A Testimonial from Josh King
Sport Malawi has definitely been one of my main highlights of my time at the University, especially throughout the fundraising, travelling and delivery of the projects. I was lucky enough to go away with an amazing group of people of which five had been previous years. This provided a certain amount of comfort and safety within the group.
This project at first seemed a bit daunting for a lot of people, not knowing how to deliver the workshops and how to go about teaching the coaches/teachers new skills. However the support we received at the University gave us a really positive team spirit within the 4 weeks we had to deliver. The whole process of learning how to deal with situations when at times not having a clue to begin with was a very rewarding achievement I got out of Sport Malawi.
Do I recommend it? YES. Absolutely, I learnt so much more being out of my comfort zone and having to deal with challenging situations than I would of back here.
Another part of Sport Malawi that I enjoyed and took full advantage of was the country itself, some beautiful sights and amazing activities that we managed to do.
The rewarding part of the trip was seeing how much they appreciated our help; they really took on board what we were teaching them. The assistance we gave them when visiting their workshops and schools helped us to advance our delivery skills to the next level. We could be very experimental with our delivery and they would see the advantages in these sessions. Within the month I spent in Malawi, I really wanted to improve my confidence in front of a big group, organising classes and/or coaching sessions and then delivering them in a professional manner. These were matched within the first week, we had to do this to ensure the workshop ran well, the skills I learnt from others and learning from a previous day’s work made me a good group speaker and confident in my own delivery. It also gave me a new perspective on inclusion within sport and sport outreach; a lot of people want to take part in sport but sometimes it is not possible, so we need projects like Sport Malawi and volunteers to continue delivery. You will not regret being a part of this project!!
A Testimonial from Mercedes
‘Being part of the Sport Malawi Project was incredible. It is hard to put into words what I got out of the trip because I feel I gained so much from going to Africa and amercing myself into all that Malawi and its people had to offer.
The workshops which we did during our time there was such a good way to get to know the Malawians and to find out about their culture and their lives. This was a massive learning curve for me as it opened my eyes to a lot of things. It made me realise how lucky I am to have the things I have and for the opportunities which I have had. It isn’t until you’re put into this sort of situation that you realise how fortunate you are. But then saying that, it also made me see that you don’t need certain things in life to make you happy. The Malawians are such welcoming and gracious people, they taught me that being happy comes from realising your self-worth and this doesn’t come from the things you own. This is one of the main things I got from the trip and this is something which has impacted me a lot since returning to the UK.
From visiting the local schools and seeing how their education system works out there was an experience in itself. From going to these schools, it has encouraged me more to work towards my QTS and it has also made me want to travel to different place to experience what their education systems are like and how they differ from the UK. I think maybe somewhere down the line, I’d like to do some research on the different education systems and find out what can be out into place to better these systems for the sake of the children, but I wouldn’t have been able to discover this interest if I wasn’t part of the project.
There is a lot you can gain from going to Africa and being involved in the project. I’d encourage anyone who wants to develop their passion for sports, education and culture to become part of this project. It may be the best thing you do whilst at university; I know it was for me.’
A Testimonial from Emily
Second year Law student… all words you wouldn’t stereotypically associate with the typical student applying for an overseas sports trip. However, as a student who enjoys and can appreciate what the sport world has to offer, the concept of the Sport Malawi trip completely enticed me, and therefore as a believer of taking as many opportunities as possible at University, I applied.
After getting accepted onto the team for Sport Malawi 2014, I expected at least six months for the fun to start, although I couldn’t have been more wrong. From team fundraisers like a 48 hour bike ride, cake sales through to group meals and planning meetings, the trip definitely starts from the second of receiving the acceptance email. Nevertheless it wasn’t until we touched down in Malawi that the reality of what we had signed up too hit home.
Engaging in a totally different culture for a month really opens your eyes, and changes you. The simplest of activities like walking down the road and greeting people, going to the market to get the team meal, or even playing football in a court yard with people who speak a different native tongue are all areas where you learn huge life changing skills. I definitely grew in confidence and soon became comfortable in circumstances that prior to the trip would have been definitely daunting. Learning to engage and relate to a person who can’t understand you through words is an irreplaceable skill to have learnt.
Furthermore, Sport Malawi not only grew my confidence in class room, but gave me space to develop academic skills that I could take back to my course, and improve my abilities within Law. In the space of a month I grew from engaging in group conversations and presentations too then being able to mentor and even teach Sports Coaching to a group of fellow Malawian coaches.
Sport Malawi is a unique opportunity that I would therefore advise any student, from any course or background, to engage and develop their skills in a truly life changing experience.