After all of the traveling we’ve done recently, it’s been nice to finally get back to our normal Stellenbosch schedule. I had no idea of the schedule we’d have before coming here, so here’s a quick overview for any curious readers!
We have two classes each on Mondays and Wednesdays—Community Development Perspectives of Health on Mondays, Culture, Language, & Identity on Wednesdays, and South African Politics on both days. These classes involve lectures and discussions that are pretty similar to classes at Northwestern, but they are taught by our great Stellenbosch professors, Jacob and Amanda.
Tuesdays and Thursdays are our field learning days, which are usually very educational and different from our usual Northwestern classes. On Tuesdays, our Public Health professor takes us to different health sites, such as NGOs, hospitals, and community clinics, to help us better understand how the health system actually works here. On Thursdays, we head off in groups of 3 or 4 to our service-learning placements, where we learn about community development and shadow clinical processes. I’ve been placed at an NGO called Phambili, which serves as a satellite clinic and community development site in Broadlandspark, an area near Stellenbosch that suffers high rates of HIV/AIDS and substance abuse. On the weekends (including Fridays) we usually have an excursion to an important cultural or political site, such as Robben Island and Parliament.
This may sound like a packed schedule, especially with traveling around South Africa and trying to experience everything Stellenbosch has to offer, but we have a good amount of free time to explore Stellenbosch and Cape Town on our own! There’s a mountain right on campus that we hike all the time, and we love having potlucks or braais in our dorm kitchens. With only a few weeks left here, I know I’m going to miss this interactive schedule that allows me to learn in the field and to have some free time to explore.