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Getting to Know Yourself Abroad

Imagine a group of people is getting to know you during your study abroad program’s orientation. You’ve gotten past the formalities, gotten to opening narrative stories, little jokes. You have everyone on board with you until you finish your last story with the words, “Rectum? Damn near killed ‘em!” You then realize only you’re laughing. You make a quiet comment and wait for someone else to pick up the conversation.

Ouch. What happened back there? Humor happened. I believe a person’s sense of humor resists change from new environments more so than other aspects of personality. This explains one of the reasons I’m excited about studying abroad in South Africa. I want to find out more about myself, as egotistical as that might sound, because after twenty years, I don’t know that much. I know I will learn valuable lessons from the unique mixture of people and history found in South Africa. But I will learn the most about myself by observing what my own sense of humor can find in a completely new, complex world. If I come back from Cape Town having laughed a lot, I will have a better sense of who I am regardless of the other internal changes I undergo in different social spaces. If don’t laugh that much, then at least I will know I have a terrible sense of humor.

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The Spirit of Adventure

The ancient Romans had a phrase for it: Carpe diem. My generation also has a word for it: YOLO. My motto? I want to have stories to tell, stories of adventures and challenges and people that define and shape me.

My time abroad will teach me to navigate a new country and culture, and I know I will experience a wide range of emotions, from eagerness and excitement to confusion and homesickness, when facing all the positive and negative events such an undertaking includes. It is scary to leap into the unknown, but embracing uncertainty, feeling uncomfortable, and taking chances are the best ways to learn and grow. Read more

Once Upon a Time…

Once upon a time there lived a young girl in the smoldering heat and humidity of Houston, Texas. This girl dreamed of going to a land far, far away, where hills weren’t man-made and castles weren’t built by Disney. I was this girl. Living in Ireland has always been a dream of mine, but nothing more than a dream—as distant and unattainable as my wish to be a Disney princess. It may not seem so unreachable—I can just buy a plane ticket and schedule a weeklong trip—but that’s just it. I never wanted to visit Ireland; I wanted to live in Ireland. I fantasized about living in an Irish apartment, interacting with Irish people, walking down Irish streets, eating Irish food, and sitting in Irish pubs. I wanted to make Ireland a part of who I am, and, in turn I hoped to become a tiny part of Ireland as well. But I don’t have to wish on stars and pennies anymore, I’m going to experience all of these things and more thanks to Interstudy. Read more

London Was Always a Dream

Three months from now I will be making a huge change…I will be moving to London! I got accepted to go to Goldsmiths, University of London! I am going for a full academic year (September to June) and I couldn’t be more excited! It is going to be a big change but I am more than ready!

I am excited to spend time in a city that I love! One thing that I can’t wait for is to be challenged. To be challenged in school and in personal life is something that I have been craving for awhile now. Going to London will push me and change me in so many ways. Read more

South Africa’s First Post-Apartheid Generation

Living in a country that is a literally on the opposite end of the world, we as Americans may be predisposed to various notions or judgments about the foreign land of South Africa. As future students of the country, it is important to recognize the 1st and 3rd world elements that South Africa entails. Of course with your acceptance into some of the country’s (and world for that matter) most respected universities you are fortunate to reap the benefits of the best that South Africa has to offer. Whether it be living in the heart of Cape Town, just a cab ride from the Camp’s Bay of Table Mountain, taking a quick cruise in Stellenbosch for a wine tasting on a beautiful vineyard, walking out of your dorm in Port Elizabeth for a quick morning surf, or venturing to the Drakensberg Mountains of KwaZulu Natal you as students will be able to see the best of South Africa has to offer. Read more

Goldfish: South Africa’s ‘Tour de Force’ in Music

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What is the point of studying and/or traveling abroad to a foreign land without gaining an insight to the local cultural happenings? And what better universal medium than the great cultural common denominator of music?! So here is your first lesson into the growing and diverse South African music scene. Insert Goldfish, arguably South Africa‘s most prized musical creation praised for becoming,”One of the first acts to jump the great divide between dance and live excitement.”-24.com Read more

‘The Unseen Ones’ Documentary

 

As students begin to arrive into their respective Interstudy programs across South Africa they will be exposed to some realities of the country that are foreign to us in the first world. Likely the most ‘in your face’ difference will be the obvious separation of wealth through the observation township living. Townships often refer to the underdeveloped urban living areas that were reserved for non-whites during the Apartheid era, mostly built on the outskirts of towns and cities. This dynamic has not changed much since the end of Apartheid, still housing a majority of non-white citizens of South Africa.

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