I write this in school coffee shop on an oversized comfy-chair with two legs clad in warm leggings hanging off the armrest. Every morning, I wake up—not too late, but definitely not too early—in a warm bed with four blankets to make up for the lack of any sense of a proper-working heater in my apartment. The day, everyday, is filled to the brim with classes, practices, meetings, and the daily dose of dining hall. To me, this life is “normal”, usual for a student my age. Any other life seems irregular and foreign. What do I want to gain from my experience abroad? Simple: a new “normal”.
Perhaps the greatest difference between a tourist and a full-time student abroad is what each call “home”. Home is a place of identity, support, and comforting familiarity; it is a context in which things are regular. A tourist walks through the Uffizi Galleria in Florence or roams the royal castles in Stockholm as a visitor, wide-eyed and perhaps feeling a little out of place. For a student abroad, however, sunbathing on the beach in Barcelona or hiking to the top of Table Mountain in Cape Town are not out of ordinary, for those are the adventures that become regular, and those the places that become a part of “home”. Read more
With three bursting bags packed and four final exams completed, it’s time to say goodbye to South Africa. It’s hard to believe that nearly five months have passed, yet at the same time life in America seems like a distant memory. In reflecting on my amazing experience studying abroad, I’ve decided to celebrate all of the incredible moments, places, and people I’ve come across rather than dwelling in the bittersweet emotions I feel. Hence, I’d like to introduce the first (and last) Katie’s Cape Town Awards. The following superlatives sufficiently encompass a few of the many highlights of my time here and have earned special places in my memory. Hopefully this list will inspire a few of your own experiences in Cape Town someday!
The award for the biggest contributor to ‘The Big 10’ goes to… CADBURY CHOCOLATES
In case anyone hasn’t heard, the Big 5 are five of the most dangerous animals safari-goers used to hunt. They include lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo. Well, being the cheeky interstuds that we are, some of my peers and I have termed the ten extra pounds we’ve gained abroad ‘the Big 10.’ We figure ‘The Big 10’ is an appropriately South African way to describe the biggest thing we’re bringing back to the states—ourselves. It’s not uncommon for study abroad students to gain weight during their term since we’re always looking to experience all that our host country has to offer, and food is a great way to get a taste of the country. Upon arriving in our apartments on the first day, the interstudy staff gave us our first taste of heaven in square form (Cadbury chocolate bars). It’s all been downhill since then. Biscuit chocolate is my favorite, so I may or may not be bringing home three bars of Biscuit milk chocolate and three bars of biscuit white chocolate.
The award for being the most likely to make someone run off the side of a mountain goes out to…CAPE TOWN TANDEM PARAGLIDING