Finals at UCLA are a big deal, as are finals everywhere, but nothing compares to the way finals occur at UCT. In my three courses at UCT, no final was worth less than 50 percent of my grade. For finals there, you are assigned a seat number. You put stickers on your test booklet and your name is sealed, so that there is no bias when your test is graded. Additionally, you have two hours to take your test and can not leave within the first hour or last twenty minutes of the exam. After the first test, I got used to the procedure, but it is still daunting to me that tests I took count for half of my grade. Here is to hoping they all went well!

After finals, I decided to treat myself. Knowing that my time in Africa was coming to an end, I figured I needed to cross off a few more things on my bucket list. I have always wanted to visit Rwanda because not too long ago, they experienced a horrific genocide, but today, it is one of the cleanest and friendliest countries in Africa, according to various reports. With this knowledge, I booked a flight to Kigali, Rwanda and stopped in Uganda and Kenya on my East African journey.

After three flights, I finally arrived. At night, the air was lukewarm and the city was vibrant. At the airport I saw an advertisement for GoKigali Tours and decided to make a reservation for the next day. In all honesty, I can say that was one of my top ten decisions during my time in Africa. Along with about 10 other people from across the world, I went to a milk bar (unique, I know), the top of Mount Kigali (even though it was raining, the cloudy view was amazing), coffee tasting, to the largest market in Kigali, the Genocide Memorial, and on a boat ride to a local town. To end the day on the perfect note, I went to a rooftop restaurant with some people I met on the tour and we tried various African teas that were all delicious. I rode home on a moto-taxi, the most popular mode of transport in Rwanda, and smiled as the night breeze hit my face, in the beautiful city of Kigali.

The next morning, I headed off to Musanze, about two hours from Kigali. My host graciously upgraded me from a dorm room to a private suite for free! From there I went to the Twin Lakes, which are stunning. I took a boat ride across the lakes and went to a restaurant and played with some children. The next day I was set to hike Mount Bisoke, an area known for its gorillas. Unfortunately, about halfway into the hike I experienced altitude sickness and had to come back down. However, I was escorted all the way back down by two lovely park rangers and it made the experience worth it. I also saw an antelope! I will have to come back in the future and try again (or live vicariously through pictures).

The next day I headed to Gisenyi, where Lake Kivu, a famous Rwandan lake, is. This was to be the perfect ending to my Rwandan journey. Knowing it was the last leg of my trip, I decided to splurge and stay at a private resort near the lake for one night. LAKE KIVU IS STUNNING.

The people in Rwanda, are the nicest people I have ever met, and I am not exaggerating. Also, the country has an extensive amount of passion fruits, making it the ideal destination. The sites I saw literally took my breath away, from the lakes, to the volcanoes, to Mount Kigali. It has become my favorite country that I have visited in the world. Kenya and Uganda were also great, and I kissed a giraffe and touched elephants in the former, and went to the ‘Switzerland of Africa,’ while ziplining, seeing rhinos, and exploring local places with fellow travelers in the latter (shoutout to the crew – Frank & Marvin). I stayed with family friends in Uganda and my South African friend Leanne’s family in Kenya (both were amazing)! Also, I met up with a friend from NYC, who was studying abroad in Rwanda! East Africa is a special place, and everyone should come see it for themselves. (Who doesn’t want to ride motorcycles in various countries while backpacking?) Even

Kelli Hamilton studied abroad in Cape Town, South Africa in 2018: