Hockey Coaching in South Africa – Wessel Koopmans

I wanted to spend some time in a beautiful foreign country doing volunteer work, and United Through Sport made this possible. Coaching hockey in South Africa was a dream come true. The volunteer work was flexible, allowing me to choose different activities like assisting at schools, teaching swimming lessons, or coaching various sports. This flexibility made each day exciting and tailored to my interests.

The energy and enthusiasm of the children were inspiring. Despite their challenging circumstances, they were eager to learn and play. Their joy and gratitude gave me a sense of fulfilment and purpose. I quickly adapted to the coaching role, learning from previous volunteers and growing more confident in my abilities. The accommodation was great, and living with other volunteers created a supportive and fun environment. We shared meals, exercised, and explored together, forming strong friendships.

The UTS staff and coordinators were exceptional, handling all practical matters and providing constant support. They organised various activities and excursions, ensuring we had a memorable time. The local ‘mamas’ cooked delicious meals and provided a warm, homely atmosphere. Their care and kindness made us feel at home.

Weekends were filled with exciting excursions. We played football on Wednesday evenings, went surfing and skydiving in Jeffreys Bay, and enjoyed the local nightlife. The safari was a highlight, offering breathtaking views of South Africa’s wildlife. The weeks flew by, and we became a close-knit group. In the final week, we travelled along the Garden Route to Cape Town, participating in fun activities and visiting beautiful places.

This experience was truly life-changing. My advice to future volunteers is to embrace every moment and be open to new experiences. Engage with the locals, learn about their culture, and cherish the memories you create. Volunteering with United Through Sport provided me with unforgettable experiences, lifelong friendships, and a deeper appreciation for the world. I already miss South Africa and hope to return someday.