Past Features

September 26, 2005 (Vol. 2, No. 2)

Anthropology Major's Road to South Africa

June Carrington
June Carrington
This is the first in a series of articles written by anthropology major June Carrington, a member of the Lehman Scholars Program. She received scholarships from the Leopold Schepp Foundation and the McNair Scholars Program to complete a study-abroad program with LEXIA International in Cape Town, South Africa. There she is attending the University of the Western Cape.

The impact that my trip would have on my life did not hit me until days before my departure. After having a conference with LEXIA, about a week before my flight, it finally dawned on me that not only was I going to be living in another country for approximately four months, but I would also be engrossed in another culture unlike my own. I started to ask myself questions like, "Will I be able to study in my new setting?" "Will my host family be welcoming?" "Would I be homesick?" These questions and many more like them were floating around in my head when I arrived in Cape Town on September 2, at 10 p.m.

I am now in my third week in Bellville, South Africa–about 20 minutes away from Cape Town–and most of my questions have been answered. The members of my host family are the nicest people I have met. It is sometimes surreal how warm, loving and welcoming they are.

Carrington's host family on the left and her fellow classmates on the right.
That's my host family on the left and my fellow classmates on the right.

My study habits have not been affected by my change of location, and, so far, I have not been terribly homesick. I do miss some of the luxuries that I had at home, like at-home Internet access, cell phones with monthly plans, MTA, and central heating for domestic homes. Other than those luxuries, South Africa, especially Cape Town, is as modern as New York City. It is just another example of globalization.

When I arrived, everyone wanted to know if I was from the part of "the states" where Hurricane Katrina hit. In my few weeks here, I have come to realize that through globalization, all nations of the world are more dependent on one another than we are led to believe. I came to this conclusion when I realized that the cost of petrol (the term used in South Africa for gas) was not only increasing in the U.S. but in South Africa as well.

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