Welcome to South Africa!

Dr. Brittani Smit Resident Director, South Africa


February 28, 2020

The students studying at the University of the Western Cape (UWC) and the University of Cape Town (UCT) arrived in Cape Town at the end of January for an exciting orientation period to prepare them for their semester-long adventure at their respective universities. At the Cape Town Center, we are all about community – creating a sense of community and connecting to and serving local communities—so we set out to do so right away!

This semester, we began orientation with a walking tour through the Cape Town Central Business District (CBD), with our tour guide pointing out key historical sites like the Castle of Good Hope, the Company Gardens, The Slave Lodge Museum, and the Statue of Nelson Mandela outside the Cape Town City Hall, all with towering Table Mountain in the background.

During the tour, we also visited Cape Town’s iconic Bo-Kaap neighborhood (easily recognizable by its beautiful, colorful houses) where we were treated to a lunch of Cape Malay cuisine in the home of Bo-Kaap community member. It was a real treat to not only taste some home-cooked food so soon after arrival, but also to hear the story of this unique and interesting community directly from people who have lived their whole lives in the Bo-Kaap.

Orientation also included an overnight getaway to a rural town about an hour outside of the Cape Town CBD, where we were able to connect with nature and see what Cape Town is like outside the metropolitan city bowl. Surrounded by mountains, lakes and dams, we participated in two days of team building and goal setting activities, strengthening our sense of community as a group and setting intentions for the study abroad experience.

In addition to the orientation sessions hosted by Arcadia, each university provided orientation programs designed especially for Semester study abroad students, introducing students to the various on-campus resources available to support them and providing campus tours.

As Dr. Bradley Rink shared at UWC’s orientation, the process of “orienting” (or “orientating” as we say in South Africa) is an on-going one. Just like a GPS continuously recalibrating as you change position, we learnt that the process of study abroad is one of constant learning and adjustment – so the “orientation” journey continues all semester long!

Make sure to follow Arcadia in South Africa on Instagram to see more adventures and stories from South Africa!