During the application process through IES, I struggled to figure out my preferences as far as a room. IES Cape Town offers four choices for accomodation: a large house, a small house, apartments, and UCT dorms. After much deliberation, I chose to live in the UCT dorms, and honestly it was the best decision I could have made. For the duration of my stay, I am at Obz Square, which is located on Main Road in Observatory.
In my opinion, the dorms are one of the better living options. I do my laundry for free in the building, there is security here night and day, campus transportation stops right outside, there’s considerably more wifi allotted to me since I’m technically on-campus, and probably about a dozen more reasons that I can't think of right now.
Since I'm a control-freak kind of person, I would have loved to see pictures of the dorms before I made my decision. Lucky for you, that’s exactly what I’m doing right now.
The room is bigger than the average-college single, and it has a more storage than I was expecting. Off to the right is my desk area, and to the left is my bed. In the middle of the bed and the desk is a small cupboard which you can put a lock on if you ever feel the need to add some extra security.
The room comes fully stocked with your basic kitchen utensils and appliances that you would need to make dinner for yourself. Above all that is two more cabinets that I'm keeping some food, drinks, and miscellaneous things that I don't want to see out.
The closet is way bigger than I was expecting. NOTE: there is a safe at the bottom of the picture. You get to choose your own code for this during orientation. So, yet again, you can lock up valuables if need to.
Basically, everything but a towel was here for me when I arrived, but there is a grocery store literally two minutes away that sells them, so I just bought one as soon as I got here, which was worth saving the space in my luggage. The bedding was provided already. ALSO NOTE: the shelf behind my pillow is also extra storage.
Now here is the one thing that would have sold me on UCT dorm rooms right away: private bathroom. All dorm residents have one, and if you're a girl like me, it's a no-brainer to be able to spend that uninterrupted time in the mornings getting ready. It's big enough and the water is always hot. Not one complaint here.
Lastly, each person shares a kitchen with 9 other people on their floor. These kitchens are equipped with all the basics for chefs of all levels. A stove and oven for the adventurous chef, and a microwave for the less apt. You share a fridge and a freezer with one to two other people and you get your own cabinet-sized pantry for non-perishables. The kitchens are cleaned every day, excluding weekends, but you do have to wash your own dishes/messes in order to be considerate of the other people sharing the kitchen with you.
As for a sense of community? It’s what you make it. Since everyone has their separate rooms, you have to make an effort to create relationships with your floor-mates and IES-mates. What do we do now? We have a group chat and we’re constantly making the effort to hang out with each other. An important part about this trip is that you get out what you put in.
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<div>Cortney Cordero is a senior majoring in journalism at Hofstra University with a minor in creative writing. This New <span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">Yorker has wanted to travel to Africa since she was in Kindergarten. This fall, her dream is finally coming true, and she </span><span style="font-size: 13.0080003738403px; line-height: 1.538em;">wants to share her experience with you.</span></div>