It all started with an enthusiastic feeling as I was so keen to meet my volunteer partners from the UK. The feeling of cross-cultural networking through working together was something I was really looking forward to. Little did I know that my ICS placement was bringing a lot of goodies with it? As a young and ambitious national volunteer, I embraced the opportunity to do well and inspire to change the world under the Progressio ICS programme. 

ICS gave me an opportunity to fully utilise my skills and realise the potential within me. Through ICS, I was able to sharpen my facilitation skills and hints and tips were shared among the team on how to overcome fear through maintaining eye contact or sticking ones’ eyes at the back of the room with people you are addressing, or even looking slightly over their heads. These are all different ideas that came from UK and other national volunteers. The programme’s cross-cultural nature gave me an opportunity to learn a lot about the English culture, the economic and social aspects surrounding England and the always confusing thing about the names of that country (Great Britain, United Kingdom and England).

Through team bonding activities that were a must every week for Team MAC, I learnt the importance of team work. My assertive communication skills improved and were acknowledged by the whole team, as I managed to develop into a very good team player. My ICS placement also gave me an opportunity to learn new things from the whole team, thanks to my UK Team Leader Jamie Fox and my great friend Will Wilson who taught me how to proficiently use Microsoft Office tools.

ICS helped me boast my confidence and know that I have an obligation as a youth to inspire other youths, so as to foresee a better and greater tomorrow. 

Written by ICS Alumni Thembela Mbengwa (July - September 2016 cycle, Team MAC)