my name is Phillip Knaak and I will be joining the awarenet team, arriving in Makhanda in early September. I will be staying in South Africa for a year and work for awarenet during my time there. I will turn 18 years old in July and I am currently graduating from high school in Bielefeld, Germany, which is a town with a population of approximately 350,000 located near Hannover. As I plan on attending a university and having attended school for 12 years without any mentionable interruptions, I decided that I would partake in something entirely different after graduating and before enrolling at a university.
Due to my family’s inclination of volunteering with “weltwärts”, a program supported by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development, in which nearly everyone in my close family who graduated recently participated, doing so has always been an attractive option while growing up. I furthermore chose to take the opportunity of doing something different from educational advancement before attending a university, as enrolling at a university immediately after graduating would constitute something approximating 20 years of constant education. Hence, I chose to apply at a non-profit-organisation in order to spend a year abroad doing volunteer work.
I decided for an organization focusing on volunteer work since I believe that international collaboration and the deepening of global connections is required in a globalised world and due to my wish to gain a completely new experience and perspective of the world in helping others. I chose South Africa as the country in which to perform volunteer work as I developed a specific interest in its general beauty and cultural versatility whilst witnessing the Football World Cup in 2010 and whilst learning of its unique history of vanquishing Apartheid and particularly the role of Nelson Mandela in doing so.
Since I am interested in IT and plan on potentially studying Computer Science afterward I am particularly interested in projects pertaining to this and will therefore highly enjoy my work at awarenet. I furthermore look forward to organising physical activities as well as providing general opportunities to have fun and learn for children and teenagers at the awarenet program. I also look forward to exploring a country and culture which is entirely new to me during my year in South Africa and hope the acquaintances and experiences I make will forever shape me when I return.