Study Abroad: Lily Adami (COL ’22) – South Africa

Where did you study abroad?

I studied abroad in the summer of 2019 in Cape Town, South Africa. ‘Social Transformation in South Africa,’ was a three-week trip through the Justice and Peace Studies Program and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. It was a community-based learning experience led by faculty and community members, which allowed us to get a hands-on, immersive, challenging, and rewarding learning experience. 

What was the best part of the experience as a whole?

During the three weeks in Cape Town, I was able to see and experience so many amazing and incredible things I never thought I would. Through site visits, discussions, tours, and the opportunity to work with local community leaders, we were able to gain insight into the history of South Africa, and analyze the legacy of Apartheid and racial injustices on present-day movements and policies. Walking through the historic area of Bo-Kaap, touring Robben Island and the District Six Museum, having end-of-day discussions in local restaurants, and even cage diving with great white sharks were just a few of the most memorable parts of the trip. The best part of the experience, however, was working and participating with Mustadafin Foundation, a nonprofit working across the Western Cape to uplift destitute communities through education, health care programs, youth interventions, and food programs. I am honored to have been able to work so closely with Mustadafin in one of their schools in Delft. The people I met from this organization are so inspiring, kind, and welcoming, and I was able to form bonds in those short three weeks with teachers and community members, that have allowed us to still stay in touch years later. 

Do you have any advice for students considering going abroad?

Deciding to study abroad in an unfamiliar place, with unfamiliar people, was intimidating and challenging for me. This experience, however, introduced me to some of the most interesting, kind, and inspiring people, and I formed some of my closest friends, and most fond memories during this time. Studying abroad helped me not only learn so much about myself, but it also broadened my horizons and gave me insight into new cultures and ways of life. My advice for students considering going abroad would be that it is important to be open-minded and flexible in every experience and opportunity. Engage in as much as possible, even if you are nervous, unsure, feel homesick, or feel outside of your comfort zone. It is not about just living and learning in another place, but it is also about building friendships and engaging with new people.