Things Are Ending?

Naomi Runder
October 27, 2017

It’s kind of sad to say that I’m officially in the down turn of my time in South Africa. I have just five weeks left here, and some things are already ending. I do miss some things about home, but I’m nowhere near ready to think about leaving yet. 

One of my classes has already ended. Two weeks ago, I had the last class session of my short course Student Activism: Local Voices. This course charted South African activism and definitely helped me ease into the political context here and better understand debates happening around me. The groundings in language and land reclamation were particularly helpful. Still very much affected by colonialism and the apartheid period in particular, South Africa struggles to undo the legacies of Afrikaans and English domination. It is telling that I, an American exchange student, can come halfway across the world and be taught in my home language while many South African students are denied the opportunity to ever be taught in theirs.  I must be conscious of such uncomfortablities as I navigate a country that is not my own. More than anything, I am grateful for this short course because it gave me the opportunity to engage with and hear from a wide cross section of the student body on these issues. I am sad to see the class end, but my other classes seem determined to keep me more than busy in its absence.

I’m also officially done with IES Abroad field trips as we had our last two this month. First we attended the October 7th South Africa v. New Zealand rugby game. Now mind you, I don’t know anything about rugby, but I heard everywhere that it was a very important game as the All Blacks and the Springboks are two of the best teams in the world. I’d be lying if I said I was actually able to follow more than five minutes of that game. Sports have never been my forte. But it was exciting all the same. South Africa lost by just one point! For our final field trip we went on a winelands tour, visiting three wine farms in Stellenbosch and the Paarl winelands region. The wine tasting was, well, wine tasting. I don’t think my palate was refined enough to catch all the tannins and undertones and whatnot. But anyways, I think we’d all agree that the highlight of the winelands tour was not the wine itself, but the ducks! Wine farm number one (Vergenoegd Wine Estate) used flocks of ducks instead of pesticides to kill snails on the farm. I can know say I've seen a duck parade, so that's something. 

The other reminder of things ending is of course my looming final coursework and exams. UCT is no joke guys, and the workload this October has really proved that. Right now I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to get everything on my list done. But on the bright side after November 16th I will be done with exams, giving me a good two weeks to just enjoy Cape Town before I leave. 

Naomi Runder

<p>Hello! I'm a current junior at Grinnell College, studying sociology and planning to go into public health policy. Outside of classes, I stay busy by volunteering to help (and play with!) dogs at the local animal shelter and organizing around national issues with other on-campus student activists. This semester in Cape Town will be my first time out of the United Staes, and I'm beyond excited to see where it takes me.</p>

Home university:
Grinnell College
Hometown:
Nashville, TN
Major:
Sociology
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