“What sticks to memory, often, are those odd little fragments that have no beginning and no end.”
At the heart of every CIEE study abroad experience are the memories and relationships that you have along the way. The last few days have been a testament of that for both students and staff at the Cape Town Study Centre. On Monday evening students from one of our housing residences went on a CAP called the Food Jam. A CAP is a Community Action Plan designed to achieve a level of cultural education and awareness to the semester program and a Food Jam is a social gathering event hosted by our local Master Chef celebrity, Jade de Waal. People gather to prepare and share a meal together, often it’s a mix of local cuisine and easy to make dishes that make everyone feel like they can cook up a storm. Food plays a central role within the narrative of most communities especially within the South African context and to have students participate in in such an activity is evidence to the high caliber cultural immersion that we have become renowned for.
On Tuesday night students and staff all participated in our local past time, Super Diski. All 159 of us pilgrimaged to the world cup stadium to watch a football-literal use of the word-match between Orlando Pirates (one of the most supported clubs on the continent) and Ajax Cape Town (the local flavor, moderately supported at best). It was an uneven contest but having Pirates play away from home made the entire experience an unforgettable one.
For some context Orlando Pirates are bitter rivals with Kaiser Chiefs, they have one of the largest football rivalries in the world. At the game there were Pirates fans, Chiefs supporters and your local Ajax contingent. Unlike other football leagues the fans all mixed freely; we don’t suffer from football tribalism, and it made for an electric atmosphere at the stadium.
For the staff it has been bittersweet as we say goodbye to our Regional Director of Operations, Penny Alexander. She has been a phenomenal presence within the office, offered unparalleled leadership and left an indelible mark on all of us. We are certainly privileged to have fallen under her guidance over the last four years and with sore hearts we bid her farewell. Her new adventure takes her to Sierra Leone and we hope that she will fall in love with her new City, new friends and thrive in her new role.