Towerlight Column Spring 2016: Christina in Cape Town

Follow along with Christina as she explores her new home for the semester in Cape Town, South Africa! She’ll be writing for the Towerlight to keep us updated on her adventure.

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We checked in with her recently and had her answer some of our burning questions!

Q: Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Christina Mattera, and I am a Junior, Mass Communications (PR and Advertising) major, and marketing minor, graduating in 2017. I am originally from Ellicott City, MD, but I am currently studying at University of Cape Town, in South Africa for the spring 2016 semester.

Q: When deciding where to study abroad, what led you to choose your destination?

I’ve always wanted to do a missions trip in Africa and I knew that if I studied abroad in Cape Town I would have a real opportunity to make a difference! The University of Cape Town has volunteer programs where they take us to townships to teach local kids, which is such an amazing experience! I also wanted to be thrust into a culture that’s totally different from America.

Q: What research did you do about your destination? What are some tips you have for others doing the same?

The program I’m here with is called International Studies Abroad (ISA) and between their website and Towson’s resources, I was able to do thorough research on exactly what to expect. Towson’s Study Abroad Office is amazing and they helped me every step of the way! Besides that, I used Google and Pinterest to find all of the touristy information!

Q: What challenges did you anticipate in your new destination?

I anticipated that my biggest challenge would be finding my way around and adjusting to a new culture. Most people can speak English here which is really great, but their accents are so thick that sometimes it’s still hard to understand!

Q:What were you most looking forward to?

When I decided to come to South Africa, I was most looking forward to the volunteer opportunities and warm weather! I love kids and I couldn’t wait to start volunteering and forming relationships with the local children. The beaches here are so beautiful, and my favorite thing to do is to spend some time doing homework on the beach after class!

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