– By Teun Snijders, student of Avans Hogeschool, The Netherlands – 

On the second of February I left to Cape Town in South Africa, not my first journey abroad but it is the first one where I would live on my own for at least four and a half months. I didn’t know what to expect of coming months and what CASO had in mind for me so I was a little bit nervous. After a 11 hour flight we arrived and got picked up by Chris who brought us to the Tyger Waterfront in Bellville.

Our programme started on Sunday evening were we would meet everyone and got to know each other. All different kind from Finland, Belgium, South Africa and of course The Netherlands. It was a good and fun evening where I got to have my first of many Black Label (a local beer).

The Monday and the days to come were schooldays at University of Western Cape (UWC). We got lessons and worked mostly in groups that they placed us in. The lessons were so-so, it isn’t like in The Netherlands where the lessons are more interactive. Here they make you listen the most of the time what was hard for me because sometimes I have the concentration of a guinea pig. Also the project overall was unclear for me and most people about what they wanted from us. Nevertheless we got to know each other better and had a good first week. Especially on Friday when we went crocodile diving and went to a lion sanctuary. It was cool that they made that possible for us.

The second week was more or less the same, we had lesson’s worked together on the project, gave some presentation’s, went to a high school to do a pilot of our lesson’s and we did fun stuff like going to a rugby match and visiting Bo Kaap. At the end of these two weeks we also had to say goodbye to most of the Belgium, Finnish and Dutch people because they were going back home. The first part, the intensive programme, was over and now we would join Play Sports 4 Life (PS4L) to continue the rest of our project.

On Sunday I moved from Bellville to Cape Town because I didn’t want to be that far away from the city. Until now I haven’t regretted it since.

On Tuesday we started with a meeting at the office of PS4L, it was nice to see that there were other Dutch students from Avans. We got divided in teams and placed at school’s and we prepared some of our lesson’s. The Wednesday I got to hear that I was placed at an other school and we arrived at the Garden Village Primary School. There was a local intern who eventually wants to work there but is now an intern. She wanted to shadow us and learn from us but we made here very clear that we would probably learn from her. The same morning the local PE teacher showed us around school and let us get to know each teacher. The Thursday we started the day by training three seven grade girls because they got to participate in the local athletic games. The rest of the day we gave some PE lesson’s and it was my first experience in teaching PE. In my opinion, it went terrible. There was no structure, it was too hot and at one point everyone was doing just some things. This had to be something we had to work on.

The next week we started on Monday at the school and we were getting ready to teach, make mistakes and learn from our mistakes. The Monday till Thursday we get every morning three grade R’s. So the first Monday we gave them a warming up and made some of different station’s with different PE assignments, an obstacle course, throwing and catching, football skills and you name it. We used this for the other grades in the week but we made it harder. The first thing I personally needed to learn is to keep control over the many kids, and one way to do it is to be strict. I try to keep everyone happy and be friends with everyone but the kids will take advantage. For example we made up station’s with challenges, or different games and sports but the once who complained could do something else. It was hard to control it that way and it would take a lot of energy. We tried to do the same things on Tuesday and it was hectic as well.

The Saturday the school would have a food fair. The food fair would have a competition of football for the boys and netball for the girls. The grades that would join the competition were the grades 1, 2 and 3 so the lesson’s would be training moments to be able to play a bit decent and they would know the games. We used those lesson’s for the other grades as well and it worked most of the time. Till again children came complaining that the kids weren’t playing fair and what not. Next week I wouldn’t accept any complaining anymore and not playing fair or excluding other’s will have consequences

So they were looking for volunteers for the food fair and at the end only the local coach  and I helped. The competition would be done at 11:00 but we are in South Africa and we started at 10:15. So I stayed a bit longer but because I had made plans to go to Cape Good Hope I couldn’t stay much longer.

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