I’m back home in Hawaii for the break but I am leaving today to attend a family reunion in LA. It hasn’t really hit me that I am home but now that I am leaving again, it’s getting weird. As I was packing, I realized that it hasn’t been much time since I last traveled and it took me 42.5 hours to get home from South Africa. Although this flight will be a lot shorter, I still dread getting onto a plane.
I didn’t blog as much as I wanted to, mostly because there was so much to do! In my last few days in South Africa, we went to Cape Town, which I found to be the most developed part of the whole country. We went on a scenic drive around the peninsula, visited a penguin colony at Boulders Beach, and hiked Table Mountain. I have been telling my relatives at our family holiday parties that I have been studying in South Africa and more often than not, they ask me if I studied in Cape Town. Historically, Cape Town is the town where Europeans first settled in South Africa. In my opinion, Durban is a lot more fun than Cape Town. It’s probably because within the last few weeks of being in Durban, I felt like I was living there instead of just studying there.
I feel a little culture shock now that I am home and there is stable wifi, really good Asian food, and low water pressure in my toilet (South Africa does not mess around with their toilet pressure). I think I will feel the most culture shock when I return to Whitman where I will return to normal lecture halls. I loved SIT’s experiential learning because I love hands-on learning. I owe many thanks to the people who run the program in South Africa and to Whitman for running an amazing off-campus studies office.
In conclusion, I recommend this program to anyone who is interested in experiencing a different culture. I’m thankful for all the people I have met and I would happily do it again. I would not recommend this program to people who have a hard time dealing with uncertainty. As a part of experiential learning, there are some things that we did that were surprising and unexpected but that’s just the fun in studying abroad. I was lucky to have made some friends on the program as well as some in the community so I had fun with the people I have met. Ngiyabonga kakhulu Durban!