Chapter 2 – “No, I’m not American” (July 5th/6th)

What a peculiar moment!

It felt like, at the same time, I was both at the very end of my journey and at the very beginning. It felt really good to be welcomed by people from UCT at the airport – finally, I didn’t have to take care of things anymore! I met a couple other international students at the airport. Weirdly enough, I met two Swiss girls who would stay in the same house as me, and an Australian girl who would be accommodated just down the road from where I would be living.

All the international students stayed on campus for the first night and we were then brought to the separate houses in the morning. The first thing I learned about this exchange program is that probably two-thirds of all students came from the United States! They are simply everywhere! And 95% of them talk the same, look the same, live together in all-American houses…crazy! Now, since I obviously don’t have a British, Australian or South African accent, people frequently approached me by asking: “Are you American? Are you from the States?” – these were the moments where I decided I should pick up a South African accent as soon as possible!! 🙂

That’s why I am so happy with the house I am living in, for we’re truly international: Two Norwegian girls, two Swiss girls, one Danish girl, two American boys, an American engaged couple and myself – 5 nationalities! I really can’t stress enough how grateful I am for this! But this isn’t the only upside of where I live. We are not living in an apartment, we have a house! With a huge living room and kitchen, and a backyard with, yes, a fireplace for braai (South African barbecue)! The neighborhood is really good and safe, and we have an amazing view on Table Mountain.

When I moved into my room, it hit me – you’re a Capetonian now!