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Posts tagged ‘durban’

Pan Out.

While I was off hiking mountains, getting lost on the garden route, and staring down (okay, more like squeaking and trembling in fear of) wild elephants, Philadelphia had the good grace to remain wonderfully unchanged and familiar. I came home to find my favorite noodle bowl at the restaurant down the street, my favorite sofa at the library settled in the same corner, and my favorite people set up in cozy apartments and ready to take on chocolate cake recipes and late night movies. I won’t pretend that I’m not loving every minute of it. After all, it’s good to be home, and as much fun as adventuring in South Africa was, I missed it here. Read more

Con Te Partiro

Dear Durban,

Well, it’s been fun. Thanks for 5 months of near-perpetual perfect weather, greasy Steers fries, 30 rand wine and movie nights. Sure, we had our disagreements here and there – I know I can be too uptight, and you’re the kind of place that asks for a lot of adaptability, but I think we came to a pretty decent balance most of the time. Thanks for the cool people you introduced me to- I’m just as sad to leave them as I am to leave you, truth be told, and even for dragging me hiking that one time in the Drakensburg. (Note: I’m never doing that again.)

I know our time together was short – feels like it’s been a matter of weeks sometimes – and if I could make it longer, I would. But we both knew I’d have to go back to Philadelphia eventually, Durban. It’s about that time now.

I still maintain that there’s no such thing as too many photographs, so when Philadelphia gets too chilly or rainy, I know I’ll be rifling through pictures of you and me and remembering the good times– the beaches, the marketplaces, the weeklong jaunts to Cape Town and Mozambique. You’ve given me a lot, Durbs, and I’ll always remember our time together as absolutely fantastic. Do me a favour and take care of the next new girl you meet, alright?

Love,

Az.

Early Action Raffle Winners

Please join us in congratulating our 2 Early Action Raffle Winners for the upcoming Summer and Fall semesters! These students were chosen at random from amongst the Interstudy applicants who applied by the early action deadline (March 1 for Summer, and March 15 for Fall):

Melissa Brodie, UMASS Boston
Summer Program: University of KwaZulu-Natal, Howard College (Durban)

Stephanie Clemens, UMASS Boston
Fall Semester: Queen Mary, University of London

Note: it was entirely by chance that both students came from the same school!

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

Baby Stepping

Hello, outside world!

I’m currently reporting from my dorm room- (a clean little area overlooking a parking lot and garden outside), nursing a tiny headache (thank you, sun exposure) and waiting for my black tea to finish steeping so that I can begin to treat aforementioned headache.

So my time in Durban so far? Hot. The days have ranged from all-too-quick visits to water parks and sun-bleached beaches to seemingly endless hours spent waiting in registration lines and orientation meetings, waving paper fans and sipping from sweating bottles of water. Classes start next week, and so most of us are still walking around, supplying our dorm rooms with instant food, soap and FANS, and making baby steps towards figuring this city out. So, as a girl who is definitively still in the settling in phase, I humbly present the few tidbits we’ve picked up along the way. Read more

In 3,2,1…

“So South Africa? Why go there?”

As my school semester wraps up, and that little red dot on my calendar gets closer and closer, I’ve found myself asking that question more and more often. After all, squeezing my entire life (which I’m realizing is surprisingly full of stuff) into two suitcases, waving goodbye to my best friends and cozy apartment, and jetting off to a school and a city in which I know nobody and nothing isn’t something I’m doing on a whim. There is obviously something I’m looking for that drove me through the essay questions,the deadlines, the visa applications and the occasional fluttering of the heart that comes with the realization that in a time so short that can be measured in weeks, I will be standing in Durban, South Africa.

And here’s the hard part: identifying the something. I’ll be honest and say I’m not sure I can in the space of a single blog post. I can try to piece together the kaleidoscope of small things I imagine I will meet in South Africa, but past experience is enough to tell me that expectations and experiences very rarely end up matching. What I can do is say that I hope for an adventure: one in which I meet people I’m amazed by, and people I don’t agree with, in which my priorities shift, in which I’m unsettled and excited and exhausted and, at the end of it, a different person from the one that first arrived. It’s a tall order, but something tells me that South Africa is more than up to the challenge.

To The University of KwaZulu-Natal: I’m excited to meet you. Get ready to bring it.