Leah Wainwright is a senior in advertising management. The Big Green sat down with her to discuss her summer in Cape Town, South Africa, and what she learned from her study abroad experience.
The Big Green: What study abroad program did you participate in? Where was it located?
Leah Wainwright: I did a summer study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa.
TBG: What did you study and what classes did you have to take?
LW: It was an internship study abroad worth 12 credits, 6 credits were for Advertising and 6 were for Communications. I worked for a company called Netsport Media. They hey own South Africa Swimsuit and South Africa Lingerie magazines.I worked as a writer and content generator for their website, worldswimsuit.com, and also assisted on site at photo shoots.
TBG: What were you most surprised by when you first got to South Africa?
LW: The diversity the United States has always been called a “melting pot” but we have nothing on Cape Town in South Africa. They are a true melting pot. I met someone from a different part of the world daily.
TBG: What was the hardest thing to adjust to?
LW: Definitely the public services like transportation and the police force. The trains and buses were often unsafe and full of graffiti. The police are mainly on foot and on almost every corner and especially by outdoor ATMs.
TBG: What we’re some of the biggest differences between South Africa and the USA?
LW: The wealth gap. The USA definitely has areas of poverty, but it isn’t in the form of townships, which are a lingering affect of Apartheid in South Africa. South Africa has only been a democracy for 20 years so people there view politics differently. The average person was much more in tune with not only South African politics but American politics as well. It definitely helped me personally to become more aware of politics.
TBG: What did you miss the most about home?
LW: Definitely my parents. The Internet service in South Africa isn’t very good and it’s very expensive so it was hard to find time to talk to my parents between the terrible internet and the time change- it was 7 hours ahead.
TBG: Now that you’re home, what do you miss the most about South Africa?
LW: Everything! Cape Town was beyond beautiful and so full of life. My coworkers were amazing and I still stay in touch and write regularly for their website. They offered to fly me out again next year when they go on location to shoot for SA Swimsuit. They think it may be the Maldives!
TBG: Any advice for students considering a study abroad?
LW: Do it and don’t just go through the motions. Embrace everything you can and soak up all the experiences you can. Also, go somewhere you couldn’t typically see yourself going. I chose South Africa because it’s not typically on the top of people’s top destinations, which is unfortunate.