Hans Strijdom

YFU South Africa

Hans Strijdom is currently senior advisor to YFU South Africa, having served as their chair for several years before. He is a Professor in Physiology at University of Stellenbosch, where he is also Head and Senior Researcher. Strijdom has been active in YFU since his own exchange in the mid-80's, and has, among other things, hosted several exchange students.

The passion and excitement of those early years, where black and white South Africans joined the organization reflected the mood in the country..

"I went on exchange to Hamburg, Germany in 1984-1985, which was the beginning of my career as a YFU volunteer. Although YFU was not yet represented in South Africa at the time, the exchange organization with which I went to Germany was later taken over by YFU. I was one of the first volunteers of the new YFU organization in the early 1990’s and part of the team that eventually saw the founding of an official YFU national organization in 1994. Since then, I have been involved on different levels, including area representative, host parent, board member and chairperson of the board. My involvement with YFU SA now spans an uninterrupted period of 21 years, and I don’t regret a single moment, despite many challenges over the years. The biggest feel-good factor for me in being involved with YFU South Africa has been the development of YFU which coincided with the birth of the democratic South Africa. The passion and excitement of those early years, where black and white South Africans joined the organization reflected the mood in the country at the time, and these were special times and memories! Although YFU South Africa loves hosting international students, I have a special soft spot for the outbound program. The outbound program gives so many young South Africans of all ethnic and cultural backgrounds the opportunity to explore the world, and return home to become model citizens. Young people from rich and poor communities participate and for some it is the first time they meet and become friends with people coming from a different background than their own, even though they all live in the same country! This symbolizes the spirit of YFU and what makes me want to stay involved for as long as possible!"
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