Why did you pick this program?
I chose this program because traveling has been a passion of mine from little on. Every travel experience has helped shape my world view in some way and I wanted to learn more about how I could better understand the Hospitality Industry. Luckily for me, SCSU has some great professors that could fill it the gaps of things that I did not know.
What do you tell your friends who are thinking about going abroad?
Do your research, be open to new ideas, talk to others who have studied abroad before, visit Education Abroad fairs, and narrow down some programs that stand out to you. Once you have a few places or programs in mind you can plan things like finances, living situations, and timelines. There are a lot of good resources out there for people looking to go abroad, so don't be shy to reach out for guidance.
What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?
The one piece of advice that stands out to me is simple: have an open mind. When you are willing to see new things, meet different people, hear new ideas, and try new foods it can be very enlightening. You may find out that yes, there is in fact another way to look at the world.
What's your favorite story to tell about your time abroad?
One of my favorite stories that I tell is when I got lost looking for one of my classrooms at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.
There I was frantically trying to find my class in a building that I have not yet visited. Then I was stopped by a South African student named Thandisizwe who offered me some guidance. We had a quick chat and he showed me to the room I was supposed to be at. I thanked him and we exchanged phone numbers. He and I later joked that he was a international student tour guide. Over the course of a month or so we became friends and our friend groups got along.
One day he offered to host me, my roommate Yannick, and our Norwegian friend Lisa on Easter Sunday. We accepted and when the day came, the three of us took two different kombi's (van taxi's that included a transfer) into his township. All of us arrived early so that we could get to meet his family and get a quick tour of the neighborhood. Thandisizwe was a great host who not only gave us a tour of his hometown and how the Xhosa people there lived, but also a history lesson.
Later we had a great meal of Chicken-Biryani and cake for dessert. Our post-meal discussion was oriented around the Apartheid and how the very township that we were in was affected. There were curfews, protests, and other events that happened right there and my group got a firsthand account of how it all went down. All of stories were stunning and powerful. Now that was something I will not soon forget.