Jaron - University of Cape Town

B Journalism/Arts
Semester 2, 2018
If someone asks if you want to go somewhere, say yes.

Academic experience

I studied a South African Politics course, and two courses on African history. The learning experience at UCT is completely different to that of UQ. Classes are shorter, but each course meets several times per week. Assessment is generally more frequent too, with each course having between four and six essays due during semester, plus a final examination. UCT has only recently begun to experiment with online submissions, so almost all assessment had to be handed in in hard-copy form.

Personal experience

There are numerous chances to travel away during semester, so Cape Town became more of a hub city rather than a home over my stay. Sharing land borders is a strange thing when not used to it, but it allowed for forays into Namibia, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Lesotho. Exploring a new part of the world, and a part that is distinctly different to what I was used to, was a great time. South Africa is a friendly country and the people are warm and welcoming.

Accommodation

Charlton House is designed for students, and especially international students. Within walking distance of UCT campus, the house is secure and open, yet you still feel like you can have privacy. The house was a mix of Americans, Scandinavians, and a student from Angola, and became a 'hangout' spot for much of the international cohort. Big thumbs up.

Costs

The exchange rate is really in favour of the Australian dollar, which made budgeting simple. Food and transport are very well priced outside of the big tourist spots. When travelling, car hire is super convenient and affordable.

Challenge

I can be cold and distant ona first impression, which isn't great when needing to meet all the people I'm going to be interacting with for the next six months. But after a couple of hours i was able to make some pretty good friends and share some great memories.

Professional Development

I was lucky enough to get to be a part of UCT Model United Nations Conference 2018 Chairing Committee, which was great in terms of meeting other students from across RSA that shared similar interests in diplomacy and public speaking. The professional contacts I made are also friends.

Highlight

My personal highlights include a bungy jump off Tsitsikamma bridge, a three day safari in the middle of Kruger National Park, swimming in the Devil's Pools at the top of Victoria Falls, and spending a day hiking up Table Mountain and the Newlands Forest.

Top tips

Pack for all weathers! They say Melbourne can have four seasons in one day, well that's nothing on what Cape Town can dish out!