The Silver Linings of Study Abroad

By Brittany Allen, ISA Site Specialist – South Africa

Many times, when students prepare to study abroad, they spend most of their time dreaming of all of the wonderful new things they will see, do, and experience. However, sometimes things don’t go exactly as planned. Sometimes getting an illness upon arrival can take away your initial excitement for the program, or homesickness kicks in, or the culture shock adjustment is not going very smooth, but there are valuable lessons to be learned when students face adversity abroad. The Fall 2016 semester for ISA Cape Town students is a perfect example of this.

During the Fall semester of last year, South Africa experienced unprecedented nationwide student protests, known as the “Fees Must Fall” movement. Students who took part in these protests were primarily interested in achieving free/low tertiary education for all South Africans, but more specifically the poorest of the population. As a result of these protests, there were massive disruptions in the academic schedules. Despite this, many ISA students said that they were enriched by their time abroad. Here are two ways that students were able to make the most out of their experience:

1. Learn about the history

ISA students had the privilege of witnessing history in person! Many students reported that they felt as if they left Cape Town having a much deeper understanding of the culture that they were living in. Learning the cultural context of the demonstrations was both academically and personally beneficial for students.

2. Increase in cultural sensitivity

When major social or political events occur, it is a perfect opportunity for students to truly appreciate cultural differences, and to learn from them. It is also a great opportunity to connect with locals, shatter stereotypes and build relationships.

No matter what happens, study abroad is designed to help you grow, both as a student and as a person!

If you’re interested in Studying in South Africa this Fall, it’s not too late to apply!

The application deadline has been extended to May 25th!

Have questions? Contact South Africa Site Specialist Brittany Allen: ballen@studiesabroad.com.

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