Today is the fourth day and I'm finally adjusting to this totally new environment and culture. During the international students’ orientation, we were taught that there were four stages every study abroad student faces: the honeymoon stage, frustration stage, adjustment stage, and the acceptance stage. I learned that it's normal to be so freaking excited to get to the motherland, get there and be ready to take the next flight back to your home country.
Initially, when you study abroad you are completely vulnerable and out of your comfort zone. This is called the frustration stage, and the stage of culture shock that begins when one first arrives in a foreign country. Hearing this was encouraging because I thought I was the only one that was going through a myriad of emotions, both positive and negative, as I transitioned from the U.S. to South Africa. I'd have to say that the warm, non-humid African weather has been a major plus, though.
Now that the jet lag has worn off, I have started a morning routine that has helped me stay in tune with myself. Around 6 a.m., I wake up, turn on some worship music, begin to pray, meditate, and read my Bible. I definitely could not leave this aspect of my life back at home. After I have prayed and meditated, I get up and exercise. There is a campus gym within walking distance of our place and I've recently signed up. I have been attending every day. Let’s hope I can maintain this routine!
Classes begin next week and I am very excited to meet some of the local students. As of now, the majority of students are not on campus, because of this we have not received the chance to meet and interact with many of the locals. However, we did take a tour of the city today, which included visiting Constitutional Hill, the Apartheid Museum, the Nelson Mandela house, and Soweto. Most of the black Africans live in Soweto. We were also able to see a prominent part of Jo’burg and enjoy an authentic South African meal. I really enjoyed learning more about Jo’burg and South Africa collectively.
Can't wait to adventure more!