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2010 Jamie SnyderJamie Snyder ’11

I spent a semester studying at Cape Town University (UCT) because I knew that South Africa would allow me to learn from a captivating and recent social and political history and enjoy the breathtaking scenery. But Cape Town exceeded all of my expectations.

One of the most illuminating experiences was volunteering with UCT’s Students‚ Health and Welfare Centers Organization (SHAWCO). It was amazing to use the skills I learned in my favorite UCT class, Xhosa Communication, to connect with my class of fifth-grade students. Not only are the Xhosa people historically significant in South Africa, but it’s also fun to speak their language. It’s a “click” vernacular, meaning it has several clicking sounds you must use when speaking. When I volunteered with SHAWCO in Khayelitsha, my students sometimes spoke to me in Xhosa, and it was pretty awesome to not only understand them, but to be able to respond.

Africa just has a way of making you feel so small....It’s a grounded feeling, a human feeling. My experiences abroad have changed me in ways I could spend the rest of my life figuring out. There’s just so much to learn, to see, to experience, to try, to feel, and to enjoy in the world.

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