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3 posts from October 2016


If Only I Knew What to Say...

A Poem by Reabetswe Modise

Student, RA, project manager and young, non-doctoring person

Like a celebrity, often spoken about,
difficult to catch, his name carrying clout
Dr Nasief’s fame
inside and outside of Victoria Hospital
is evident by how many know his name

I met him and was immediately sucked in –
into his enthusiasm, his many plans
a project sold to me using his cheeky grin

I walked into his office without a plan -
and walked out, excited, a tad overwhelmed and a project manager…
oh damn 

I’m not going to lie, at times I felt our actions were futile
a lot of “sorry we cannot find that file”

But I came to realise that there was more – even though it sometimes felt like a chore
our work (sistah Isabelle and i) was not the kind to be visibly seen:
but rather the kind to make a few notice that we had been

Data capturing, printing, “postering” and planning
(in all honesty done by Isabelle – who has cast many a spell)

The pay-off of which I really experienced today,
when I almost had tears to keep at bay

I spoke to four people about our cardiac rehab programme
nervous as heck because I thought, “really fam?!
who is going to listen to 21 year old me?
I am unqualified, can’t y’all see?”

But my fear was unfounded I came to experience
the men and woman I spoke to just wanted me to hear their experience

Today was filled with all the clichéd things I could think to say –
“rewarding, eye-opening, amazing the like”

But Really no words can be fully expressed
to say how I felt #blessed




Thursday’s hike was a walk through history. We began in the ruins on top of Red Hill, exploring the remnants leftover from the forced removal of a black settlement that occurred in the 1960s. As we took a moment to reflect on the steps of someone’s forgotten home, I could only imagine how it originally stood. The only pieces remaining to signify that there were once occupants in the area are broken walls and a cold fireplace, symbolising the effects of Apartheid. I was struck with a sense of sadness when I learned that the black community was forced from their homes only because they were inhabiting a territory designated as a whites-only area. Additionally, I felt frustrated and angry because I learned that afterwards, the white people never inhabited the empty homes; they never used the land once the black families were gone. Therefore, if they had no plan or use for the land, then there was no need to kick them out. Hence, I perceived this as an example of how much power the white people had during Apartheid. As a friend once said: “While non-whites had to go around, whites could just go straight through.”

Although nothing can be done to change the past, we can take the time to remember the past and try to preserve the memories of the past, and, in turn, preserve the memories of this lost city. One way of doing so was by participating in this historically rich hike.

This hike was not only a time to reflect, but it was as an opportunity to decompress and enjoy the beauty of nature. It was a scenic walk, with flowers of various colours covering the sides of the paths and hills surrounding you on all sides. Our path took us through the Kelinplaas Dam, where we had the opportunity to fill up our bottles with fresh Table Mountain water straight from sky (and it tasted delicious). Then, as we approached Kommetjie, we could see the ocean from the opening of the valley, a sign that we were almost there. Once we reached the bottom and the end of our four plus hours of walking, we celebrated with some delicious, and well-deserved, burgers. Overall, it was a well-led hike where we gained more awareness on the history of Apartheid and had the opportunity to explore more of Cape Town. If CIEE had not organised and offered this trip, I would have missed out on such a tremendous experience. I highly suggest for everyone who visits Cape Town to explore it for themselves.

Hike 1 Hike 2 Hike 3



Cape Town has many amazing draw cards including beautiful weather, mountains and some wonderful intercultural experiences for students!  When students are not on campus or out exploring Cape Town their time is spent in their accommodation, whether it’s with a host family, other CIEE friends or UCT students. All students have the option of living in either CIEE off campus accommodation, a UCT residence or with a local host family. I am the Housing Manager and it has been a pleasure over the years ensuring that the student’s time in Cape Town is enhanced through their residence experience.  I could go on about the work we do to provide the best possible service to the students but it sounds much better if you hear it first hand from the students.


My UCT Dormitory has given me the opportunity to interact with UCT students outside of my RA's and given me another point of contact and context for what it is like to be a student here. My flatmates in particular were very kind and open, I have actually made good friends with one. This was a great way for me get to know people of another land and culture in a more intimate setting.

 My study abroad experience in Cape Town would not have been the same, nor as amazing, if I had not chosen to participate in a homestay. I am currently living in the South Suburbs, about twenty minutes from UCT’s campus by train, and, I feel like I am part of the family. My favourite part of the day is coming home after a long day of classes and being welcomed by a warm, home-cooked meal made by my host-mother. I have tried so many new dishes since being here, such as mutton curry, ox tail, biltong soup, chicken livers, boerewors (with onions of course), and, my personal favourite, tomato bredie (which is a South African stew). I believe that I am gaining an unforgettable, immersive experience with a family that will always be in my heart. I love that I am able to say that I am going home at the end of a busy day, because it truly does feel like home to me now, where I am surrounded by a big and loving family and treated as one of their own.

Queens Street is more than just part of CIEE accommodation; it is a home away from home for many. Not only are the rooms spacious, comfortable and beautiful, the lounge areas are wonderful for hanging out and catching up with housemates and friends. We have had fantastic meals cooked and shared out of the fully equipped kitchens that every single flat has, from late night baking brownies up to Sunday mac and cheese lunch.

It is fantastic to live in Savoy! Being in such a small group, the ability to build relationships with one another is unlike any other living situation in CIEE. Along with the outdoor space, it is perfect for group activities that make us closer as a dorm. Having 2 TVs for 17 people are not too bad eitherJ I am really happy that I am in Savoy. My study abroad experience would be very different if I were living anywhere else.

When studying abroad, a home away from home is something that every student would ask for and this is exactly what they get from me while studying here in Cape Town.


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