CIEE: Cape Town
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Stacey Kim

Hometown: Exton, PA
Major: Labor Studies and Employment Relations
Minor: Dispute Management Resolution

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I first discovered this program researching through the Global Studies search engine. This tool helped me find several possible options that seemed like great possibilities. I discovered a Cape Town program and spoke to a few students who had gone in previous years. After getting some good reviews and doing additional research, Cape Town soon became my top choice for my spring semester study abroad experience!

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

Cape Town is an amazing destination for a semester abroad experience. This city has the perfect elements to truly immerse oneself in a different and unique culture. With such rich history, including the social and ethical issues of Apartheid as well as the economical struggles and class differences, there are so many layers to the city and country that I am always discovering and embracing new things! This is such an exciting period to be studying in Cape Town, especially with their 20th year of democracy approaching and a new presidential election, the politics and social issues are much more pressing at this time. However, this is not to say that I am only learning about the history of this country, but also living and keeping up with the present time. Capetonians love their city, and provide opportunities to celebrate and be involved with ongoing events such as Pride, Cycle races, Carnivale, HOLIone festivals and much more. For example, the Cape Town Carnivale, themed "Imagination," was a parade created, managed, and performed by citizens solely to celebrate their wonderful city.

"I believe studying abroad will help anyone who is thinking of continuing their education beyond their undergraduate degree because studying at a different university offers you a new perspective on education."

How did this experience impact you academically?

One of the most important things I learned from attending the University of Cape Town is to appreciate all types of academia. This university teaches and grades on a completely different scale then I am used to at Penn State. For one, they use a different grading system, and the majority of your grades are based on essays and essay formatted exams. They are much more centered around research-based and theory supported teachings. This helped expand my writing abilities and allowed me to practice writing research supported essays that were tailored to different teachings and styles. I believe studying abroad will help anyone who is thinking of continuing their education beyond their undergraduate degree because studying at a different university provides you with an idea of what it would be like to attend another university later on.

What are your career goals or plans? How did this experience impact them?

The University of Cape Town is one of the most elite schools in Africa, ranked in the top of world universities. Attending this prestigious school opened my eyes to see how many students cherish the opportunities granted to them. This opportunity furthered my desire to attend graduate school. It gave me more realistic ideas and goals of where I want to be within the next five years and then the next ten years. One of the most truly open conversations I had was during my home stay with a young man. He expressed how lucky I was to be able to come and study here in Cape Town. We had been talking about racial issues and affirmative action, and then he asked me to not forget about the little town of Oceanview who hosted home stay students. He asked for us to come back, take what we learned in America and what we learned at UCT and create, provide, and manage jobs for South Africans. That conversation truly inspired me to return to South Africa or another country and help bring new ideas and jobs for those in regions much like Cape Town.

Would you recommend this experience to other liberal arts students?


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