1. There are animals everywhere.
On any normal day, you are likely to see a goat or cow on the side of the road, a monkey rummaging through the trash cans outside your dorm, and possibly even a chicken in the student center.
2. You will learn how to be extremely creative with a kettle.
Sometimes the food can be repetitive therefore eating in your room is a solid way to go. In the kettle, we have successfully made hard boiled eggs, steamed broccoli, couscous and more!
3. iMessage, Facebook messenger, and email are not in style here.
WhatsApp is the way to go. Expect to talk to all your professors, classmates and everyone in Gaborone on WhatsApp.
4. Showering and laundry require strategic planning.
If you want a warm shower, you must wait until at least 10 pm to start your shower. For laundry, you must go on a Wednesday afternoon. Any other day, you are most likely to not get a machine. I personally recommend handwashing. It is on your own schedule and can often be quicker.
5. Although you may want to travel and skip a few classes here and there, your professors will notice and call you out in class.
As you are foreign and possibly visibly different, your professor will know who you are. You may be in a 6-person class or a 100-person class, your professor will know if you are absent and will ask you why you did not attend.
6. If you plan to travel inexpensively, expect to spend copious amounts of time in a combi or an overnight bus.
To travel, 8 hours is considered a short amount of time to spend in the combi.
7. “I want to marry you,” screams the taxi guy every time I am catching a combi.
Expect many declarations of love, marriage proposals, and requests for you to bring them back to America.
8. WIFI and cell service are not always consistent.
Yet, it can be one of the best things for you. Would I know everyone’s weird childhood stories, favorite foods, and family trees with consistent WIFI? Probably not.
9. You may think you are leaving your parents for an extended period of time, but you gain a whole new family in Gaborone.
The minute you land in Sir Seretse Khama International Airport, you will be greeted by Bethel with a huge smile. Bethel will help you travel and protect you through your travels. Then you will meet Base and Lebo, who care for you, take care of you and let you know when you are making questionable decisions as if you are their own children.
10. When your four and a half months are slowly coming to an end, you will not know what to do with yourself.
You will build a home here, a life here, and will not know how to say goodbye.