When we arrived at our hostel in Johannesburg, the experience became real. I had three roommates, so our dorm/hostel room consisted of a bathroom bunk beds and two stationary beds. We did not immediately hit it off, but I think it was understandable since we had all been traveling for over a day’s time. We spent the first day visiting the Apartheid Museum and a township called Soweto. This was the perfect day one experience for UA in South Africa. We were able to discuss freedom and resistance with both each other and locals.

One of my favorite experiences of the whole two weeks was meeting with locals in Soweto for a home-cooked lunch. The meal was like southern comfort food with a twist, and it was so good. The women and men of Soweto were more than willing to answer and ask questions. We had such a loving and productive conversation. The novels that we had read for our literature classes were brought to life by the people of Soweto. Their firsthand accounts of Apartheid and the aftermath were honest and eye-opening.

We spent the second day at Pilanesberg National Park. Seeing the animals and experiencing the beautiful natural world of South Africa was amazing. Nature, however, was not my favorite part of this experience. My roommates and I went to bed around 10 o’clock during our stay at Pilanesberg. We did not go to sleep until around 2:30. We talked about politics, boys, religion, you name it. I will forever be thankful for the lack of sleep that I got that night in Pilanesberg, for it supplied me with life-long friendships.

The rest of our Joburg experience consisted of caves, monuments, and more food. It was such a great time, but on Friday, we headed off for Cape Town. And what a time that was…