Team South Africa 2020

On February 17th the SA Team 2020 set off for South Africa and an adventure of a lifetime. This ten day visit was the start of The Urswick School’s second exchange programme with Ntafufu Senior Secondary School. This incredible opportunity was made possible by a grant from the new DfE International Exchange programme, administered by the British Council. Once again TUS is working in partnership with the charity Broaden Out Their Horizons on this project. We will be fundraising with them to ensure that a team of Ntafufu students can share in this life changing experience with a visit to London in 2021.

BOTH was founded in 2013 based on the knowledge that international link projects have a potentially transformative power, but that this is dependent on young people actually meeting each other face to face, thereby enabling them to fully appreciate for themselves both the similarities and the contrasts in their experiences. This is BOTH’s 4th exchange project.

Whilst the team was in South Africa they spent their weekdays at Ntafufu School, first joining lessons as students, but then becoming teachers themselves. The team taught lessons they had planned and prepared in the UK, including art, drama, music, PE, Spanish, science, psychology, English and geography.  Our students rose to this challenge brilliantly, gaining confidence day by day and demonstrating resilience, courage and determination. Firm friendships were soon established between TUS team and Ntafufu students. Friendships that will last long beyond this exchange. The group also spent one hugely enjoyable day at Magoba Junior Secondary School, sharing their lessons with the younger students there. After the school day and at the weekend the group were able to experience some of the wider aspects of South African culture and history as well as its stunning landscape.

The overall impact of the experience is, as always, best summed up by the students themselves. We were particularly proud that this year all students insisted on delivering their own speeches to express their gratitude and summarise their experience at our leaving ceremony. Here are just a few excerpts:   

‘First of all I thank the charity Broaden Out Their Horizons for the incredible work they are doing to give us and some of you the most amazing experience of our lives. South Africa is a breath-taking country with lovely scenery and so many magical things.  So I am overjoyed that I was chosen for this opportunity and that some of you will also be chosen to go to London.’

‘I would like to thank you guys for welcoming me and my friends to Ntafufu Senior Secondary School and letting us spend time with you, sharing our similarities and differences.’

 ‘Coming to South Africa has really made me step out of my comfort zone, but I am glad I did. I have made loving friendships… Thank you for teaching me your cultures and welcoming me with open arms. If I had a choice, I would stay, I love your country so much.

 ‘In the few days that I have taught at your school, I have been struck by your enthusiasm and commitment to learning. Although this adventure was short it was one that will change me forever, thank you’

‘You have all taught me so much and have presented this amazing country to me in the best way possible. I would also like to thank all of the staff at the school who welcomed me and my peers with open arms.’

‘I hope you have gained as much from this experience as I have gained so much from your culture, your community and your environment. It has made me realise how fortunate I am and truly blessed to have what I have. As a result of this I am definitely going to be much more appreciative of everything. I find it mesmerising how close you guys are as a community. You really grasp everything that comes your way and you guys inspire me to do the same every day.’

‘It’s a once in a lifetime and I have made some amazing friends for life. I can’t wait to see some of you guys visiting the UK and visiting Urswick.’

‘It is really emotional leaving this school. You will always be with us forever in our hearts.’

The SA Team will be presenting about their experiences to Urswick students, staff and the wider community when school resumes. We will also then begin preparing for the return visit. Watch this space!


View Images