Alumni Spotlight: Carly Zacharias: South Africa

by on Wednesday, 14 December 2011

The Alumni Spotlight highlights the achievements and stories of ISV alumni and Student Representatives. This weekly feature showcases these participants and their life-changing experience from around the world. ISV knows that volunteers make a difference, and is pleased to recognize the achievements of these outstanding university students!

Carly on project at a cheetah sanctuary, South Africa

This week’s Alumni Spotlight is on:

Carly Zacharias
Oakland University
South Africa 2011

Please describe your Volunteer Project:

During my volunteering project, I worked at a cheetah center in South Africa. It was amazing! Every day we were responsible for feeding the cheetahs, wild dogs, and vultures, or grooming the cheetahs, scrubbing water bowls, clearing enclosures, and more. We also got to watch cheetah runs, which were so cool!

What was the most memorable moment of your ISV Program?

Definitely the friends I have made. Working with cheetahs and doing awesome adventures were absolutely life changing, but it would not have been as much fun if it weren’t for the people in my group. I talk to them very often, and think about them every day. Even though we were only together for 4 weeks, I consider them my best friends.

"I have become addicted to traveling and volunteering. It’s all I think about, and I can’t wait to do it all again next summer!" -Carly on how ISV has influenced her future

What things do you now practice as a result of your ISV experience? (Recycle, Animal Rescue, etc.)

After my ISV experience, I have learned to not be wasteful. I’ll never forget when I gave my leftover pasta to a man in Mozambique who was eating grapes out of a dumpster. Or when I gave some sandwiches to two little boys at a gas station. Or when a little girl asked me in broken English for my bottle of water. We have all heard about the “people in Africa who don’t have any food.” Well, now I’ve seen some firsthand, and I will always remember how lucky I am.

“I had the best time with ISV because…”

It truly was the best month of my life. I try to tell people this, but I know they won’t fully understand until they go for themselves.

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