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University of Missouri

Are you ready to go?

Filed in Blog, South Africa by on August 30, 2018
by Miriam A.

No one told me coming back home would be harder than leaving to study halfway across the world. As my plane touched down in Houston, Texas, where I would be spending my summer before returning to Mizzou, I was so surprised at how anxious I felt. I didn’t want to be there. At all. I missed everything about South Africa. I looked around and thought to myself, these aren’t the people I spent the last five months with. I felt on edge, uneasy and unsettled. Being in Cape Town invited a relaxed nature into my life that I really had not experienced recently, especially as a university student. The lax attitude and kindness shown to me by locals, my new friends at the University of Cape Town and the coworkers at my new job in Cape Town was truly filled with warmth and welcome. I felt incredibly comfortable abroad. I’m not sure if it was because I fulfilled most, if not all, of everything I went abroad to do, but I truly felt at home. Cape Town was suddenly my city, and it was hard to imagine living elsewhere. Beyond the fact that I had family in Johannesburg, South Africa, I still preferred Cape Town.

Student standing at tall patio table outside on a sunny restaurant patio.

Birth brunch from a rooftop in Cape Town.

Waking up to fresh mountain air and views to match every morning is kind of hard to beat. My journey solidified that I am a soul meant to explore, adapt and change often, and it was the first of many moments abroad where I realized that five months wouldn’t be enough for me. I craved a lifetime of worldwide adventures and more experiences on the continent my family is from. Surely, Cape Town isn’t all roses and sunshine, but nowhere is perfect. I no longer fear to have to adapt. My getaway to Zanzibar Island for spring break is a testimony to that. From the structure and organization of Cape Town to a tiny little island off the coast of Tanzania that is humid, sunny and unplugged from the world. As I recall driving through the villages of Zanzibar, I realized that I still felt just as comfortable there than being back at home. There is something about Africa that is alluring. It is omniscient, deeply rooted and of great significance. I felt like my most authentic self, and I can’t wait to return, this time to a different country, and discover myself even more.

Student sitting in the water beach-side.

Enjoying Cape Town’s beaches and the view.

Student stands on the edge of a mountain overlooking a small coastal city with hands in the air.

On top of Lion’s Head mountain in Cape Town.

About the blogger

Miriam A. is studying abroad on the CIEE: Arts and Sciences in Cape Town program in Cape Town, South Africa.

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