A year ago, I took a class on the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Little did I know that learning about this structure that was put in place to deal with the human rights violations of apartheid would set off a deep interest in the struggles for racial justice there that would lead me to apply to study abroad there. As someone who has taken a class on the civil rights movement in the United States as well, I am drawn to the idea of comparing and contrasting the two, but more importantly, figuring out what lessons can be taken away from both of these significant movements. I chose the University of Western Cape, specifically because as a historically coloured institution, it has been at the forefront of a lot of the movements in South Africa since its inception during the midst of the apartheid era. One of my majors is Justice and Peace Studies, and my concentration is racial justice and I can’t think of a better place to learn more about racial justice.
I find myself looking at pictures of Cape Town to deal with my restlessness. People always mention how excited they are about studying abroad, but they rarely mention how frustrating the anticipation can be. I can’t wait to escape the snow that covers the ground outside and bask in the South African sun instead. Like anyone else who is about to embark on the adventure of a lifetime, I can’t wait to try new foods, meet new people, and overall just experience a different way of life. I can’t wait, but I certainly have no choice. But for now, I’ll keep spending time with my friends and family. I have to admit, it is jarring to think that I won’t be seeing them in person for five months. At least this makes me appreciate the time I get to spend with them now. I’ve also made it a personal mission of mine to hit up all my favorite restaurants. I have a feeling I will be going through Five Guy’s withdrawal.
Do something each day that scares you. I have a journal that says this boldly on the front cover. The challenge is to do at least one thing a day that makes you nervous, uncomfortable, or scared. I haven’t actually used it…yet. Probably because to be honest, I typically stay in my comfort zone. However, now that I am going abroad to Cape Town, my goal is to keep that phrase in my mind and try things that I normally would not be brave enough to do. As of right now this includes cage shark diving, paragliding, hiking Table Mountain, chilling with African penguins and making sure to engage with my classmates and South African peers. My parents may or may not be okay with some of those items. In all seriousness though, this is my chance to go on adventures, so best believe I will make the most of it. Bye for now. I’m off to get some Five Guy’s fries before it’s too late!