Its funny how you have have long days, but you feel them passing quickly. We have been able to connect with other study abroad students where we are living and other students who are studying at NMMU through social media. Thank goodness for Facebook! We have a Facebook group for our SCSU group (11 girls), a group for the hotel where we live, and a larger group for the whole of the NMMU students. The international office at the university is creating a dropbox for us to share photos among the group. These connections have already paid off when someone in the group is confused about when or where we are supposed to meet, for example.
Our official univeristy orientation started yesterday morning
I really appreciated Dr. Joste’s continued attention to our social responsibility as international students. He dropped some interesting stats:
3.9 milliion international students world-wide
900,000 in the US
He challenged us to think about the social contract between international students, who are privileged enough to travel and live abroad, and the world we live in. He went onto say that it is easy to have a wonderful experience, but not do anything. The program is setup mindfully of this concept. Today , will be our second day of univeristy orientation and they are dedicating the day (office staff and students) to community service. We are going to clean the beach because after all of the holiday traffic the beach sees in Dec/Jan timeframe. NMMU is on a nature preserve and the beach we will be cleaning is also part of the nature preserve. I still haven’t been to the penguin rescue but hopefully, that’ll be remedied soon!
We then broke into our smaller groups and went to seminars. They were able to get us a lot of information in a short period of time! Our first presentation was “Safety and Security” aka “Welcome to South Africa, now be scared of everything!!!” All joking aside it was a very good presentation and I felt better about my time here knowing that we will get security bulletins, like we do at SCSU, and that campus security will help us work with local police if there is a situation where we need them. It is a completely different system than we are used to in the US and it is nice to know we will have an intermeadairy. Basically, most of what we were warned against was theft and it boils down to: theft is a crime of opportunity, don’t give criminals the opportunity.
After our presentations we had bagged lunches outside of the International office and we are all ready. Then we had our campus tour. The most common complaint was that our tour guild was difficult to hear. We had a big group and we couldn’t get close enough to hear. After our tour we went right to a mixer. It was a lot of fun! They had a mechanical bull, those big inflatable balls that you can run in, cotton candy (candy floss), pop corn, and of course Braai. There was also music and some get to know each other type of “games”. There still wasn’t much forced interaction, no icebreakers, and I think its not been easy to meet other people from other groups.
Finishing our day was a rugby game! The Madibaz! There were some of us that weren’t going to go but then there was a rumor of free tshirts.
Well, that was all the motivation we needed! We hoofed it to the game and even though I marginally know what was happening on the field, I had an amazing time. I’m looking forward to learning more about the game and going to some professional games.
p.s. I have cute hair again