Views From the Top

Calli Umipig University of Cape Town, South Africa


May 10, 2017

If there’s one lesson I’ve learned very quickly while living in South Africa, it’s that nothing in the States compares to here. Sure, things are similar and the name may be the same, but they are definitely NOT the same thing. My first experience was with bacon. This girl could surely live off of bacon if she had to, so imagine my dismay when the bacon here is different than bacon back home. Not necessarily bad, but surely not what I expected. While I have enjoyed the varying degrees of culture shock, there is one particular activity that I think will best highlight the difference between here and back home.

One of my favorite things to do during the summer back home is to go hiking. I love going on hikes in Pennsylvania because it’s such a beautiful place and there’s so many natural wonders to see. Naturally when I got to Cape Town hiking was at the top of my list of things to do on my day off. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t frequently hike in my spare time before coming here, but I did it enough to think I knew what was doing. Wrong.

Hiking in Cape Town is no joke. On my first hike, Table Mountain, I considered turning back after the first 45 minutes. It felt like we were walking up endless stairs and my little legs were going to turn into jello. In that moment I never felt more defeated, but it was only for that moment. I was with all of the friends in my house and I didn’t want to let them down by returning so quickly. So I sucked it up and continued the hike. I’m glad I did though because the views were incredible. I never truly appreciated the city or its beauty until I was so far up and looking down at it. Not to get too sappy, but when we got to the top and overlooked the city it truly took my breath away. I felt blessed to be here.

So far I have hiked Table Mountain, Lions Head, Woodstock Cave, and Upper Campus (if you walked from my house you’d count it too). I’m looking forward to the many others I still have to do like Skeleton’s Gorge and Devil’s Peak. I couldn’t have finished that hike or some of the other ones I’ve done without the friends I’ve made here. They make the views especially sentimental and I can’t imagine climbing the world with anyone else.


South Africa Semester