One thing that I loved about this program was that the theme of the program, and what we were learning during lectures in class, was so engrained and related to the area in which we were, Cape Town. The places we visited, the people we met, and the experiences we had all informed my studies in ways that I had not experienced while at college. What we were learning felt very real, and although I had never been to the country before, I felt very invested in it once I left.
My favorite aspect of the program were the homestays. Although it had been the part of the program that I was most nervous about before arriving, I now feel as though I have family in South Africa. I am still in touch with some of my host moms. My host families treated me as one of their own children. Some of the most interesting conversations I had were with host siblings and parents, learning about life in South Africa and their experiences during and after apartheid.
Another aspect of the program that is especially unique is the ISP period, where you develop an Independent Research Project. This gave me the opportunity to do my own research and conduct interviews. With a month to design and complete my project, I felt as though I really had the opportunity to dig into books and other resources, and speak to people about my topic. As I result I gained a lot of new knowledge and was able to present a product that I was really proud of.