Reason you chose this program: I wanted the opportunity to learn about the history and cultures of a place that American students get very little exposure to, travel a region of the world I had never been, and enjoy the scenic coastlines and mountain ranges that South Africa has to offer.
Favorite Classes: My favorite class was African and South African Film, which not only was fun because of all the movie screenings, but through film, the class gave me great insight into African and South African history.
Describe the housing situation: I lived in a 17-person house at the foot of Table Mountain with 15 American students from around the country, one South African R.A. and one Zimbabwean R.A.. The housing situation was perfect; I lived a short walk from campus, a short walk to local shops and restaurants, and a short cab ride to the Central Business District of Cape Town.
What you know now that you didn’t know before going abroad: Never shy away from any opportunity. Some of the most fun experiences I had and the most interesting I people I met came through going out on a limb, talking to strangers, and stepping out of my element.
Best memory: The best memory I have of Cape Town is of my very first time at the V & A Waterfront. A few friends and I had a glass of South African wine, ate crocodile, and watched the sun set behind Table Mountain.
What I wish I knew before I left: I wish that I would have known more about South African politics before I had left. The effects of apartheid era South Africa are still so prevalent that it really takes a good understanding of history to comprehend the social climate of Cape Town.
Biggest surprise: The biggest surprise of my semester was how westernized the city of Cape Town is while being in a 3rd world country. This at times can cause awkwardness when the two worlds interact, yet it creates cultural diversity throughout the city.
Complete this sentence: If I could do it over, I would... have spent more time in the townships outside of Cape Town. It took a few months to get comfortable interacting closely with people who were so negatively affected by apartheid, however when I eventually got more comfortable, helping and talking to this people was a very rewarding experience.
Advice to future study abroad participants: The best advice I could give is to get involved with as many organizations and groups at the University of Cape Town as possible. The experiences I had being with South African students outside of a classroom setting were the most valuable and most memorable.