Here is my blog which I will be using to share my experiences while I travel in South Africa this semester with the School of International Training. Primarily this blog will be updated to inform family and friends of my escapades and share some of what I’m learning along the way. This way when I get home I can have a wonderful centralized information center for all those lovely people who will inevitable ask, “How was it?!”
To begin, I arrived in Johannesburg after an 18 hour flight on Friday the 27th to be greeted by Thabisa, our homestay director and one of the program assistant directors. About half of our plan was a mixture of American students making their way to SA for study abroad experiences, and it was really interesting to see what a popular destination it has become.
The first evening dissolved into freshman-year-like awkwardness and silly name games and we all succumbed to jet-lag pretty early. Unfortunately my body was so confused that I awoke at 4am and had about 4.5 hrs to kill before breakfast. Fortunately a few of us began a silent party in in the common room and before we knew it it was 7am (victory!). A few of us set out on a morning run, which gave a quick tour of our surrounds called Kempton Park, right near the Jo-burg airport.
After a typically schmaltzy session on our hopes, dreams, and fears we set out to the Apartheid Museum, where we spent 4 hours reading about the 2,000+ yr history of oppression in SA. I found the museum to be a 3D embodiment of a history text book, where there was entirely too much text and not enough representations of the “everyman experience.” Nonetheless the museum was very informative, and as out guide Simba (yep, like the lion) reminded us, this is only the beginning of our learning this semester.