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Posts tagged ‘adventure’

I’m Ready for the Adventure of a Lifetime!

I’ve lost count of the number of times I have been asked, “Why Botswana?” over the last few months. Although it is difficult to explain to others my exact reason of why I want to travel to Africa as an education major, I have no doubt that I made the right decision. With that decision comes excitement and hope for adventure as well as worries, anxiety, and fear of the unknown. As I lay in bed at night I like to imagine what some of my adventures might look like during my time in Botswana. The opportunities to meet new people from different countries and experience a unique culture full of foods I have never tasted, music I have never heard, and other things that are too new to me that I cannot even begin to imagine them. I daydream about the days when I will be volunteering in the schools, and truly making a difference. The excitement about the endless amount of possibilities I will have to learn and explore overwhelms my worries (although they still exist).
I worry about little things like what clothes I am going to take, and will I bring too much stuff, or not enough? I worry about the fact that I am a picky eater that is going to be living in a new country with new food that I have never tried. I worry about the issues of safety and having to be more cautious while in Botswana than I have to be here at home. But if there were not things that were worrisome and there was not the fear of the unknown, then this adventure would lack excitement! I know I will grow as a person from the challenges that I face during my time abroad, and what a great outcome that would be.

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Ready to Revel in “Rebel County”

**I wanted to make a note of the “Rebel County” because through research, according to  goireland.com, Cork is known as the “Rebel County” due to the high level of rebel activity in the county during the War of Independence and the subsequent Civil War. Read more

Strikes and Salt Pans

Two months in, there are still new experiences around every corner.

Two weeks ago, after much deliberation, the lecturers at UB finally elected to strike. Starting on a Tuesday, we suddenly had a whole week without class! Fortunately, we used our time well. Throwing my lot in with a few other international students, we embarked on a journey to visit the famous salt pans, the giant remains of dried-up Lake Makgadikgadi that stretch across the savanna to the north.

From Gaborone, we got up at four in the morning to catch a bus heading to Francistown. After a 5-hour journey, we switched buses and got on a bus to Maun. We knew that the village we were looking for, Gweta, was somewhere on the way but we didn’t know where. All we knew was to look for a giant anteater on the side of the road. Read more

Thoughts on the First Month

One month in, and what a month it’s been! All the craziness is just beginning to die down, and as usual, there’s more just around the corner.

When classes began, the first week was stressful and confusing. I had to find all my classrooms, figure out whether the professors were coming, and settle into my life here in other ways (laundry, food, etc) all at the same time. I learned quickly that the first week of classes is when most of the professors prepare for the coming school year, and thus only about half the professors held class the first week. But by the time the second week rolled around things became much more regular.

My classes feel very similar to the ones back home. The professors are friendly and engaging, and one even invited me to visit his home village sometime. There are also some very interesting classes. In particular, my Botswana Politics class, which is lead by a man who also writes political columns in one of the local newspapers, is always engaging and educational. Because the professor is so up-to-date on current political situations, he always has new and relevant examples to highlight what we’re learning in the abstract, and he encourages enough class discussion that I learn more about Batswana opinions and political view every day! My Historical and Comparative Linguistics in Africa course is also fascinating, and it’s amazing to be able to look at the Setswana I’m learning and compare it to the earlier languages it came from. And for that matter, Setswana class is a blast as well! It’s definitely a struggle to learn a language so different from English, but there are plenty of laughs while we do. I have already made a fool of myself trying to get the difference between “t” and “th” in Setswana (the th sounds like the t in “time,” and the t is soft enough that to my ears it almost resembles a d), and practicing the tones. I discovered at the dining hall how different “mabElE” and “mabEle” sound to a native speaker (the first one means “sorghum,” one of the staple grains of Botswana food, and the second means “breast”). Despite the fact that I’ve never been a math person, I’m even enjoying my Statistics class, thanks to the funny professor and lively class. Read more

Settling into Africa and Starting Classes

It’s official: I’ve survived my first day as a full time UCT student. After two weeks of settling in, figuring out where to buy groceries, finding my way around classes, and (finally) discovering how to assemble a chain of electrical plug adapters in order to use ONE American appliance, it’s finally starting to sink in that Cape Town is not just a vacation, but rather my home for the next few months. Read more

Flight Fiascos and First Lessons

A view of the city I finally made it to! Cape Town is worth waiting for!

Any great adventure can’t begin without a few speed bumps, and my South African excursion is no exception to this rule. Looking back on the long two days of airports, baggage claim, layovers, and turbulence, I (now) can’t help but laugh because my misfortune is so fitting- this would only happen to me. Read more

Returning Home

As students return home from the Fall semester, we’re excited to hear about their experiences!

Thanks to Katie for this beautiful picture from her hike to Wonder Valley. Katie says “One of my favorite adventures in South Africa would have to be an overnight backpacking trip with the UKZN Mountain Club. We hiked 10 kilometers to a rock overhang in Wonder Valley. I have never seen so many stars in my life, it was absolutely memorable.”

Look out for more student feedback on our website.