Archive 2008 - 2019

Semester in Capetown: Part 1

by Bella Tobin

We had our first day of orientation today. A lot of it was them talking to us, but it was good information. They gave us tips on the culture, how to get around and how to stay safe. A police officer was there to talk to us about safety. We found out that we get our apartment professionally cleaned twice a week, which is an incredible luxury, but they made it seem standard. We also set up our bank accounts (or at least most of us) which was a much longer process than necessary but I suppose that’s what comes with living in a third world country.

Some of the orientation was split up into small groups, and our mentor took my group on a tour of University of Cape Town. The campus was absolutely stunning. The buildings were gorgeous, mostly stone with ivy growing around them, and surrounded by palm trees and beautiful flora. The campus was much bigger than UVM, and the school has about twice the amount of students. I was told that a lot of the UCT students are snobby and wear semi-formal clothing to class, like dress pants and jackets, but there are also a lot of laid back South Africans and students from all over the world. The city is incredibly diverse in race, religion, culture, socioeconomic status and language.

I’m looking forward to starting school so I can get to know more South Africans. I love all the mentors/leaders so far.  They are really helpful and friendly and enjoy showing us the city. There are two of them that are living in the neighborhood and will take us out and watch over us throughout the semester. The accents here are really interesting. It’s almost a mix between Australian and French, and a little bit of everything else.

This city is beautiful.  It feels like a tropical island and has the backdrop of Table Mountain. 


Comments (3)

What a great experience! All the best!

Sean | 2012-01-30 14:51:40

I too spent a semester in South Africa, including the beautiful city of Cape Town, for an anthropology degree. This is an amazing country! I highly recommend a trip to Kruger Park game preserve and Robben Island historical site (the former political prison where Neslon Mandela was held for many years) if you have a little extra time amongst your studies. I am jealous you are there, as a yearn to someday return. South Africa is a very rewarding visit! ...and the Africaans accent will get easier to understand after a few days

Aly | 2012-01-30 14:08:05

Great to get this update, Bella! We look forward to your next installment and wish you all the best in your studies and safety in your travels. Have fun, learn lots, and be safe!

Tobin clan member | 2012-01-30 11:17:33