The first time I studied abroad, I knew I wanted to study somewhere that offered the opportunity to grow personally and professionally. South Africa, with its history and stories, was the place to study for me — not only learn, but challenge my personal skills and cultural perceptions.
Urban International Storytelling, a summer study abroad program based in Klein College at Temple University, set my travel spirit on fire.
Of all Klein GO’s amazing international locations such as London, Dublin, or Barcelona, South Africa called me to as an outlier. It wasn’t your typical destination.
Based in Johannesburg and Cape Town, I produced content with a talented team, wrote two pieces, and engaged with South African culture.
While still media-centered this coming 2019, the program will focus on creating projects that encapsulate Youth Activism Culture.
Oh yeah, and there’s a 6-week internship option in Cape Town after the main program program ends, what?! As a South Africa alumni, I’m jealous.
While Klein GO’s 2019 program clearly has a different focus, the goal to create content that tells unique stories remains the same. If you’ve come to learn more about the program, you’re in the right place.
The Klein GO Immersive Learning Experience
On Klein’s GO’s summer study abroad we saw and did more than I could have expected.
In addition to traversing the cities, we visited townships like Alexandria, Khayelitsha, and Soweto. Visiting and spending time in both the cities and townships brought reality to the forefront.
Across the month, we also visited storytelling museums, influential media groups, and determined activism organizations.
The variety of immersive learning angles not only helped us tell stories, but taught us to become informed and aware storytellers.
Scroll over the photo to view its caption.
On a phone or tablet? Click to enlarge and view high-quality slideshow.
With creative freedom, I produced tusouthafrica.com and wrote two journalism pieces covering gentrification and youth-development.
Other students used video, audio, and photography to tell their stories, as Hannah McComsey chose to do so.
Hannah’s story, which covers the tensions in Blikkiesdorp, a Cape Town township, is just one example of the 2017 team’s incredible work!
→ view more work on tusouthafrica.com.
A Rainbow of Culture
When you go to South Africa, you’ll experience the why behind South Africa’s title as ¨The Rainbow Nation¨.
In both Johannesburg and Cape Town, there were unique restaurants, shops, and sights to explore.
In a culture infused with flavors from across the globe, you’ll never get bored trying new foods in South Africa. The global influences contribute to a delicious palette of spices, textures, flavors, and cooking styles.
On this trip I also managed to bring home three instruments, beautiful artwork, and jewelry that to this day is my favorite. South Africa is a place where tradition, culture, history and modernity mix. Prepare your senses because South Africa’s creativity and passion flows into its music, dance, artwork, and clothing.
In appreciating South Africa in person, I realize that studying with Klein GO was one of the most unique experiences I’ll ever have. Beyond learning as a creator, I was brought into a world and culture I could experience nowhere else.
Challenge Your Perception
With the global influences that twine into South African culture, powerful stories bound in history are uncovered. Coming from the US, experiencing a similar history in South Africa helped me see my own country’s issues from a different perspective.
Apartheid, only having ended 24 years ago, has an energy that still remains — but today is faced by some who don’t remember life under Apartheid at all.
This generation, called the ‘Born Free’ generation, carries important influence in shaping the future of South Africa. By telling the stories of youth in South Africa, 2019 participants will cover an important time in South Africa’s story.
If you’re interested in social issues and activism or simply want to challenge your perceptions, be prepared to change in South Africa.
While history shows a country that has hurt tremendously, the people in South Africa told a story of optimism, determination, and perseverance.
At this point it’s about showing and not telling. So here’s a convenient gallery to highlight the best moments I’ll never forget.
→ View the full Kirstenbosch gallery!
If you’re a student, I hope you feel empowered to study abroad in South Africa (or anywhere else!). To me, South Africa was the place to go and it altered my life. As a content creator, this program impacted my personal development and international career goals.
This year, Urban International Storytelling participants’s will create multi-media research projects to encompass the theme of youth activism.
If you’re a full-time student in the US and interested in telling stories in South Africa, check out Klein GO’s webpage for more information.
Happy studies abroad!
If you have any questions about my experience, leave it below in the comment section!