In July 2018, after a dreaded month of GCSE examinations, I spent the first two weeks of the month in Morocco volunteering in a centre for street children known as AMESIP.

While looking for work experience and volunteering opportunities, I came across a website known as Projects-Abroad. Curious, I checked the website and looked through all the different volunteering projects they offer. Being 16 at the time, I went to the High School Specials part of the website and started to browse through the various types of opportunities they offered, as well as the different locations they reach out to. The projects had something for everyone, from medicine in Tanzania to journalism in China.

In the end, the project I chose to take on for two weeks was Care and Community with French in Morocco. I chose this one for many reasons. I have an interest in French, I like Moroccan cuisine, I like to work with children. Above all, however, was the fact that my mum approved of it because it was closer to England than Peru (for example).

All the High School Specials (for those aged 15-18) would be for two weeks, you would stay with a host family, do your volunteering in the morning and afternoon, and there would usually be some sort of evening activity as well. Weekends would be off, with a special cultural trip. In my case it was to visit Chefchaouen - the blue pearl of Morocco.

If, like me, you chose to take a language course, you would replace the morning volunteering session with a languages lesson instead. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all provided by the host families.

Four weeks before I left for my trip, I received my project details and the details about the family I would be staying with as well as basic geographical knowledge. I would be staying in a traditional Moroccan home, with two other volunteers, in the old part of Morocco’s capital city - the Medina of Rabat.

Setting of for the project was an anxiety-affair, particularly for my mother who took every precaution and more to ensure my safety. It was a flight late at night, with a fellow volunteer on the same flight as me. It was too dark to make anything out outside, after we landed. That night, I got somewhat acquainted with my host family - the entire extended family were there to greet me! Unfortunately, I was too tired to do much else, and I went to sleep almost immediately. But not before calling my mother for the third time, at least!

The next day, a Sunday, I was able to properly introduce myself to my host family, my French ability not being the best at the time did make things rather difficult though. After one of the sweetest breakfasts I have ever had the pleasure of having (a pastry, a flatbread with honey and extremely sweet, but piping hot, Moroccan tea), one of the supervisors for our project came to collect me to meet the volunteers who had arrived as well as go on a tour of Rabat. After the tour had ended, I met my two roommates, and made quite the impression by injuring myself as soon as I introduced myself.

Once Monday arrived, I was ready to start the project. The three of us all took a language course, so we would spend the morning studying with our teachers. We went home for lunch, before being collected for our afternoon volunteering session.

It is here that I can say that, despite all the children we worked with come from disadvantaged background, they were some of the happiest, sweetest and brightest children I have ever met - and I have a 5 year old sister! I am honestly so glad that I took this opportunity, and that I was able to have what I hope is a positive effect on these children whom I only knew for two short weeks.

After finishing for the day at our placement, we would often have some sort of evening activity together - from visiting cafes to watch the World Cup together, to cooking and pottery. Each day brought a new cultural experience.

The overall experience was a complete and utter success. I made wonderful new friends, learnt about a completely new culture (for example, did you know that it is tradition to only eat couscous on Fridays?), improved my French, and just had the best time working with those children. This is something I would recommend with all my heart, and I, myself, would love to do it again.