, elephant riding, ostrich racing etc.
General programmes for the 13-18 year old age bracket are insightful general-knowledge itineraries that allow pupils to explore the environments and cultures of those very different than their own in the context of a country that is English Speaking and whose advanced infrastructure ensures their journey is safe and comfortable. On such itineraries school-groups are likely to attend schools from vast ends of the wealth spectrum, volunteer at educational facilities assisting those who are severely under-resourced, enjoy dinners with local school groups, and attend lectures &/ informal meetings on requested topics.
Sports programmes are stimulating, active and insightful. Whether it be cricket, rugby, soccer, tennis… young sports people experience first hand how sport can break down social boundaries, creating international understanding. These programmes incorporate round-robbin or competitive tournaments, coaching (in some instances) by our international sporting figures and volunteering time at sports facilities for under-resourced communities amongst other things.
Music and Choir programmes, similar to those of sports programmes, are designed to leverage a common interest. With a focus on music, choir and rhythm bringing together young students from different cultures, creating a common bond. Incorporating inter-school band and choral practices & performances, performances in public spaces, the possibility of flash-mobs and the opportunity to teach one’s own music to African children and vise-versa, are all part of a typical music programme. As is the exposure to local musical influences such as Africa Drumming and Dance tutorage. As with the other programmes, students on the music programmes will be able to volunteer at under-privileged school/music facilities, many of whom use the performing arts to uplift young South Africans from the cycle of poverty.
“I can’t say enough to commend Spirit of Africa’s diligence, professionalism, flexibility, and persistence in structuring a Programme both tailored to our needs and restricted budget. No request was too small. …it was a Programme with vibrancy and depth, which managed simultaneously to be both instructive and fun. Lehman students benefited extraordinarily from the content – and are still enthusiastically sharing their experiences.”
Kenneth Schlesinger, Chief Librarian, Lehman College LIFE group