Arjun traveled to Cape Town, South Africa over Winter Break 2017. He worked on projects on the UIUC campus during the 2017 Fall semester, and then went to Cape Town to implement them.
IF NOTHING ELSE, DON’T FORGET TO PACK…
Extra clothes that you can afford to get dirty. If you do a lot of hands on work, then you will always have a spare set of clothes to change into.
ON SECOND THOUGHT, LEAVE AT HOME
Fancy/Dress/Formal clothes. The culture of Cape Town was casual, and if you want to truly assimilate yourself into a new setting, don’t feel obligated to dress up when traveling.
WHERE TO LIVE:
In Cape Town, stay in The Observatory. Its an area with a lot of restaurants, a good grocery store, and any other supplies you may need are just max 5 minutes away when walking.
BEST PLACE TO EAT:
The Obz Cafe in the Observatory. It has a variety of great dishes, varying from burgers to pasta. Plenty of options for vegetarians too.
FAVORITE CULTURAL ACTIVITY:
The historical tour of Cape Town. A tour guide walked with us from place to place explaining the significance of the location, which gives a perspective on how Cape Town has come to be a cultural hub.
FAVORITE PLACE TO STUDY:
The bookstore right opposite the Obz café. Despite being right on a main road, its quiet and the sofas are extremely comfy. The bookstore is filled with a variety of reading material, giving you the chance to explore.
MUST-TRY LOCAL DISH:
The Malva pudding is a must eat dessert in Cape Town. Even if you are on a tight budget, this should be the priority of your expenditure. Its more of a bread pudding, and having it warm and fresh with cold vanilla ice cream is the best way to have it.
BEST PHOTO OP:
There is a road on the side of the cliff that our driver took us to. It has a great view of Cape Town. We went there during daylight and stayed until nightfall. It was extremely peaceful, and we could see the night lights turn on, great time for a photo.
Exchanging several dollars for south African rand. Exchange only a minimum amount. I had to find ways to spend my rand towards the end of the trip.
Malva pudding. Despite this dessert being slightly expensive, it was completely worth it.
BEST PART OF THE PROGRAM:
Working with staff members at an NGO. They were extremely friendly and helpful while we worked on the projects.
MOST MEMORABLE TRIP:
The drive up the side of the mountain, overlooking the city.
BEST LOCAL EVENT/HOLIDAY?
The Cape Town parade. It was interesting to especially listen to the Cape Town style of music.
IF I COULD DO IT OVER AGAIN…
I would just spend more time in the Observatory area, visiting all the stores and cafes because each one of them is so different.