By Agata, exchange student from the Czech Republic
I am Agáta and I am from Prague, Czech Republic. When I told my friends I was going to South Africa for a year, everyone thought I was crazy too choose a destination like this. But I knew I wanted to experience something completely new and different for me. And even though nothing was like I expected, South Africa is really a big, new and exciting adventure!
In South Africa I live in a small town called Ladysmith and that is the first difference from my home where I live in the capital city. I feel like everyone knows each other here, and it always takes like 5 minutes to get anywhere.
Another big change is the school. Students wear uniforms, school starts at 7:30, hair always tied up, no phone allowed, and so many other rules I wasn’t used to. The whole system is a bit different. I’ve experienced how different their prom (matric) looks and how big of a thing it is to become a prefect or what exactly it means to be one, because we don’t have this role at my school in Prague.
When you’re on an exchange, the best thing to do is to get involved in as many things as possible! Especially here in South Africa, and especially when it comes to experiencing different cultures. My host family is Afrikaans, so I’ve already had the pleasure of tasting all their traditional food (boerewors or potjie), attend church on Sunday, make homemade biltong, or braai almost every day!
They’ve also let me experience Diwali (Indian Christmas/New Year) with my Indian friend. Then my friend from school who is Zulu told me a little about her culture and I also went to a museum about Zulu culture and the Boer war battles around my town.
All these things are so interesting because most of them are totally new for me! And that is exactly why I chose South Africa and why it makes me so happy to be here.