I never thought studying abroad would change me, but it has...

Authored By:

Alfred M.

My time in Cape Town has been incredible. Arriving in Cape Town on a Sunday night before our Monday orientation, I stayed in a local Rondebosch AirBnB nearby. It was excellent for $22 a month! By the end of the first day we quickly became friends and started exploring the city. We ventured on walking tour of the CBD,  explored the V&A waterfront and its various restaurants and activities, started our classes with our stellar professors, and of course had fun at the bars on Long Street and Claremont. From the shores of the majestic and beautiful Camp's Bay to the tiny but jaw dropping peak of Lion's Head, my first week in Cape Town was outstanding. 

One of my goals while in South Africa was to be intentional about leaving my comfort zone, whilst staying true to myself and learning about my limits and interests. Cape Town is a vibrant city with a lot of character and diversity. This fact, coupled with the great cohort of people in my program has enabled me to challenge myself and feel comfortable doing so - even garnering support. One thing I decided to do was start a vlog about my experiences in Cape Town. As I write this it is week 5 (a week before I leave - really sad) and I have already released three vlogs about my experiences here in Cape Town. I of course created the vlogs for myself, so I can remember my time here and the happy moments I experienced, but I also created the vlogs for my fellow peers who have shared these memories with me so that even as we part ways we can always have something to point to. I created them for future students and scholars who are interested or planning on studying abroad but maybe are on the fence or are nervous. I created them to show people that leaving your circle of influence and building relationships is a fruitful and wholesome way to live.

Whether you blog or vlog or podcast, I think reflecting on your experiences whilst abroad is paramount. It is so worth it. I am not even done with my time in Cape Town and I am already so glad I decided to make the leap and do something so outside my area of expertise and what people expect of me. Challenging yourself and putting yourself in uncomfortable situations is the best way to learn. It is when you grow and push your limits. I never thought a study abroad experience would change me, but I was wrong, it really has. It has made me more introspective and sure of myself and what I want to do. It has pushed me to question my assumptions and my heuristics. Why do I want to work at this company after I graduate, why do I value these traits in a significant other, how do my goals line up with my actions? These were some of the questions I was asking myself. I have always thought of myself as steadfast, strong, and adaptable - especially after living in 3 countries and without my parents for 7 years of my life. But being surrounded by people your age, thought provoking conversations, and a country so successful yet so cripled really makes you think...

Here is the link to my first South Africa Vlog & YouTube channel: 

Thank you CIEE and thank you Cape Town, South Africa.