Well, I am thoroughly enjoying my last few days of summer as classes begin on Monday… it hasn’t quite settled in that school is approaching so quickly but I’m sure I’ll be in a routine in no time. After a few scheduling issues and running around campus trying to find professors, I figured out my classes and got registered for the semester. I don’t start class till 11 but I’m on campus till about 4 or 5 everyday. Clubs are pretty legit here with hefty membership fees and all but fortunately as an international student, they want to give us the full “UCT experience” so we get three club memberships for free. I still have to figure out which ones I want to join but I’m looking at ballroom dancing along with the wine and culture club and another one as well. The past few days have been UCT orientation and I have started to figure my way around campus… however, campus is obviously much bigger compared to Creighton. Although the campus is absolutely gorgeous, it has been an adventure trying to navigate it. There are three portions of campus: lower, middle, and upper with “Jammie shuttles” running between the campuses. There are lots of different Jammie routes as well which I still have to figure out once school starts.
There have been lots of activities for us on campus the past few days during orientation including a wine and chocolate tasting. Stellenbosch is a smaller city about 45 minutes away from Cape Town and it is famous for its vineyards so wine is everywhere here… and also very cheap. And chocolate is chocolate… do I even need to say anything more… so that was a lot of fun! I am also going to work with an organization called SHAWCO, Student Health and Wellness Community Organization. This organization has ten or so centers in townships across Cape Town that provides a vast array of services for those living in townships. For instance, some programs are afterschool programs for children while some are computer learning centers for those living within the communities. They promote personal growth and independence in hopes to boost the living conditions and decrease the poverty for people in the townships. I am hoping to work with the health side and work in either a clinic or hospital setting—but more to come on that later! Today we went on another township tour at Langa, a township of about 100,000 people and the first established township here in South Africa. We were given some local food, met locals, visited the local church, sports center, and art center where they performed marimba for us. We also got to try a local delicacy… skop… which also translates into sheep head… not even joking! The meat was very tender and literally fell right off the bone. It was a little unsettling though as there were sheep heads just hanging out around the barbecue pit area. To buy a sheep head, it cost 40 Rand or just about $6. Upon a customer ordering, they skin the head and then cook it… serving the meat hot and fresh, still on the bone. When you remove the meat from the head, the meat literally falls right off the bones of the face. Surprisingly enough, the meat was actually soft and very tasteful… had it not been served to us still on the head of the sheep, it probably even would have been enjoyable.
Other than that, we’ve explored a lot of the campus and surrounding areas in Cape Town but trust me, there is still A LOT left to see within the next few months. We had a bit of time off this morning and I was able to have breakfast with Anne, the girl I met volunteering a few weeks ago so it was great catching up with her and getting to see her again before she heads back home tomorrow. I have also met some locals… all of which have been extremely nice. Around campus, we (the international students) often look lost but everyone points us in the right direction and gives us little tips on life in Cape Town.