This is so bittersweet in many ways. I was sad to leave, but I also missed In N Out and Trader Joe’s. Studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, for the past four and a half months was one of the most incredible experiences of my life. As I sit here, writing a reflection piece on my time abroad, I realize how grateful I truly am to have been able to study abroad in South Africa, and travel across the rest of Africa while doing it. It is at this time, that I want to say thank you to everyone. Thank you to my parents for making this possible, thank you to UCEAP for being a constant resource, thank you to IDACA for all the hard work you put into making studying abroad an enjoyable experience, thank you to UCT for accepting me as a student, thank you to everyone I met while in Africa, for you have truly changed me and my life for the better, and thank you Cape Town, South Africa, for being the gem that you are.

I had so many wonderful experiences in the past few months that I cannot narrow them down to just a few. However right now, I am thinking about going to the squash team’s formal, looking at the entire city from UCT’s campus, having an impromptu going away party at the Soweto Towers, high tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel, going skydiving, turning 21 in Namibia, going white water rafting, hanging out with my South African friends after class, participating in Food Jam’s Cooking Class with other UC students, exploring Table Mountain, meeting awesome people on airplanes, and watching the sunset from Signal Hill, a site that always took my breath away.

Studying at UCT and in S. Africa has been magnificent, to put it into one word. It was not without its challenges, however, such as the water restrictions, due to the drought, the fickle weather, and the different educational system, but eventually, I figured everything out. Cape Town is now out of the drought phase, I adjusted to school abroad, and the weather settled down a few months in. I now know a little Afrikaans, and through learning at UCT, a lot more about South African politics and history, and the economics and politics of Africa as a whole, which will certainly be important as globalization expands and Africa’s population continues to rise.

I made friends here who I consider to be such special people that I will stay in contact with as far into the future as I can see, South Africans, Americans, and other internationals alike. Closing the door to my house on Grotto Road for the final time brought a wave of emotions, but I am not too sad, because I know I will be back and Cape Town will be as good as ever when I return. So to you Africa, I bid you adieu, but just know, this is a not a goodbye, but a see you later, and I mean that, no matter how corny it may sound. Lastly, my piece of advice to anyone reading this is, if you are thinking about studying abroad, Cape Town or elsewhere, JUST DO IT. But seriously, Cape Town is an experience you don’t want to miss out on.

Love Always,

Kelli Hamilton

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