cape town volunteer natalia portrait

Natalia – All Rounder volunteer

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Natalia reflects on how Scalabrini has enriched her career experience and allowed her to be more creative and open to things, opportunities and people. She spent her six months here as an All Rounder. Read more about her experience. 

“I’ve lived in the Netherlands my whole life and just wrapped up a job there where I was working as a management consultant. My fiance was placed in Cape Town for 6 months through his work, so I decided to join him. I wanted to do something totally different from the work I was doing back home, to escape the corporate world and experience an NGO. I did some research and came upon Scalabrini, which brings me here. 

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“I’ve learnt so much since coming here, specifically that you can do a lot with your free time. It really motivates me to go back home and invest some time in community to hopefully have a similarly rewarding experience.”

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This isn’t my first time in South Africa, actually, I think it’s my fourth. Cape Town is a really popular holiday destination for people from the Netherlands. I’ve loved it every time, though, so I was excited to come back. Here at Scalabrini, I’m an All Rounder, and I also do some work in Women’s Platform and organisational things like Salesforce. It’s been really nice to use my career background and familiarity with an interface like Salesforce to help the organisation move forward. 

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Working in an NGO has been really different, much different from commercial work. In NGOs you have real contact with people and get to know them on a more personal level which has been such a great experience. My day-to-day life varies a lot because I’m an All Rounder, which is a very flexible role. Sometimes I cover reception, and I co-facilitated the 9 week conversation club with Women’s Platform. That was one of my favourite parts; getting to know these women and seeing them grow in confidence was so cool. We saw a lot of progression in the 9 sessions, and they said they appreciated having a safe learning environment and growing in confidence which was the whole goal of the program, so that was really validating. I’ve also loved being involved with Women’s Platform events on Saturday’s and seeing how amazing and energetic the women are. This past weekend, women representing a few different countries were dancing on the stage and it was just one big party. It was so cool to see them enjoying themselves and feeling safe and having fun with each other.

I’ve learned so much since coming here, specifically that you can do a lot with your free time. It really motivates me to go back home and invest some time in community to hopefully have a similarly rewarding experience. My time at Scalabrini has also really enriched my career experience, and it has allowed me to be more creative and open to opportunities, things and people. When I go back to the Netherlands, I’m hoping for a bit of a career shift. I hope to work in digital product management, and am currently having a few interviews for jobs when I get back. My advice for future interns is to be open and flexible and to seek new opportunities.”