Countdown to take off!
I am SO excited that I will be setting off for South Africa in a matter of weeks. Since spending a year in Swaziland as a Project Trust volunteer, after finishing school, I have been itching to return to the continent I fell in love with and start a new adventure. I can’t believe I’ve only been back in England for ten months and I’m already off to return to South Africa.
From the first week of University at York, I had my eyes peeled for study abroad opportunities, hoping deep down that South Africa was a location students could go to. At the fresher’s fair, I found the stall in Central Hall for ‘Global Opportunities’ where a girl was standing with a ‘Rhodes University’ sweatshirt on ready to tell me about how she had just returned from her year studying in South Africa. So enthusiastic and friendly, she was buzzing about the year she had just returned from and I was amazed to find out that this exchange is reserved for arts and humanities students. Being an English/ History student this sounded perfect and I started to go to every ‘Global Opportunities’ event and student drop-in sessions to find out as much as possible about the application process.
After finding that I had gained the place, at the end of February, I had a huge incentive to study very hard to secure my obligatory 2:1 and continued working a lot in my part-time job as a Host in a York restaurant.
Why South Africa again?
During my gap year I spent short amounts of time in South Africa during the school holidays when I wasn’t teaching throughout my year in Swaziland and as a hostel intern I lived with over a hundred Swazi/South African/ Mozambican girls. I found the country inspiring, so vibrant with so much to offer, especially in terms of culture, history, music and art. I longed to be able to spend more time immersing myself among the most lively, friendly people I have ever come across. An opportunity to participate in classes with African and international students within a South African institution is a rare opportunity that I would give anything for.
Now that this dream is becoming a reality, I’m preparing myself for new challenges that may arise from this experience. I am definitely grateful to have some knowledge of the country and previous experience from which I learnt so much, especially about myself. Using that knowledge to my advantage, I am very excited to get involved in much of the University life in South Africa, make new friends and take full advantage of all the opportunities the University has to offer. Though my family are sad to see me leave again for another year, the signification reduction in tuition fees and the amazing opportunity that it is to study abroad makes the goodbye understandable.
I’m not nervous this time around because I overcame that challenging hurdle of leaving home last time and I achieved a lot by making it to the end of the twelve month project, it feels like now there is nothing I could not eventually overcome with time and determination.
For this year away, I am really hoping to properly learn how to budget, especially as I worked for the money to make this possible. For me, another year away, to split up my York degree, is perfect though I know it will mean leaving friends behind. What makes me happy is that a course friend of mine is now taking the summer school in Cape Town and I’m so excited for her also to get to see the country I am slightly obsessed with.