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Looking Beyond What I Know

Study abroad is one of the most, if not the most valuable experience I have had to date in my academic career and personal life. My expectations have always been exceeded in a positive way, although adjusting to a foreign environment and new cultures can be challenging at times. However, this IS the unique opportunity of study abroad, writing one’s own survival guide to life, looking beyond the constraints of what one knows and allowing oneself to be pleasantly surprised. Having visited South Africa on two occasions, for volunteer work in Cape Town in 2008 and Johannesburg for the 2010 World Cup, I am of the opinion that this country, its history, politics and cultural melange are mired with paradoxes. I am fascinated by the entrepreneurial spirit and progressive thinking of the city of Johannesburg where races appear to have transcended the legacy of apartheid as opposed to the palpable sentiment of separation one feels in Cape Town. I am eager to experience the art, theater and music of this vibrant city – especially South Africa‘s own home grown house and kwaito rhythms that emanated from the townships. I have chosen an esteemed university in Johannesburg, the University of the Witswatersrand where Nelson Mandela himself attended. To continue my research work on HIV/AIDS and Energy, I intend to volunteer at the Nelson Mandela Foundation working on an HIV/AIDS program in addition to participating in the next round of climate change negotiations taking place in Durban at the year’s end. With these goals in mind and a full academic program, I can forsee a rigorous academic semester, fruitful experiences and amazing memories. I look forward to contributing to Interstudy‘s blog and sharing these unforgettable experiences with my readers. Cheers!

Raquel Jozi!!

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