Three continents, four planes and 36 hours. It was my mantra as I frantically stuffed my bag with as many lotions, water bottles, and snacks as I possibly could. In less than 12 hours, I would be on my way to Los Angeles International Airport to depart on what many have told me will be the adventure of a lifetime. To say I am nervous is a bit of an understatement. I’ll be heading off to Cape Town, South Africa – an entire world away! For the next five months, I will be studying at the University of Cape Town in the Arts and Sciences program. To prepare for this incredible opportunity, I have been diligently reading every blog, article or info sheet I could get my hands on about studying abroad in Cape Town. Luckily for me, it’s clearly a very popular destination. I’ve found more than enough information to occupy my time during winter break. After reading so many different blogs from students across the country, I’ve come up with a list of common themes I have picked up as I have worked my way through masses of articles. As I compile this list, my hope is that I will be able to experience these things for myself and add new ones along the way.
How to prepare for studying abroad in South Africa: A Summary
- Be ready for a LOT of heat. I definitely packed SPF 70.
- Long Street will give you an entirely new definition of nightlife.
- Be prepared to be shocked by the prevalence of conversations and fixation of race
- BRAAI BRAAI BRAAI: When in doubt, you can’t go wrong with a South African BBQ.
- Meet the locals and make friends. Don’t just stick with your American group.
- Visit the townships. There is more to South Africa than the beaches.
- Read A Long Walk to Freedom before and during your semester (check!)
- Culture shock is real – be prepared to be thrown out of your comfort zone in this vibrant city.
- WiFi can be slow (and impossible to come by at times).
- Life moves at a different pace. Embrace it.
And there it is! Ten themes that kept coming up in every blog I read. Each blog or article has me even more excited for this adventure ahead. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.
My next post will be coming at you from Cape Town, South Africa. Until then, bon voyage!