First Impressions of Stellenbosch

Yho! Stellenbosch is very different from what I’m used to, both at home and in South Africa. It’s definitely a beautiful town. There are wineries everywhere, and beautiful old buildings. It’s a very cute town. The homestay coordinator likened it to Boston. I wouldn’t, really, but the amount of history and the number of cute, old buildings is probably similar.

It’s different from what I’m used to in South Africa in several ways. For one, it’s in an Afrikaner area, not a Xhosa area. This brings with it an entirely new narrative of South African history and identity.

We’re actually at a university this time, but Stellenbosch U. could not be more different from CMC. Firstly, it’s a casual 28,000 students…a far cry from 1,200, or even the 6,000 of the entire Claremont Consortium. Secondly, because of it’s size the actual campus is just not at all like what I’m used to. The campus student center is ridiculous. There is a full market, about 20 restaurants, a bookstore, at least three banks (WHAT), two coffee shops, a school store, an internet café, a salon, and a school supply store. It’s honestly a little overwhelming.

It’s funny, because our program director said we’d be more homesick in Stellenbosch than Langa or Tshabo because it would be more similar to the rest of our lives. Being on a campus does make me a little homesick for CMC, but my home here does not make me miss home much more than usual. In fact, I think my Langa life was more similar to what I’m used to at home—a few people sitting around a room watching TV, talking, and eating. The physical area around the house is similar from home I guess, as I’m staying in a suburb, but that’s about the extent of it.

It will be interesting to see how this homestay plays out! I think I’ll like it, but it will definitely be different.

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