South Africa is a blast! It is very different from home in a multitude of ways, but it is also one of the most beautiful and incredible places ever. University of Cape Town is challenging but I am learning a lot, and getting a great workout walking to school everyday. Just imagine three sets of the Million Dollar Stairs— with no Maloney elevator.
I am taking Race Class & Gender, Social Justice and Inequality, and Industrial Change and Society, all of which are incredible interesting to learn about especially in the South African context. They all focus on social justice issues, which South Africa has a lot of. I have learned so much about these inequalities in the classroom as well as through volunteering where I witness the daily struggle of a lot of people. Many people lack access to basic necessities such as clean water, electricity, and adequate housing and the education system as well as the public health care system are in dire need for reform. There is still a clear racial divide in society even though it has been twenty years; class rather than race now drives this racial divide. Everything I learn in the classroom I see when I go volunteering, so I make real life connections to what I read and hear in lecture, which gives this learning experience a much deeper and significant meaning.
In addition to school, which takes up a lot of time, I have also done lots of fun activities and gone on many adventures as well. I have hiked Table Mountain and watched the sunset from the top of Lions Head, both give gorgeous views of Cape Town and the ocean. I still have to climb Devil’s Peak, but it will soon be checked off the list! We had spring break a couple weeks back (weird that the seasons are reversed, RIP Pumpkin Spice Lattes ) and I went to Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia. We did many safaris and saw a plethora of animals— elephants, hyenas, lions, giraffes, zebras, hippos, wildebeests, water buffalo, crocodiles and more, went to Victoria Falls where I swam to Devils Pool and also did a head first Gorge Swing! So scary, but so cool. We went through the delta in Botswana, which is filled with diverse plants (I love plants) and animals. I have never seen stars so bright in my entire life because we were honestly in the middle of nowhere. It was incredible. In addition, I have been shark cage diving which was a struggle and a half because a bird pooped on my head, I was vomiting due to severe sea sickness, and I am also petrified of sharks, but it was still so crazy to see a huge great white right outside the cage (even though I choking on the sea water in terror). I also spontaneously went paragliding from Lions Head with a complete stranger (yolo? sorry mom) because he gave my housemate, fellow BC student, Yanyi, a discount! It was really neat and a great view but I again got real motion sick, but I think that just defines my life now a days. I have seen lots of museums, historical monuments, been to the Waterfront and have had the time of my life here! School ends in three weeks and then finals start two weeks after that so I have some more time to explore this amazing city!