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Posts tagged ‘university of kwazulu-natal’

Heading to the Rainbow Nation

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.

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.

Celebrating Women

Today is International Women’s Day, a global day to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. Along with this day, the entire month of March is Women’s History Month. In honor of the two, we’ve put together a list of course offerings for Women’s and Gender Studies at some of our interstudy programs. Contact us if you have any questions, and remember to hug your mom, grandma, aunt, sister, professor, or any other woman that you admire!

Women’s Studies Offerings:

University of Cape Town African Gender Institute
Example Course: AGI2002F Gender, Sexuality, Politics:

Gender Studies Programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (Durban)
Example Course: GEST202 H2 Introduction to Gender Studies: The development of an understanding of the critical vocabulary on gender and related issues; An understanding of the instability of the concept of gender; the critical evaluation and presentation of arguments in relation to gender

Global Women’s Studies at NUI Galway

Example Course: Introduction to Women, Culture, Media and Society

Women’s Studies at the University of the Limerick

Example Course: WS 4018 Gender, Identity, Culture, Society:

The aim of this inter-disciplinary course is to examine the historical, literary and social construction of identity and citizenship as this relates to women in contemporary society. It will examine the extent to which the sense of self, of home, of community, of nationality are gendered notions and their consequences for women.

Gender Studies at Queen’s Belfast

Gender Studies Courses at King’s College, University of London

Example Course: Gender and Identity:

For over three centuries a diverse group of American women have engaged in the act of autobiographical writing. Whether living on western frontiers, southern plantations, impoverished tenements, or middle-class homes they have felt a compulsion to record in written text stories about their lives. This course will use autobiographies to interrogate the cultural history of American women. Central to the course are issues of gender, identity, and selfhood…

Returning Home

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.