Tag Archives: St. Cloud State Study Abroad

Headed to the farm

This is a preview of my weekend!  We’re headed up to the farm on Friday and will be back to Port Elizabeth on Sunday evening.  I’m excited to bond with my fellow study abroad students on the farm with no access to wifi!


Guest post: The uniqueness of South African food

A Hungry African

Saffa Tradingis an online food shop that specialises in exporting authentic South African Food like Biltong, Boerewors, Groceries, Drinks, and SA Wines. They also stock various other unique South African essentials like SA Pharmaceuticals, weight loss products and even Springbok Memorabilia. All items can be shipped via trusted delivery companies such as DHL, Post Office Airmail and EMS. If you love South African produced food but can’t get it where you stay, this is the site for you!

Saffa Trading will be posting guest posts to “A Hungry African” regularly to get your taste buds going and maybe inspire you to try some South African dishes or order some South African delicacies. The first post is on the uniqueness of South African food, which dishes on the list have you tasted?

South African food is world-renowned amongst foodies, and our top-class restaurants and eateries delight the taste buds of countless tourists…

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Happy (Birthday to me!) Cape Town

President Zuma Comes to NMMU


I did not imagine being able to see the president of South Africa when I cam to study here for the semester.  I had hoped that it might be possible because it is an election year.  Then an email came through the NMMU system telling us that he would be on campus Saturday!  There were three other international students (our group was 2 Americans, 1 girl from Norway, and 1 girl from Germany) that wanted to go with me from our accommodation.  We kept trying to decide when to leave and finally we thought we would leave approximately an hour before the doors opened.  I had no idea who difficult it would be to get in or find a seat. My only point of reference is the US and its crazy in the US for an event like this.

It was tricky finding the auditorium because the school buildings were not open, which is the only way I know how to get around North Campus (cutting through all of the buildings). So, we went the long way around! Twice.  Finally, we made it to the courtyard and many of the students already had on the yellow ANC shirts. We thought maybe they were giving the shirts away in the parking lot and since we couldn’t yet go into the auditorium we’d try to get a shirt for ourselves.  Out in the parking lot they were setting up tents, grills, and a stage  for another event but we didn’t see anyone giving away the yellow shirts.  So, we meandered back to the building to see if we could get in yet.  The security guards rejected us again, so we found a place in the shade to soak up some of the university’s wifi.

Each of us became immersed in our on 3×5 world of our phones.  A few minutes later I was jarred out of my electronic stupor when I heard American accents from unfamiliar voices.  I saw a ginger boy and a blonde girl just feet from me and I had no idea who they were.  Waiting for a brief pause in their conversation, I blurted out “Where are y’all from?”  Now, they looked equally puzzled to see me!  Then come to find out they were from St. John’s and St. Ben’s respectively.  We finally discovered why we never see these students! It is because their program at NMMU follows the semester schedule back in the US, which means that they have their own classes etc. Mystery solved!  I would really hate that because they don’t get a chance to meet South Africans or other international students. Our conversation with them was interrupted when NMMU students started singing songs and getting ready for the rally.  After a moment a circle of students gathered and I went closer to video their singing and dancing.

By the end of the video you maybe able to tell that the circle disbanded and we started to walk towards the doors.  The singing didn’t stop until President Zuma took the stage.  It was so interesting to see how the songs transitioned one to the next.  There were no microphones and none were needed.  But if someone started a song and the rest of the crowd didn’t like the song or the voice of the person who started it, they would quickly move on to the next one.  Before the crowd grew inside of the auditorium there was much up and down because the songs were not flowing.  I joked with my new friend sitting next to me that it felt like church.  Then the crowd grew and the signing became constant.  I didn’t know any of the words but I can always clap!  So, I stood and clapped along to the songs.  At one point they couldn’t stay in their seats any longer and formed a line toyi-toying around the perimeter of the auditorium.  Then we got word that President Zuma had finally arrived and the crowd started singing his favorite songs.  By this time the place was bursting at the seems and students were overflowing outside.

The panel discussion itself was very party-line.  I was not surprised though because it was a political rally to motivate the young people to vote.  I did wonder then why was it staged as a panel discussion?  Why not just re-frame the event to let each of these panelist speak in praise of the African National Congress (ANC) and President Zuma?  I thought it would have kept the momentum moving along, morale higher, and lent transparency to the event.  Just a couple of thoughts as an interested observer.

Before the rally was over President Zuma himself led the crowd in a couple of songs and everyone loved it!

I really wish we had more singing and dancing in our culture but especially at our political events.  So much more fun!  If we do adopt something like this I definitely think it’ll be the Democrats who do it first 😉 By the time we left we were all in high spirits.


Remembering Sharpeville

If you get a long weekend, a day off from school, and it’s a national holiday it’s good to know why. In the United States we lament when Memorial Day is only commemorated by cookouts, but how many of those complaining take any action? I enjoyed a long holiday weekend. I went out of town with a group of friends, but it is good to know why we were given the day off from school.

