Criminology Student Work Experience in South Africa

by Vocational Impact|Apr 28 2017|Criminology
Criminology Student, Criminology Graduate, Bobbi Bear

Those weeks at the Vocational Impact South Africa project have been the most memorable and fantastic I have ever experienced in my life. I am so happy and grateful that I was able to volunteer for them. 

Thinking about my time in South Africa gives me this feeling which is really hard to explain in words, but I’ll try my best……

I volunteered in South Africa with Vocational Impact for 2 months during my university summer holidays. I was studying Criminology at Erasmus University Rotterdam and I now tutor Criminology students at the same university, helping them with research and career progression.

My time with the Durban project was my first experience as an international volunteer. I wanted to do voluntary work for a long time because I felt that it was an important process to gain perspective and give me extra experience when looking for a job after university.


“Every time I googled different countries and projects, Vocational Impact kept catching my attention. I was studying criminology so this project really connected to this like no other placement on offer” 

I wanted to do something different than building water wells or supporting for-profit companies that don’t invest into the projects themselves. From what I read online, the project seemed like a very heavy, but amazing project. So that’s why I chose to commit through Vocational Impact.

The whole experience was impactful to me. every day was different and was full of memorable moments.


I will never forget the hugs we gave each other every day. As a volunteer you are not just one of the many volunteers who come by, you become a member of the team. 

When you step into the volunteer house, there is a quote painted above the door, saying ‘Our home, where family are friends and friends are family’, which I think is really accurate.

I will never forget the powerful women and men, the aunties and uncles, working at the Vocational Impact South Africa Durban project. 

Criminology Student, Criminology Graduate, Bobbi Bear

I respect them so much! They will do anything for the children (and adults) they work with. They never stop working for the children in their community. Even though it is really hard, and sometimes even traumatising work, they still keep on going.

I will never forget the children’s smiling faces. At the tree, the community outreach programme developed by the project, where they can just play and be a child, without having to worry. Or at the schools, where the staff give presentations. When waiting for our taxi, we were surrounded by a sea of children. Unable to move, because they were all hugging us. Or at the police station, where sexually abused children tell their story to one of the team members. When it is not yet their turn to go inside, the volunteers have to look after them and play with them to keep them busy. Making them smile, even though it is only for a second. That second was a second where they didn’t have to think about the awful things that happened to them.

“The Vocational Impact South Africa Durban project made me realise how lucky I am, having a childhood without any worries and not having to deal with sexual abuse or poverty.”

It made me realise that I should do something good with my life, to make the most out of it. I look up to the people who work at the project and I hope to become a ‘rough auntie’ as well: standing for a good cause and helping others.

I really want to go back to South Africa sometime soon, maybe next year if possible.


⇒ FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE CRIMINOLOGY AND LAW PLACEMENT IN SOUTH AFRICA HERE ⇐


Would you like to Volunteer with Vocational Impact or know more?

You can read more about our volunteering programmes in South Africa here. Furthermore, you can find out more about Vocational Impact here.

Questions? Would you like to participate? That’s great – feel free to email us or call/whatsapp us on: +44 (0) 7704 129 816

Alternatively, complete an application to begin the process of volunteering, and we’ll be in touch with more details!

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CriminologySouth Africa

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