Looking through past posts was both informative and grounding. It’s really crazy for me to think back to first semester when I initially applied for the class, compared to where we are now — 2 weeks away from actually being in South Africa. When initially accepted into the program, the actual trip seemed so far away, now as we approach our departure I am filled with anxiety, excitation, and uncertainty of what to really expect — it’s scary to think how fast the time has gone!
As I stated in my first blog post ever,
“by participating in this course I hope to become more knowledgeable about South African culture in order to become a more well-rounded individual. In addition, I am greatly looking forward to our service opportunities in South Africa as I enjoy giving back to the community. Ultimately, I feel like QU301 South Africa is a once in a lifetime opportunity and I plan to take advantage of all it has to offer.”
In reflecting on these goals, I can safely say that I do know a lot more about South African culture and do feel like a more well rounded individual. The map quiz in particular (although slightly annoying at the time) proved to be really helpful in achieving these goals. While this was my ultimate goal and one that I feel will only continue to develop as I travel in South Africa, there are also some areas where I was slightly disappointed in my growth.
I was really looking forward to having a real hands on experience in researching and implementing a service project. That being said, I was disappointed in the fact that the Service Project that I was assigned wasn’t exactly realistic. Because of this, it felt almost like a waste of time researching and presenting on something that had virtually no chance in being implemented into the community. However, I do think it was an overall valuable experience as I now understand the struggles Tamarin faces on a daily basis in funding and implementing projects like the Internet and Worldreader into the community. I cannot imagine having such big ideas and goals and having those ideas consistently stifled by inadequate resources.
At this point, I’m really ready for the “class” part of this experience to be over and for the travel component to begin. I am anxiously awaiting our departure to South Africa. The closer we get to the date of departure the more excited I am becoming. I can’t even imagine how life changing this experience will be and I can’t wait to finally get to physically see everything we have been learning about and working towards all semester.
Now that I am educated about where I am going and aware of some things to expect, my new goal is to make sure I take advantage of every opportunity presented to me while in South Africa. I tend to hold myself back and prevent myself from doing things that I want to do out of fear and uncertainty. With that in mind, I want to make sure that I leave South Africa having no regrets. In order to achieve this, I strive to push myself out of my comfort zone and truly immerse myself in a culture so foreign to my own.