I don’t believe that Feta is officially the national cheese of South Africa, but the way it’s used here it may as well be. And justifiably so; its versatility, with just a subtle saltiness, complements quite an impressive range of cuisine. A salad, a sandwich, heck throw it on a pizza. It may be an unnecessary and sometimes questionable addition, but never a harmful one. Kind of like the extra E in CIEE.
I could go and write an entire blog on the immeasurable delights of this deceivingly ordinary cheese, but FETA in this case is not made of dairy. It is made of adventure. For many, our recent fall (spring?) break included an exciting array of adrenaline-pinching activities. One of the many advantages of studying abroad in Cape Town is that even after an entire semester, you still wouldn’t have done it all. So if you choose, you’d never need to leave. However, exploring what lies beyond the kingdom that is Cape Town is by no means a disappointment. The rivers and lush mountainous ranges along the coast, watching the surfers grind through the supertubes at Jeffrey’s Bay, zip-lining through deep ravines, and indulging in an extensive array of local wines and cheeses are just a few of the infinite amount of activities to be done.
Now that we’re back from our break, it’s back to the books. While the first half of the semester was a seemingly leisurely transition into academia, research papers and midterm tests form a dark, looming cloud over our days of sun. But peeping through that cloud is something that lies at the heart of living in South Africa. We all realize how lucky and fortunate we are to have the opportunity to live and study abroad. While we are taking new experiences and cultural knowledge, we are also giving. An option (highly recommended) thing to do as part of your abroad experience is volunteering. I am lucky enough to be able to volunteer as a tutor at the Sozo Foundation in Vrygrond, an impoverished township located just outside of Cape Town. Volunteering with any organization is always an eye-opening experience, but tutoring kids who are exposed to poverty and violence at such a young age is not just eye-opening, it’s mind-altering. In training, we are not just instructed how to teach, we are instructed what to do if we recognize signs of abuse. One of our supervisors noted that for these kids, “abuse isn’t complained about like waking up in the morning isn’t complained about - it’s life”. For them, it’s a reality. Which is why teaching, helping, and forming connections with them is far more than just rewarding. And as the nature of South Africa, they teach you too.
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<p>Nature lover, adventure seeker, and music enthusiast. Raised on a Northern farm, educated in a Southern city. Self-proclaimed environmentalist with an unyielding admiration for the avocado-eating Resplendent Quetzal. Moto to live by: "Be the change that you wish to see in the world"</p>