A blog from Martina Lingenfelser, a German Social Work student:
Three wonderful and informative months have come to an end…
… The flight has been booked and I am enjoying the last few days here in Cape Town until I have to go back to Germany.
Back home I have to study for one more year until I get my degree in social work. My university gave me the opportunity to do my second internship abroad. Born in South Africa, but grown up in Germany, I decided to go back to the roots and to pass my practical training in my home country.
I started my internship at “Beth Uriel” in September 2009. When Michelle Potter came back to South Africa from her fundraising in London I heard about her programme when she introduced it to the guys at “Beth Uriel”. As I wanted to experience the different ways they do social work here in South Africa I was instantly interested in this new organization. I talked to her a few days later and we arranged a meeting to discuss in what way I could support her. As time passed by I learned more about the programme and the importance of offering support for youths leaving residential care. When Michelle asked me if I was interested in mentoring two of the Beth Uriel guys I accepted the challenge as I can only grow bigger through this experience. I met with the guys one or even two times a week. At our first meeting we made up a plan what we want to achieve during the time working together. Based on this commitment I supported them with their daily issues such as creating CVs, visiting universities, applying for jobs or bursaries. Every week I met with my supervisor Michelle to discuss my proceedings but she also gave me advises for every question I had. Little by little I got my own responsibilities and Michelle told me more than once that she didn’t know what she would do without me!
In the end I would like to say that I had a fantastic time working – but also spending my free time – with Michelle and OTSK. I gained valuable experiences not only theoretically but also practically. I always looked forward to Thursday 11am when we had our weekly meeting. With her unique sense of humor working didn’t seem like working.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to make all this experiences!