Since my time abroad has come to an end I am going to use this blog to reflect on the highlights of my year.
By far the best experience of my time away was being able to travel during the summer to countries that are so different to anywhere I have been before. As I mentioned in my previous blog I spent Christmas and New Year in Namibia which was fantastic. However, after these celebrations I embarked on a trip that I never pictured myself taking. Camping for 10 days through Botswana and Zimbabwe stood out from any other holiday I had taken. The experience showed me that there is so much more to the world outside Europe and despite the fact I wasn’t keen on camping I actually loved the experience. Seeing animals, in some surreal environments and meeting new people really added a special touch to the experience. When people ask what your dream holiday is I now know the answer and can’t wait to have the opportunity to go back to such a beautiful part of the world.
One of the reasons I wanted to study abroad in South Africa was because it was a good opportunity to play golf a sport which I really enjoy. Throughout the year I managed to play at some fantastic courses, some of which were very different to what I was use to back home. Being able to play in Namibia and all across South Africa was definitely one of my highlights and helped improve my game!
I have always been a big fan of music and had previously enjoyed going to lots of music festivals. I was so excited when I found out that my favourite one was to be held in South Africa while I was there. Ultra SA fell just at the start of my second semester and was a great way to kick off the year. It was held for a weekend in the farms
just outside Cape Town which was an ideal 20 minutes from where I lived. With views of Table Mountain in the background, I had an amazing weekend listening to my favourite edm artists. Also what made it even better was the weather was amazing, I danced about the whole weekend in my flip flops with no mud or rain in site!
When my family came to visit me in April, I enjoyed taking a break from uni life and being a tourist again.When I left for my year abroad my family had no plans to visit so when they were able to come it was a great surprise. Spending time with them travelling around South Africa was by far the best holiday we have all shared together and I was so glad they enjoyed the country as much as me. Before they came I don’t think they believed how enjoyable South Africa could be but after going on several safaris, beach days, up Table Mountain and across to famous sites like Robben Island they really had changed views.
Taking part in Shawco was eye opening but one of the best things I did while abroad. Shawco involved volunteering each week in a township primary school.My friend and I took a class of 5 graders once a week for 6 months where we met some truly amazing kids. The primary school we volunteered at was unprivileged with a lack of teaching staff and resources, however these factors didn’t dampen the spirit of the children attending. All pupils had big personalities and goals and while slightly difficult control at times were a joy to try and teach. The biggest challenge was communicating with these children whose moth tongue was Xhosa, however, over the six months we got to know these children very well and got a real insight into their lives. I hope that my time spent there did help the children’s English and learning in other areas, and I will always have a lot of time to help advance education in townships.