Mbewu Movement

On March 21st, South Africa commemorated one of the most significant days in the nation’s history; Sharpeville Day, which we all formally know as Human Rights’ Day. This day was also declared the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination by the United Nations. We celebrate it each year to remind us of the great suffering and loss of life that accompanied the struggle for human rights in South Africa, in particular the brutal murder of 69 and injury of many on 21st March 1960. We remember the sacrifices made by remarkable leaders like Robert Mangaliso Sobukwe. May we never forget their stupendous legacies, their sacrificial fighting spirits. May we educate ourselves and each other about our young nation’s painful past so that we may never take any of the fruits we now reap for granted. Above all this, may our knowledge of the high price paid encourage us…

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You’re going to miss something

South Africa, I loved you before I knew you…I think most students obsess over a country they’re going to study abroad in for the semester or year.  I’d been interested in South Africa since I was young, even did a middle school report on the country.  Then last year before I came to South Africa, I read everything I could get my hands on, watched all the documentaries and movies based in South Africa on Netflix.  I bought a used copy of Eyewitness South Africa from my favorite used bookstore, that I’ve never been to, Powell’s. Over winter break I read it page by page, fastidiously ma20140324-205034.jpgking a list of places I wanted to visit, things I wanted to see, and restaurants to try.

Then I had my trip last year, 10 days of seeing bits of South Africa very fast.  I didn’t get to tour Johannesburg in 2013, but I did spend 5 days in Port Elizabeth and 2.5 days in Cape Town.  I am still amazed how much I was able to see and do in such a short period of time.  Not least of which was making the decision to come back for a semester. Then I spent my time over the summer and into the fall just getting everything lined up to come back.

When we got here at the end of January and we hit the ground running.  Spent a day in Joburg, then we headed off to orientation and we were kept busy, busy, busy!  We were able to see a lot in the first month, I’m really impressed with how much we squeezed in, honestly.  A natural slow down occurred in March because of school (you know that whole study bit of study abroad!).

Over the weekend, I had a mid-semester panic about missing something. I was asking a student who was here last semester what should I see before I leave. Then she just said, “You are going to miss something.” I had to let that settle for a minute and accept it. While I may have a list of things that I want to see and do here, I would rather have quality over quantity. I would rather spend my time with people I want to see after this semester is over rather than just checking items off of my To-Do List. Honestly, I think that might be the best piece of advice I’ve gotten so far about spending time abroad. Just realize you will not have enough time, but you can still fit a lot into the time that you have. So yes, you are going to miss something but that is OK.

How are you dealing with not checking everything off of your list?

Starting out with questions

As I started my internship these were just a few of the questions I had at the end of my first week.  Shena, the writing center staff member on 2nd Ave. campus, was kind enough to answer the following questions:
How are the students Reference-stylesreferred to the writing center for services?
Various ways – orientation sessions, via lecturers, peer tutors but probably mostly word of mouth from friends.
Is there ever any interaction between the writing center and the instructors?
By instructors do you mean lecturers?  If so, yes we aim to agree a writing development strategy for the year with lecturers before working with a class
Are the writing center services open to any student at the university?
In theory yes, but since we are now concentrating on getting lecturers to include writing development practices in their curricula, we discourage drop ins.  This is only in the last year and it’s awkward as we don’t like to turn students away.  What I do with drops ins is to help the student but I also contact the lecturer to plan a strategy for the rest of the class. 
Is there a limit for how often students can come?
No set rule as some students need more help than others but much depends on our capacity in the moment and how effectively the student is implementing our suggestions.  It also depends on whether we are working with a specific strategy for the class or not.
How are the respondents chosen?  
We advertise, check CVs and references and interview.  We try to appoint post-grads who work in specific disciplines.  Often candidates approach us.
How many hours per week do they work?
Usually 5 hours a week.  Currently, 2nd Ave. Campus has 3 writing respondents at 2 hours/week each and South Campus has 2 respondents at 5 hours/week.
Do they only work with students electronically? 
No not only – we include them in classroom work whenever we can, especially when we are working in big classes.
Upcoming posts on the Writing Center…will include information about the reorganization and writing respondent training! Stay tuned 🙂

Meet Bonnie and Clyde

1489179_721608237869764_1893745854_nSince my first weekend in South Africa I have hear about poaching, specifically rhino poaching.There are signs in the Joburg airport pleading for President Zuma to take strong publicly against poaching, poachers, and the countries who are demanding animal parts.

This is Bonnie and Clyde and they are survivors. I first mentioned them in my post about our Freewalker Day Adventure.  We saw them at Schotia Private Game Reserve.  If you follow the link to their web page you’ll see that Bonnie and Clyde look very different from the images on their web site and that is because their horns were poached in a very sophisticated poaching scheme.  Our guide told us the story of what happened and it is quite remarkable for its sophistication.  One night helicopters were heard flying overhead. He said at first they didn’t think anything of it and then the next day Bonnie and Clyde were found, almost near death.  Their horns had been removed and they were on the ground.  During the poaching they’d been given sedatives but the dosage was off and they were still unconscious.  The veterinarian at the game reserve was able to save them, but just barely.  Our guide estimated that if poaching continues at this rate (In 2013, 1004 rhinos were poached in South Africa) the rhino will be extinct in 20 years.

I was glad when I picked up the paper yesterday and read that Warren Buffett’s son is donating money to help save the rhino.  When poachers are utilizing helicopters and veterinarians to carry out the poaching, it is a sign the problem is wide-spread while the corruption is deeply rooted.

Shake your tail feather

Everyone likes to start the day off feeling fresh! Watching this little guy got my day off to a good start!

Happy Tuesday!

Good Morning!!!

I ran to catch the sunrise this morning! I woke up early with a troubled mind, opened my curtains, and could tell this morning’s sunrise was going to be a doosy! I grabbed clothes and threw them on as fast as I could. Then I jogged to the beach so I wouldn’t miss the best parts of the sunrise. When I got to the beach I just sat there and enjoyed the show! I had formed a proper perspective by the time I went back to my room and my mind was settled.

Sorry the video is a little shaky, I need to get one of those little tripods.

Ethnographic Emergency

Quick, call an anthropologist!


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