Before my departure for South Africa, I had many ideas swirling in my head of my intentions, plans, and experiences abroad. In the US, the hustle and bustle of a big city, working full time, and going to school, makes it difficult to balance priorities. What you “have to do” doesn’t always align with what you would like to do.
Studying abroad offers leisure time to think about what you really want from life. Although it’s hard to compose a concrete list of accomplishments, I had some loose thoughts about how I could take advantage of new environments and additional free time to work on myself. Here’s a list of those “goals” and the progress I have made in the month I’ve been in South Africa:
Volunteering is the highlight of my week! Unfortunately, I don’t have a ton of excess time to volunteer in the States, so I knew I wanted to spend some time giving back in South Africa. Every Thursday a group of us college kids hop on a bus for a short ride over to Kayamandi Township High School to tutor 17 year-olds in English. It is so enriching and enjoyable. I highly recommend volunteering to those studying
abroad. I intend to write another post all about my experiences in Kayamandi – so stay tuned!
Before my departure, I also considered ways to improve my holistic health. I have always wanted to get more in touch with my spiritual well-being, but other responsibilities, such as work, school, and extracurricular activities always seemed to get in the way. This was something I hoped to work on abroad, and I’ve been really lucky to make some friends that are very dedicated to a holistic lifestyle. I joined the Spiritual Philosophy and Yoga Society here at Stellenbosch University. I’ve been enjoying meditation, yoga, and spiritual chats with my new pals and am feeling very refreshed.
Part of the allure of Stellenbosch, South Africa is it’s location in the heart of the Cape Winelands. I have always enjoyed wine, but I knew I wanted to take advantage of my geographical location to become a wine connoisseur. Stellenbosch University has a lovely Wine Culture Society, and I made it my priority to get involved.
My last goal for time abroad is to make a plan for after graduation. I’ve always been the gal with a plan, but somehow as I get closer and closer to graduating college in May 2016, I become more unsure about what I should do after I throw my cap in the air. These feelings have only increased with my time abroad. Studying abroad opens your mind to the infinite size of the world and the countless opportunities it offers.
Although, I’m still unsure of my exact plan, it’s reassuring to know that spending time studying abroad opens up so many new opportunities, particularly by making global connections and building my professional résumé.