Exchange destination: Rhodes, South Africa
Duration: 1 semester (Winter)
Program: History and Women’s Studies
High school: Strathroy District Colligate Institute
One word to describe your exchange?
How did you finance your exchange?
Through a variety of jobs during summers and the school year. I knew I wanted to go on exchange since high school, so I was saving with a goal in mind.
What was the biggest cultural shock you experienced?
The level of poverty that is very visible in South Africa, especially because there was a township surrounding Rhodes University.. The ‘townships’ are slum villages that surround towns and city, where black people were forced into during the Apartheid system for the white people to have cheap labour within the town or city. Although Apartheid is over, the townships are still filled with people that live in small slum homes made out of scrap metals. Nothing could have prepared me for this level of poverty, however, I soon learned that their level of poverty does not influence their level of happiness.
Who was the hardest person to leave when you went on exchange? How did you deal with that?
My mom, as a homebody I was expecting this to be much, much harder than it was. I did not have a chance to miss home because I kept myself so busy with travel and friends! My mom and I typically Facebook called during my lunch, and her morning. This worked well for us, and it was short enough that it didn’t take away from what I was doing there. Similarly, we rarely talked on weekends because I was traveling. This was important to me, because despite missing her, I did not want it to take away from my exchange experience.
If you were to recommend exchange to your best friend, what would you say?
DO IT! Go somewhere that is close to your heart. My family connection helped to make my experience more meaningful. Save up and don’t be afraid to spend money while there. I will never regret the $40 I spent to dive with a crocodile, or the $50 I spent on a game reserve… but I know I would have regretted it if I was too worried about saving money to have fun while I was there. Choose a place, and GO!!
Is there anything else you would like to share?I
had the most amazing time in South Africa! I feel that many Canadians are scared to travel to a country that has a reputation of being dangerous, but I felt very safe my entire time there. Often we only hear the horror stories from South Africa, but there is so much more to this beautiful country! Most people only think of Europe for exchange, but the University of Windsor offers many other destinations! I had the most amazing time, and I would love if more people followed me and attended Rhodes University in South Africa for the years to come!
A sample of the classes taken and credits received:
Culture and Languages in Africa = 2nd year Arts credit
2 senior level history classes = 43-397
Intro level history class = 43-197