Lions! Tigers! and Bears! Oh My! (okay maybe not bears)

Annabel Bao Start Date: Sep 15, 2017 - End Date: Nov 8, 2017
  • Volunteer Trip
  • Cultural Exchange
  • Educational/Research Trip
  • South Africa

My Travel Story

by: Annabel Bao Start Date: Sep 15, 2017 - End Date: Nov 8, 2017
  • Volunteer Trip
  • Cultural Exchange
  • Educational/Research Trip
As you may or may not know I am a spring admit at Chapman University which entails I don't quite start school until January. Which also means I have a good bit of time to spare. So I wondered what most spring admits do with this time? After talking to a couple friends and my college counselor, they suggested most students get a job, take community college classes, or study abroad. So that has me thinking, hmm maybe I should study abroad. But then while researching studying abroad it soon led to volunteering abroad. Which is what I have come to you all for.
I, Annabel Bao, would absolutely love to go volunteer for a wildlife sanctuary/rehabilitation center in South Africa for 4 weeks in November.
Okay before you freak out let me list my points:

1. I have done ALL my research looking for the best programs and organizations to align myself with. Making sure they have no part in "canned hunting" or the "trophy hunting" of any animals. All the animals are treated with the utmost respect, all being rescues or orphans. In no shape or form is lion breeding happening nor are they being sold to zoos for entertainment purposes.

2. Aside from an ethical standpoint not only are these animals safe. But I am safe. The organization is extremely safe with well over 9500+ volunteers. It is based in Hartbeespoort, North West, South Africa. 45 minute drive outside of Johannesburg. I've read countless reviews, blogs, and articles watched countless youtube videos and everyone can only say good things.

3. "What about school? and classes?" I can always make up this semester over summer, or take on a more rigorous course load over the next three years. The last thing I'm worried about is not graduating on time.

4. "what are u even doing?" I will be volunteering at a wildlife sanctuary/rehabilitation center. Which basically means they rescue animals that have previously been pets, traded/sold into the hunting ring, or special needs animals that cannot survive in the wild on their own. A typical day consists of, cleaning enclosures, preparing food, collecting data and research on animal behavior, building new enclosures, and scooping poop.

I could sit here all day explaining to you how much I love animals, or how I want to make a difference in the world, and give my life meaning. Of course that's part of it or I wouldn't being going in the first place, but in the end all I can really take away is the experience.
Independence; this would be the first time I've traveled away from home on my own. Learning to live on my own, and take care of myself will be not only extremely helpful for college but, life.
Connections; people for all over the world apply to be part of this program. The ability people my age that share the same passion.
Poverty; I know I have been "spoiled", or well off for my entire life, another very important take away for me at least, is to be happy, feel happiness without materialistic values. make unforgettable memories that will last a lifetime.
I'm sure you have guessed by now that a trip such as this does not come cheap. You would be right, and that is why I'm making this page. The price for the four weeks in South Africa is $2905. This includes housing, food, excursions, airport transfers, laundry, etc. Airfare on the otherhand is not included. So on top of the initial fee, a ticket from LAX -> Johanesburg runs around $1000. Yep that's quite a large sum of money.
One more question you maybe be asking is "why does is it cost money to volunteer?" Well my main reason for that is safety. As you may know South Africa is not the safest place, with high crime rates, and infectious diseases. So I've taken it upon myself to select a program that ensures my safety as well as sanitary living enviornment.
So that's where you come in, obviously I'm not expecting to raise the full amount through this page, but really anything helps.
Even if you aren't donating I'd like to say thank you.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and listening to my story.
  • South Africa