Over the course of my college career, I watched many of my closest friends study abroad. They travelled across the world to places I’d only seen on social media and read about in history textbooks. They made friends that looked foreign and interesting and different than the people I surrounded myself and I can remember thinking—I want that. I wanted friends from different cultural backgrounds that would make me think differently and question why I was the way I was. When I set out to study abroad in Cape Town, a country that was also predominantly English speaking, I knew that I had a good chance of meeting new and interesting people. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that they friends I made in Cape Town would become people I would hold dear to me for the rest of my life. It all started with a group chat that was comprised of just a few of my friends, which gradually became my entire friend group. United by a love of Frisbee, the beach, and hanging out with each other, my semester abroad has been filled with endless laugh and memories that have changed the way I see myself and my world.
The “Gossip Squad” as we call ourselves is kind of like the breakfast club. Some Americans, who bring loudness, unabashed teasing, and more open affection than is customary for South Africans, we are the crazy ones that frequently embarrass our South Africans in public places. Then there are the South Africans. They are the ones who showed us the ropes, yelled at us when we were too loud, drove us around the country, and showed us how to become close friends in a matter of weeks. Towards the end of our semester, we have been together almost every day, avoiding studying, and enjoying the summer weather, making memories out of our last few moments together, and loving every second. These friends have showed me what it’s like to be amenable in difficult times and appreciative of every second we’ve been able to share with one another. The time difference will be hard, but these friends that I’ve made have changed my life and how I see the world around me. I appreciate people; I am more open to letting my guard down around new friends. These are lessons I will take with me far beyond South Africa, and they are the stories I will tell my American friends that ask me about studying abroad. The friends I made in Cape Town changed my life, and continue to make me laugh every day. They are vivacious and intriguing and make me want to continue to explore the world and meet all of the amazing people that are around the world.
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<p>My name is Claire. I am a thrill seeking millennial that is out to experience all the world has to offer. This blog will chronicle the greatest adventure of my life so far, a semester in Cape Town, South Africa. I have no idea what to expect, but my love for traveling and trying new things, as well as learning from the people around me has pushed me off the beaten path, and onto something completely new. Here's to the next six months of my life, I hope every moment is as unpredictable as I am.</p>