However, just a few weeks later, Caitlin was attacked for the SECOND time when the 22-strong group she was travelling with was again targeted by muggers.
Her painful memories were brought into sharp focus after two 18-year-old British girls had battery acid thrown over them while volunteering on Zanzibar, a Tanzanian territory.
Speaking to the Strathearn Herald, about her own summer ordeal, Caitlin explained her group had hired a private bus to take them to a World Cup qualifier between Tanzania and the Ivory Coast.
Caitlin, who has since returned home, said: “It was broad daylight, we were in a group and had a security guard with us.
“We did absolutely everything right. It was the best football match we’d ever been to. We waited for the crowds to clear before we left but when we went to get the bus, one of the bus men told us it was down another road.”
Things happened fast as they made their way to where the bus supposedly was.
Suddenly, men were on top of two girls ahead of Caitlin, beating them up.
“One of my friends was holding on to her stuff, rolling about the ground. They were kicking her in the head. It all happened so quickly,” she said.
Other friends were getting their bags snatched as around 20 attackers descended on the group from different directions.
Locals tried to help, as they frown upon attacks on tourists, but the girls didn’t know who they could trust.
Caitlin continued: “There was a police truck nearby and they could see what was going on but did nothing about it. We had been warned about machetes and, apparently, one of my friends had seen one guy chase another down the road with a machete.”
After trying to get away from the man pursuing her, Caitlin revealed she then fell into a sewage-filled ditch.
“I couldn’t move. The guy that chased me obviously realised I didn’t have anything on me though and there was no point in him jumping into the ditch as well but he then turned round to my friend and attacked her. I was stuck in the ditch and could see everything that was going on but there was nothing I could do.
“Every time I think about it, I think I was lucky I got away, especially as there was talk of machetes, but I feel so guilty about my friend.
“The most annoying and frustrating thing for me was there was a police truck in the nearby area and they could see what was going on but did nothing about it. The security guard we were with got beaten up as well.
“It’s horrible. I can’t get it out of my head. I want to think about the good things that happened while I was there and the amazing experience I had but this really ruined it for me.”
Caitlin said she had some of the best times of her life in Africa and doesn’t want other students to be put off taking work placements or volunteering.
But she says they need to be aware and keep their wits about them as it’s easy to get caught out.