Evan Segimoto arrives in South Africa

Two weeks ago, I arrived in Cape Town, South Africa. As I walked out of customs I saw my exchange, Sidney Gray, standing there grinning ear-to-ear. I knew at that moment we were going to get along just fine. Since then, he’s kept me busy with sightseeing, running, hiking, studying, and hanging out with other students from Bridge House. Life outside of school is very similar to how it is in California. Every weekend a group of us will get together to hang out; but when I say “hang out” I don’t mean go to a movie or anything like that. Instead we all meet up at the café in town, order a coffee or hot chocolate, sit around the fire, and chat for a couple hours. It may sound boring and not a lot of fun, but everyone ends up having a lekka time.

Evan Segomoto 1This brings me to my next point, the slang. The slang here is quite interesting actually. Take the word “lekka” I used earlier. “Lekka” is the South African way of saying that something’s good, awesome, or incredible. It’s the South African equivalent to “chill.” You often hear it paired with the words “my china” (pronounced “ma chano”) which means the same thing as “bro.” There is plenty of other slang that I’ve heard and picked up while here, but those are the two major ones that everyone says.

Evan Segomoto 2Now, on to the school. The Bridge House School is different from Athenian, but similar in some ways. The biggest difference that I’m having trouble getting used to is calling the teachers “Ma’am” and “Sir.” This creates a definite line separating the students from teachers. To me it feels as if the teachers are there for learning purposes only, not to get to know the students. On the other hand, they do have a homeroom class everyday where a group of 10-15 students meet with a teacher. This class closely resembles our advisory meetings. They also have school-wide assemblies every Friday, which are similar to our morning meetings. But during their Friday assemblies they did something that I’ve never seen done before… they sang a song. It wasn’t just any song, it was their school song. It’ll take some time to get to know the words, but by the end of my stay I should know the song by heart.