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.

Kimmi On Making a Difference

I have been here for more than a month now, and that is enough time to realize how much I love it here. I’m really going to miss it when I have to say goodbye. Recently I got involved in a Big Sister, Little Sister program, where I was paired up with a little sister and am able to tutor her and get to know her. I will be teaching her some life skills, instilling confidence and being the best possible role model I can. I think it’s very important for these young adults. I am excited not only to get to know and get close with my little sister but also so that I can restore faith in her. I want to give her confidence and support and show her that even if no one else cares, including herself, I care.

I plan to not only get to know my little sister, Tania, that I was paired with but I would also like to learn about her culture and where she comes from. She will give me insight and maybe change my perception about the world and how I see people. The issue that I am addressing is where young people living in these townships are facing many problems like poverty, drugs, and gangs. One of the goals is that through tutoring, interacting with them, and teaching them life skills, it will prevent them to get into trouble and help them see that there are better things out there they can get involved with. I hope to show these young adults that they will have to work hard to get where they want to be but in the end it will all be worth it. I am so happy and excited that I am involved in this! She got so excited when I suggested that we could hike Table Mountain. She just wants to get out and do things. It seems like at home she just does not really have the opportunity to go out and explore Cape Town.

There is so much to do here; as you know I have been doing so much already. She lives here and I don’t think she has done half the things that I have done. This makes me sad and really puts it into perspective again how lucky I am. It relates to class, when we were talking about privileges and it’s true. Money really does play a big role in some of the privileges that you may be offered and others will not. I know just by meeting Tania once what an amazing and hard working person she is. How can someone who is like me and able to give so much not receive that much in the end. I like to know that I will be able to spend time and take her out and have her experience many things. She will be able to learn a lot from me and I will most definitely learn a lot from her. It just makes me sad that I will only be here for two months, so will have to leave her. I just hope that she will be determined to do well and work hard. All I want to do is make a difference while I am here. Whether it is on one of my five-year-old Grade R students or just one person like Tania.

I am in South Africa not only because it is beautiful and so different and eye opening, but to become more aware of my surroundings. I also came to make a difference, even if it is as little as giving Tania the confidence to want to succeed and want to push herself. With only about two months left, I hope I will make a difference to at least one person and go home being aware and make a difference at home as well.