It has been about a month since I first arrived in Botswana, but wow, this place already feels like home. There is so much to say about this colorful culture and its vibrant people but I think what is most eye opening is the inviting nature of so many of the people here. In the short time I’ve been here I feel like I have already seen so much; so many people are more than happy to take you around to experience the night life, tell you about their village, have you and your friends over for dinner… and everyday is something new.
Of the places I’ve been so far, the one that sticks out most is Kgale hill. It is a giant, green hill with hiking trails and giant rocks to climb. While hiking you can see baboons, exotic birds, incredible trees, etc. A few friends and I hiked to the top not too long ago and were able to get a fantastic view of the city of Gaborone, and some of rural Botswana and South Africa. There were some notable local attractions too, like the Mokolodi reserve where we saw a cheetah, a giraffe, and some other animals. It’s hard to think about how much more of this country there is left to explore!
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
I thought I would devote a bit to the seemingly random activities I end up involved in here in Cape Town…what would life be like without the usual (very usual, in my case) randomness, hey? The thing I’ve realized since I’ve been here is that South African life, in all it’s wonder, excitement, and seemingly primitive nature at times, it is surprisingly familiar. As the mystery has worn off, the sense of home emerges. This is no longer a vacation; it is a lifestyle (perhaps a luxurious lifestyle, but yet I will count it as such). And what would “life” be like without the usual patterns and the moments that, although seem silly, make all the difference. When I leave South Africa, it’s not the beaches and shopping and sights that I will miss most; it is the life, my life. Here is a sneak peak into my “normal” life. Read more
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.