The departure day gets closer, and my anticipation rises like the sun on a perfect summer day. Who knows what to expect, I just can’t wait to get there.
I wish to meet local South Africans and have memorable experiences with them. I intend learn a lot from the town of Pietermaritzburg and from classes taken at the university. For the most part, in my time overseas, I hope to gain new and valuable skills to bring back to the US. Skills that will help the pursuit of a successful career. South Africa will help me build more confidence in myself and my abilities.
Challenges and opportunities might revolve around differences in culture and language, and aspects of the everyday life. All specific opportunities and challenges will become clear over time after arrival in the city. A friend who had studied abroad gave me a good tip upon to her return to the US. She simply said to sit back and enjoy the ride, and on it there will be good and bad. This is the beauty of the traveling experience. With that being said, I am prepared to put my plane on autopilot and open myself to this intellectual and emotional journey.
Just a mere half hour from Pietermaritzburg is a little town that, while well-known in the surrounding area, remains undiscovered by most tourists. The town is Howick, home to many small cafes and beautiful shops, and most notably Howick Falls, a one hundred meter water fall that is said to be one of the most spiritual places in the world, one that still draws people to the God said to live behind the falls. Part lion, part snake, and part bird, this God receives many offerings of fruit and tokens of respect from the locals who believe in it. Read more
Africa has always been of interest to me – that mysterious continent halfway around the world that is impossible to categorize since each country is fantastically unique. When I took a college course about South Africa, my interest grew exponentially and I now find myself preparing to spend five whole months there as a student at the University of Kwazulu-Natal in Pietermaritzburg. I’m looking forward to an experience unlike anything I’ve ever known, and I’m expecting to be blown away by all the exciting and challenging things I will come across while there. I’m hoping to come home to my small town of Ithaca, NY with a new global perspective, and be able to apply that to my everyday life. I also want to make life-long connections and friendships with people I meet, and fulfill my sense of adventure. I don’t doubt that there will be challenges, among them living in a foreign country for such a long time. However, the biggest challenge I expect to face will be in completing forty hours of student teaching in an English classroom at the high school level. It will be eye-opening certainly, and perhaps heartrending (considering I have to come armed with school supplies) but the challenge will be worth it. And I do love a challenge.