Time flies so fast and now I'm already more than two months in Durban, South Africa, doing my semester abroad at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). The trip to this country is full of adventure and new experiences and will forever be an unforgettable time in my life.
The Westville campus of the university is very big and in the beginning it took me a little while to find my way around, but I settled in quickly. For the registration process you need time and patience. You are often sent from one building to another and back again. But that is an important thing that you learn in South Africa – to see everything a bit more relaxed and to leave the structured, planned life in Germany behind.
During our time at the university there were several student protests. Unfortunately, this is almost the norm here. I always stayed away from the campus during this time and therefore didn't notice much of it. You should just take advantage of this time and explore the area.
In our four modules that we take here, we each write a test, have to hand in a group project and write an exam at the end of the semester. Especially through the group work you get to know other students very quickly and make new contacts. There are usually around 100 students enrolled for modules here, but since attendance is not compulsory, often very few fellow students come to lectures. The groups are not much bigger than at the accadis university.
The country and life in South Africa
In Durban I live in an apartment in the Berea district, close to the botanical gardens. The city of Durban has many facets and therefore a lot to offer. I feel very comfortable here and enjoy living in Durban. The beach and the promenade are a special highlight and invite you to walk, jog or relax.
The people are always friendly and helpful. In South Africa there are eleven national languages, but usually everyone speaks English and I never had a problem with the language. As time went by, I learned more and more about the culture, but one thing I internalized more than anything else was that the clocks here go a little slower. The calmness and serenity of the people of this country is an important point to understand. But with time you get used to it and learn to stay calm yourself.
On the weekends or free days I could already explore a lot in the area around Durban and in the whole country. We are lucky to always have three days of weekends, and we also have a week off before Easter. This has given us numerous opportunities to travel. This country offers so many possibilities and the nature is indescribably beautiful. From miles of beaches to game reserves with the impressive wildlife to the beautiful mountains and waterfalls, you can find everything here. A trip to Cape Town, the Drakensberg Mountains and the Kruger National Park should definitely be on your to-do list for South Africa.
For me it was the right way to go to South Africa. I am so glad that I decided to spend my semester abroad at UKZN. I am enjoying my time here, gaining as many new experiences as possible and meeting many special people. Nobody can take all this away from me and I learn from it for my life. Now I am looking forward to the remaining two months and everything that is still to come.