By Arnav THE AWESOME and Merritt G (for emotional support)
“Howzit mah bruu?” was the common greeting among the boys at Bishops Diocesan College in Cape Town, South Africa. Instead of tanning on the Jersey Shore or pretending to study for the SATs, this summer I went to a school in Cape Town as part of the first cultural student exchange program between LCDS and Bishops.
I remember on the plane back I was talking to a couple from Spain about some of the things that I did. The first things that jumped out of my mind were hiking Table Mountain National Park, staying overnight in Langa Township, and of course bungee jumping off Bloukrans Bridge! However there were many more memorable experiences.
In Cape Town, there is one geographic feature always visible no matter where you are. Table Mountain, one of the oldest formations in the entire world, defines the landscape of the entire Cape. We hiked up a trail called India Venster, though it was more climbing than hiking. The 3,500-foot Table Mountain only took six hours to climb and was worth every step…the views were spectacular and I could see the entire metropolitan area of Cape Town.
One of the major sites you can see from the top of Table Mountain is Langa Township. The township in South Africa is not the same kind of township we have in America (like Manheim Township and Springettsbury Township). During the white supremacist Apartheid Nationalist Government in South Africa from the mid to late 1900s, racial segregation was a large part of society. The government forcibly relocated the black people who were the majority ethnic group, into planned, often underdeveloped, ghettos. Now, twenty years after the fall of the Apartheid Government, the townships have become real communities (though still often underprivileged). The most memorable experience I had was staying overnight in Langa. Most South Africans regard Langa as an extremely dangerous place, but I was able to see it from the eyes of a local and from a perspective people would not normally see. This way I was really was able to experience all parts of society.
However, the most extreme thing I did in Africa was bungee jumping off the highest bungee bridge in the world! The border between Western Cape and Eastern Cape is also the site of Bloukrans Bungee. Out of the fifteen exchange students on the bungee bridge, I went first. It was incredible! I cannot describe in words how awesome it felt to freefall over a river valley while being able to see the Indian Ocean. #YOLO.
The school I went to, Bishops Diocesan College, was located in a southern suburb of Cape Town called Rondebosch. The school, commonly referred to as Bishops, is a traditional Anglican school for boys. The campus is beautiful; there are whitewashed buildings surrounded by palm and pine trees. Of course, given that this was South Africa, rugby was very important in the high school. Even though it was winter in South Africa, it was an awesome way to spend my summer.
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