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Posts tagged ‘cape town’

Thinking About Cape Town? Do it.

The following is a reflection from our student blogger, Sarah, after her return from the Interstudy University of Cape Town program last Spring:

Somehow I’ve already been back in the U.S. for a month, and my memory of leaving South Africa feels like a very strange dream. I went through the motions of packing and saying goodbye to everyone I had grown so close with in 5 months, but it was really hard to wrap my brain around the thought that I was actually leaving the beautiful place that had been my home for a semester. When it finally did hit me sometime on the 15-hour flight from Johannesburg to New York (the TVs weren’t working so there was a lot of time to think about these things), I didn’t know how to feel. I was very excited to see my family and friends back at home, but just couldn’t believe that my time in Cape Town was over. In 5 months I had made some amazing friends, and had incredible experiences that I know I will never forget. Read more


I can picture myself at ten years old; surrounded in the savannah I had created in my head. One that consisted of a jungle of bed sheets and the company of a stuffed giraffe and elephant. It was in this kingdom where I held my own safaris, my own world without ever leaving my bedroom.

Perhaps this was what enticed me to travel to Cape Town: the vision of adventure still floating around in my mind. But now, that child has grown up. I want more than the adventure that thrilled my young heart. Now, I long for the insight.

Perhaps that is both the opportunity and the challenge that I foresee in this journey to Cape Town: the discovery of insight. It is the understanding that I both desire and cringe at the thought of. It is the fact I will go on this voyage to a place I don’t know, and undoubtedly find myself overwhelmed by the shock and the difference in location and culture. I will see the struggles and heartache of a new nation that will not only challenge me, but challenge what I have been taught and what I had previously understood.

At the same time, this new insight will offer me an opportunity to open my eyes to the vastness of this planet and appreciate in full what our world has to offer. I will experience beautiful things; things that can only be felt through experience, could only be understood through action. Then, I will leave Cape Town not only with the adventure in my soul, but also with the insight in my heart that will stay with me forever.

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.

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

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.” 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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Service Learning and Volunteering Abroad

Last week was National Volunteer Week across the country.  In recognition of this week, we wanted to highlight a couple Interstudy programs where you can participate in volunteering and/or service learning.  Contact us at 781-391-0991 or if you have any questions!

Interstudy encourages our students to take advantage of the many opportunities to gain hands-on experience and give back to your host country’s community while abroad.  By participating in a volunteer or service learning experience, you are pretty much guaranteed to engage more deeply with people from your host country and gain a deeper understanding of the culture. Read more