Orientation. The real orientation. Started our usual informational lectures on Monday with some safety information for staying smart around the neighborhood and the university. Also had an HIV/AIDS session. I wasn’t too excited for the AIDS portion because I expected the usual lecture series loaded with statistics and preventative tips. It actually was given by a campus group called Aces and turned out to be quite entertaining. As you can imagine, talking about sex and coming up with every type of sexually oriented fluid can be extremely hilarious in a large lecture hall. They made it a lot of fun with their games and visual demonstrations for prevention…
Learned a lot more about the UCT system and how classes work. I had many questions about how registering for classes went. Got many of them answered, but still feel completely lost with their offline, manual system. I never thought I would appreciate student center and how easy it really is! After the lectures we had a chance to sign up for some activities and programs associated with the university. I signed up for a couple trips going on next week with some friends including shark cage diving and a bicycle wine tour outside of Cape Town. I really wish there was something exciting to do here… I also registered for SHAWCO, an organization devoted to academic advancement in poorer areas of Cape Town. They have specific areas where you can volunteer and I plan on doing the “Geography and Environmental Awareness” section (my two majors in a nutshell) and “Sports,” specifically Soccer. I am really excited to do all of this and see the other part of Cape Town that never seems to make it’s way into the spotlight of the city.
Yesterday was our roommate Dan’s birthday, so Monday night we went to a bar/club called the Tin Roof and needless to say, had a fantastic time. I really enjoy being around the people here in the house, and around the city. There are some really interesting characters around here. Yesterday was our second day of the real, non-beautiful-tour orientation. We had more talks about academics and class, but also had to take a standardized English comprehension test. The PTEEP as it is called, was the most obnoxiously long exam I have ever taken. After an hour and a half of explaining how to use the scantron bubble sheet and how long each section was, we finally began the 3-hour examination. Since the test is made for comprehension of the English language, it was not too difficult for all of us native speakers.
Today we had, again, more lectures in the morning. We only had about two hours of that then were able to take a bus to the one of the SHAWCO stations located neighborhoods. The dichotomy of monetary wealth on campus and in the city compared to the extensive surrounding suburbs is unreal. I remember seeing poor districts in Costa Rica and being quite surprised at how extensive they were, but this was something else. At times you couldn’t see anything but shack-housing except for the surrounding mountains, which are quite far from Cape Town as you move eastwards. I also confirmed my participation in two trips next week with 2WayTravel, a student travel/excursion company located on campus. Next Wednesday I will be waking up bright and early to dive with Jaws. I am shark diving off the coast! Of course I will be in a cage mom, don’t worry. Then Thursday will consist of an all day bicycle route through the surrounding wine country to do some wine tasting at local vineyards. I cannot wait for this!
Everyone is planning on taking it easy tonight. The past couple nights have been amazing, but have really taken a toll on my sleeping patterns with the complete lack of sleep. We are all just so excited about our situation here! Last night we took taxis to an area called Claremont to a bar/club called Tiger Tiger. Everyone was given wristbands that gave us free entry so you couldn’t really deny some Tiger Tiger! Some people are coming over and were making a stir-fry dinner. It should be nice to finally start cooking and not going out to eat for every meal. I am exhausted right now from a long morning of walking around campus. I am sitting in the living room eating slices of a mango I bought for R4 (4 rand or about 40c). The produce here is amazingly inexpensive!
Here are a few more photos from the past couple days and some more from the cape tour:
Cheers brus (bros, but commonly used and not connected to the Jersey Shore boyz).