Letters from Cape Town

By Students Studying Abroad

Join UConn students in Cape Town, South Africa, as they experience a new culture and learn about global citizenship in theory and in practice.

Ryan Settles into His Internship as He Continues to Enjoy CPT

From left, Maria, Ryan, Dan, Kelsey.

From left, Maria, Ryan, Dan, Kelsey.

Where to begin? This past week was incredible! I got to try some of Cape Town’s famous fish ’n chips at Kalk Bay, hike up and down Table Mountain, and complete my first week of internship. The first day at Tafelsig Clinic was such an incredible experience, and each day so far has gotten better and better. Arriving on Monday was both nerve-racking and exciting. Initially, I was extremely nervous to begin working there, due to the poverty and crime in certain areas of Mitchell’s Plain. I was nervous from the previous visit to the clinic, when our group went on a tour of everyone’s internship. Many people then stared at us as we walked through the front doors and into a waiting room full of hundreds of people who had facial expressions of confusion and curiosity. As Amaraliz and I walked through the waiting area on Monday morning, we were met with the same scene. That day I had the pleasure of shadowing the adult side of the clinic and got to interact with patients one on one. After the first day, I had a whole new perspective on so many things. I first was surprised at how many people have the same common chronic conditions as in the United States, such as hypertension, high cholesterol, diabetes, and varicose veins. The most surprising thing that I noted was how polite and patient everyone is. I know that a lot of Americans (myself included) get impatient when waiting for an hour in a hospital or doctor’s office. In comparison, many people in Tafelsig spend the whole day waiting to be seen for only 10 minutes! There is way too much to talk about beside the first day, but overall, this first week of internship was a real eye-opening experience.

Signs at Tafelsig clinic.

Besides my internship, continuing to explore Cape Town and the surrounding area has been fantastic! On Friday, I returned to Muizenberg in the morning expecting to surf for the day. However, when we got there the conditions were terrible and the shark flags went up, so we decided to explore some more stops on the train. After two stations, we got off at Kalk Bay and ate the most delicious fish ’n chips that I have ever had at a local restaurant called “Kalky’s” and then took a scenic walk along the coast to Fish Hoek to take a train back to Rondebosch. On Saturday morning, many of us hiked up Table Mountain, taking the Skeleton Gorge trail from Kirstenbosch Gardens. It was one of the most exhausting and exciting things I have ever done, but the experience and the views along the way were unforgettable. After reaching the top in three and a half hours, feelings of relief and accomplishment rushed throughout our group as we all drew in the beauty of the distant scenery. After walking across the rocky plateau for an hour towards the cable car, I had decided that I was going to follow through with my plans of hiking down. To my surprise, the two-hour walk down through the Platteklip Gorge was much harder than the way up, but the challenge left me wanting more. The next task is to hike Devil’s Peak, which is adjacent to Table Mountain and which I hope to accomplish very soon. I am sure that the views and the adventure will all be worth the challenge.

 

Ryan with Lion's Head, Signal Hill, and Table Bay in the background.

Ryan with Lion's Head, Signal Hill, and Table Bay in the background.