Elaina C. studied for a semester in South Africa with CISabroad. Read her short interview to find out why she chose South Africa, what she loved about it, and what she recommends for your semester abroad!
What is your home University, and what do you study?
Longwood University and I study Global Politics and International Relations.
Why did you decide to study abroad for a semester in South Africa, and what made you choose CISabroad?
I am focusing my academic and career goals in Sub Saharan Africa. Thus, choosing South Africa was an easy decision. I chose CIS because after much research it seemed to be the program that would offer me the greatest benefits and assistance while in South Africa.
What is the most memorable experience from your time abroad?
Meeting the people I did while abroad had to be the greatest experience. Getting to see so many beautiful places, people, and historical sites was amazing. However, getting to experience that with people who truly brightened my life was the best part of my time abroad for sure.
What was the biggest challenge of studying abroad?
The biggest challenge has to be the culture shock. Getting to the site and experiencing a new place is fun, but considering the view of America abroad it’s hard to truly acclimate at first. It takes a major adjustment period, and for me that was the hardest part of my semester.
What was the most surprising experience you had while abroad?
The most surprising experience had to be the amount of beautiful places I saw. I enjoyed being able to be at the beach, at the vineyard and then hiking the mountain the next day. When you think of South Africa you don’t think of the amount of amazing views and places, more the heat and the people (at least for me).
What advice do you have for students thinking of studying in South Africa?
My advice would be to not expect anything. Don’t expect to be scared, overly joyed or anxious. The experience is what you make of it and no matter the expectations you go in with, the place will surprise you, shock you, and make you feel all the feels. Go in with an open mind and an open heart and you will find that Africa truly changes you inside and out.