It’s the Little Things

Even though this is my first time truly outside of the United States, everything just feels right. Attempting to paint a picture of how gorgeous South Africa is doesn’t do this country any justice. Everything from the weather to the people, I feel this sense of genuine happiness to be in the presence of such beauty.

The past couple of days I have spent observing everything around me. I tried my best to live in the moment versus taking a million and one pictures. I wanted my experience here to mean something more than just a break from Georgetown. I wanted to take away lessons that can’t be taught everywhere. In order to accomplish this, I knew I would have to observe everything, and that included the little things.

I noticed how the traffic flows on the opposite sides when walking on the sidewalk. I witnessed how the palm trees are absolutely beautiful until you’re on a bus and the branches/leaves hit aggressively against the windows. I noticed how classes and lectures are often referred to as modules, just like tutorials referred to what is known as discussions. Perhaps one of the most significant observation was the fact that the students seemed to have more of an active voice inside the classroom.

I also observed how friendly the people of South Africa were. I valued my interaction with a local tailor who politely told me to make sure I put my phone in my front pocket versus my back pocket. I loved how all the Uber drivers I encountered initiated a conversation with me. I enjoyed how people were so willing to help point me in the right direction whenever I was lost—typical tourist, I know. To date, the best thing ever said to me occurred when I was visiting Camps Bay Beach and a random guy came up to me and proceeded to say, “Welcome home my sister”. That was a powerful moment that immediately brought tears to my eyes because he was right, this was home.

Like I said, it’s the little things, ya know?

  • Observing the little things allows you to connect the dots. Will the picture tighten, broaden, or change the longer you stay? I, too, found that students’ voices were more respected when I studied abroad. What’s your theory on why that is? To be discussed when back stateside …

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