After forty hours of travel time, I arrived in South Africa last week! The last week has been a whirlwind of activity, and it is hard to believe so much has gone on in such a short amount of time. I have experienced almost no jet lag, simply because there is too much to do to get tired!
The international students at Stellenbosch University are a very closely knit group, and evening socializing is a daily occurrence. Indeed, South Africa as a whole seems to be a very social country; wine plays a part in every gathering, even school functions! If you look lost on the street, often times someone will ask you if you need help, and all native South Africans seem eager to share the best parts of their country.
Driving here, on the other hand, is not so friendly. People drive very aggressively, and there is no such thing as “pedestrians have the right of way” as it is in America. That coupled with the fact that you must look the opposite direction when crossing the road makes walking or biking around town a death defying experience, to say the least.
Also, South Africa does not seem to be nearly as dangerous as everyone was warning about (at least in the small town of Stellenbosch). Of course there are many beggars, and plenty of small crimes, but for the most part it seems safe. There are certain parts of South Africa that I am leaving out of my assessment however, most notably the townships (huge camps of corrugated metal shacks that surround every major city) and the rural areas.
There is still one more week off before classes begin here, and much of that time will probably be spent at the beach! My hope is that by the time I am old, there will be a cure for skin cancer.
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