As cliche as it sounds, words could not ever express how significant of an impact this trip had on our 2023 South Africa team, and I.

During the entire application process for our final team, I had never truly anticipated what I would soon experience – and in all honesty, I think our team would say the same.

From tears of happiness, to tears of bittersweet sadness, each and every moment we had together was as memorable as the next, and will forever remain in our hearts.

Keeping lifelong memories and bonds are, in particular, very personal to me, due to my poor memory. To have experienced this trip firsthand with people who I otherwise would not have interacted with, to the same extent in which I do now, is something I constantly treasure, day to day.

Waking up in South Africa and seeing the environment, whether that be the unimaginable scenery of it all, or the smiles and laughter we shared, was honestly, so surreal.

Everything we experienced individually, emotional, or physical, was different, and yet there was the pure beauty of us as a team, or rather family, experiencing it all, together. We began to understand one another, and through that, got closer and developed deeper existing friendships.

Taking pictures and videos of everything, making jokes and having group sessions with each other was all part of the joint experience, and made me realise how much gratitude and love I have for every second that I’m here, with everyone I know and am yet to know.

The trip itself also made me realise how I’d love to volunteer and travel in the future – whether that be with the BOTH charity again, hopefully, or with an external group. Educating and supporting other young people across the globe has been something on my bucket list for a while, and travelling alongside this, would be a bonus, to meeting new people and reciprocating the genuine kindness I had received in South Africa.

I made friends in South Africa, friends that I’ll truly never forget, and all of who I hope to see again soon, in the near future. They showed me the reality of their lives, filled with the love and respect they have for everyone, and how similar, and yet different our lives really are across our horizons.

Words written and spoken at the Leavers assembly and kindly shared by one student from the trip. 


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