My first week at Stanford Lake College (SLC) has been such an experience! There are so many aspects of South African life that are just subtlety different from life in America, but all put together it makes this country seem so exotic. One of the first things I learned here was that when I start talking about football, everyone around me thinks I’m talking about soccer. No one here watches American football! It’s such a foreign concept to me, but I have heard that rugby is the South African equivalent and I plan on going to a school game soon. Also, cars drive on the left side of the road, students use the British spelling of words, pick-up trucks are called buckies and a barbeque is a braai. The most unnatural thing is that in South Africa, I am the one with the accent! People seem to be fascinated by my long hair and my fast-paced Californian way of speaking.
My first day of classes went by very quickly. Each class is only forty five minute long and the students go to every class every day. In many of my classes here, we read the text book in class or do classroom exercises out of the book; a lot of the time we even do our homework in class. This was one of the oddest things for me to get used to. I am so comfortable with the Athenian way of learning where we’ll read our books at home and in class have discussions, analysis, and ask ourselves why this is relevant in the world. The only classes where we seem to do that are economics and history, and these also have teachers that remind me of the wonderful ones we have at Athenian. So for me, the classes have pretty easy and homework has been light.
I think that the best things about this school are the people who live here. Everyone has been so welcoming and I have made many friends in just a few days! My roommates, Reneilwe (my exchange partner) and Thandi are amazing girls. We love watching YouTube videos of people auditioning for South African Idol (and yes, these people are just as horrible and hilarious as the ones on American Idol)! Another one of my favorite people is a girl named Atiyah who lives in my hostel. She is so sweet to everyone and she loves to give big, strong hugs. Tonight we were laughing so hard as I was trying to teach her the electric slide! Last but not least, my new friend Aidan has been an absolute riot to hang out with. We went kayaking on the lake with Reneilwe and another friend of mine named Sarah, and we all got soaking wet having water fights and tipping our boats over! The other exchanges are all very fun. There are seven of us all together coming from India, New Zealand, Canada, Germany, and of course the incredible U.S.A!
I can’t believe only my first week is over. I can’t wait for the weeks to come!