Today was our last day of academic activities. Tomorrow is our last full day in South Africa. We took a tour all the way down to Cape Point, which is part of the Cape Peninsula National Park. It was great to see all the different areas around the shore of South Africa.
We saw different kinds of living areas besides the townships, which we have been seeing throughout the entire trip. We took a quick stop to see the seals. Then headed to Simon’s Town to see penguins. The best part of this trip was that we got to see the wild life of South Africa. I loved how I got to see the animals in their natural habitat rather than in a zoo or aquarium. When I was walking up to Cape Point, I was looking for wild baboons which they have in the area, but unfortunately I did not get to see any.
Lastly, we ended the day with wine tasting, which was a cultural experience. When I first told people that I was going wine tasting on this trip, many people said “isn’t Italy the only place known for their wine”, but that it is not true. South Africa has many different vineyards across Cape Town, and it was a great experience to do some wine tasting especially since I won’t be going to Italy any time soon.
When I first saw the presentation about this class, I knew that this trip was an experience of a lifetime. When I went to the information session for this class last fall, I couldn’t imagine myself actually signing up for an interview and then being accepted into this class. I believe in the saying “everything happens for a reason”. I believe that there is a reason why I could not go abroad for a whole semester but it led me to this amazing two week trip to South Africa. South Africa is a trip of a lifetime because it included experiences that tourists do not normally get to see or experience on a family vacation. I not only had an amazing experience but I learned a lot as well.
When talking to locals throughout the trip, I learned more about the culture than when just reading about it because I learned about their life experiences rather than just general facts. One thing that stood out to me throughout this trip was most of the people we talked to said that, “America is a dream country”, “I dream of seeing America”, or how great American people are. Everyone has their own perceptions of America, but it is hard to hear those things knowing most of the people will never be able to afford to visit America.
I also learned that South Africa’s history with Apartheid is similar to the Civil Rights Movement in the United States. I also did not know a lot of South Africa’s history. Sometimes I wonder if I know more about South Africa’s history than the United States.
After watching all the videos in class and attending all the lectures, and finally traveling here, what I’ve learned all came together and made sense like putting the pieces of the puzzle together. I love seeing in person all the things we learned about in the classroom. This trip has opened up by eyes in many different ways. It has taught me to appreciate life and taught me a lot about history. It was hard to see some of the places we saw but I think we were well prepared for what we were all about to experience.