Looking back on my time abroad is incredibly surreal. How can such a large chapter of my life be coming to a close already? Living in South Africa has provided me with some of the happiest days of my life. I never want to lose the joy I found in this country. I would need countless pages to write down everything I learned here (and I’m on the verge of tears just writing that), so I’m going to do my best to summarize my semester abroad and what this blog means to me.
As a Public Relations major, I originally started this blog as a means to build my portfolio. After speaking with one of my professors at UT Austin, I decided to apply the skills I learned from his class to build this site. I knew the general direction and tone I planned to use when writing this blog, but I didn’t create a strategic plan on how often to post. Instead, I wanted the posts to come more organically. Quite simply, when I felt like I had something of significance to share, I would share it.
With time, the posts became longer, quirkier, and more therapeutic. At this point, I can’t imagine coming to Cape Town and not blogging. It has really helped me reflect on my time here without the pressure to add something new everyday. Lately, I have been honored (and shocked) when friends living with me in Cape Town have commended my writing skills. To think that I am capturing their feelings in these posts, as well as my own, is something I never expected.
Though some thoughts I have kept as personal keepsakes, this blog is an accurate reflection of my time abroad. The serendipitous nature of South Africa isn’t something that can be contrived. Frankly, this country is pretty much as great as I portray it to be.
That being said, I have narrowed down my thoughts down to a few final words of wisdom.
A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but a memory is worth more.
Although I certainly don’t lack pictures representing my time abroad, there are times where I chose to forego photographic evidence. I’ve learned it’s fine to leave my phone at home and focus on living in the moment, instead.
Be adventurous, not naïve.
As the title of this blog implies, an element of adventure is inevitable during a semester abroad. However, I never forgot that I’m still in a foreign country with customs that are unfamiliar to me. I am independent, but not vulnerable.
How's this for adventure? Skydiving + hookin' em from 9,000 feet in the air = A dream come true! (Click photo to enlarge.)
Surround yourself with positive people.
Within a month of living in an apartment complex with other exchange students, I felt like I was trapped in an American bubble. Instead of becoming frustrated, I took my fate into my own hands. I decided it was up to me to find personalities I meshed with, and that it was fine to breakaway from the crowd. The instant I started living my life that way, my days and nights became extremely more fun and unforgettable.
Learn from your mistakes – even if it means making them a few times.
This statement can apply to a multitude of situations. I find it most applicable when thinking about relationships I've formed while abroad. I’m certainly still learning, but I am finally confident in my decisions and know that I have the ability to fix my missteps.
Since my past few days were spent skydiving, enjoying teatime, and wine tasting, I’m leaving this country with a bang. For every task I have been able to check off my to-do list, I have added new memories that will last a lifetime.
Cheers, one last time, from South Africa! (Click photo to enlarge.)
As if it wasn’t clear enough already, coming to Cape Town was the best decision I have ever made. I cannot wait to return here someday in the not too distant future. So with that, I sign off one final time from South Africa. I hope America (and TexMex) are ready for me... and all of my luggage! Thank you for reading about my African adventures.
Sincerely from South Africa,