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Posts tagged ‘culture’

Sawubona. Igama lami uLanga Mchunu!

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Sanibonani! For those of you who don’t know, that means “Hello” in Zulu. Zulu is a language spoken in many parts of South Africa, and a language that is now often heard in Interstudy‘s Boston office. Interstudy‘s South Africa Site Specialist and the newest addition to the office, Langa Mchunu, was born and raised in South Africa and speaks fluent Zulu and English. Even though Langa is the only one from South Africa in our office, we are all catching on with some of his Zulu phrases. The most popular one being “Yebo”, which means “Yes”. “Yebo” just falls off the tongue so much easier than “Yes”. You can count on “Yebo” being the new hip word to use in the US in a few years, and you can thank Langa for that! Read more

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Post Botswana Reflection

I can’t believe that my time in Botswana has come to a close and that I am back home in the United States.  Every day I think about the time I had there and all those who I met.  Settling back into the lifestyle here has been somewhat difficult in that so much is completely different.  The classroom culture, for example, is nothing like it is at my home school.  At the University of Botswana, the due dates are not clear, tardiness is not a problem (most of the time the professors were even late), and sometimes the students would go off on a tangent speaking Setswana.
The transportation, as well, is nothing like home.  Taking combis and calling cabs was the only way to get anywhere other than walking unless you knew a friend with a car, and often times us students would walk very long distances.  There was something pleasant about that though and about the insecurities of taking public transportation, as silly as that may seem.  And wow, although I loved my time in Botswana and consider it one of the greatest experiences of my life, it is definitely good to come home to the food that I am used to.  But even though there isn’t much variety or choice in what you are eating in Botswana, I still find myself craving foods like pop and the paphatas.

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R & R

The funny thing about studying abroad is how much it makes you think about home.

After all, to immerse yourself entirely in another culture, you’ve first got to clamber out of the pool of thoughts, norms and expectations that was your home, and boy, is the view different once you’re out of it.  As a girl who goes to a pretty competitive university in the United States of America, I can definitely say I’ve uttered a few of the expected “Woah, that’s not how they do things in the States”s while studying in the ultra-laid-back city that houses the University of KwaZulu Natal. This isn’t either a good or bad thing (usually,) just a different thing. I think to try to encompass every difference I’ve found here would just be too much for one little blog post (heck it might be too much for one little book,) so I’ll focus on one aspect of Durban culture that I’ve still not completely managed to wrap my head around: relaxation. Read more

Lessons come from the journey, not the destination!

Being abroad is much harder than I had ever anticipated. There are the logistics to work out, places to adjust to, and people to meet and befriend. For me, particularly in the beginning, it was hard to become accustomed to my new environment, mostly because change is almost always difficult for me. However, now I am approaching the halfway point of my experience and I feel that I have fully adjusted to the Irish culture and thing things it has to offer. Although, some days are still difficult; I often miss my family, friends, and home institution but the things that I have seen and the people that I have met make it all worth the few struggles! Since embarking on my journey in Ireland, and having had the opportunity to see and meet new people and places, I have attained a better appreciation for home, as well as an improved insight about my own self. Read more

Slowly but Surely

It is now officially one week since I’ve landed on the Emerald Isle and what a jewel it really is. To be frank, I don’t think I’ve ever been to a place quite like this- a culture shock indeed. My journey began with my departure from home. Dad, Lucia, Nikki, and Brendin accompanied me to Boston’s Logan International Airport and we said our teary-eyed goodbyes at the security gate. I am very surprised at how well I handled myself in all my traveling, despite a few more tears on the flight while listening to a music playlist I had made for my father. I must say the excitement as the plane slowly landed on the runway in Dublin was extremely thrilling. There, I met Coleman (my Interstudy advisor) and Christine (another America student studying at NUIM). The three of us quickly bonded while we tried to strategically fit 6 over-sized suitcases, 1 heavy duffle bag, 1 rubbermaid storage container, and 2 larger carry-ons into Coleman’s tiny car. If not for my conveniently tiny size and ability to squeeze into small spaces, I might still be at the airport. Upon our arrival on campus, Coleman guided us around the beautiful south campus and traditionally modern north campus of NUIM. Unfortunately, meanwhile, the immediate change was a bit too much for my body to handle- as the first couple of days, I saw more of the apartment as I would have liked to due to some jet lag and nerves. Luckily, with a bit of rest and some fresh air while sight-seeing, I was able to quickly recuperate. It is then that we met up with Coleman and an Interstudy student studying at Trinity for a bite to eat and some browsing in Dublin. Read more

This is Africa

I’ve been in Cape Town for a little over a week, but it’s felt like I’ve been here for months. The concept of time in Africa is completely different than anything I’ve experienced in America. In the States, I was used to constantly checking my phone for the time and scheduling out every minute of every day. In Africa, I barely know what day of the week it is. Everything moves at a slower pace, which the locals explain with the saying, “This is Africa.” If a friend asks you to meet them at a café at 10am, they mean any time between 10am and 11am. Read more

Colorado to Cape Town: 36 Days

After a whirlwind finals week at the University of Denver, my (short) summer has finally begun. Throughout the chaos of papers, projects, exams, and packing, it was easy for me to forget about the adventure in Cape Town that soon awaits me. However, somewhere during the “see-you-in-January-goodbyes”, reality started to sink in and I was reminded about the trip that will commence in just 36 days. Between the looming what-if questions that are unavoidable for nearly any student planning to go abroad and my Type-A personality, I’m anxious to be in Cape Town simply so I can stop stressing about the pre-trip nerves and tasks. Read more