South Africa Adventures

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CATEGORY: Study Abroad
TYPE: Photos
RELATED PROGRAMS: Anthropology, Geography

South Africa Adventures

Two Mac students had very different study abroad experiences in Cape Town last year.

By | Todd Skauge ’13 

Says Peyton, “As someone who has always lived in the global north, South Africa gave me a whole new perspective on the world, especially on the United States.”

Last spring, two Mac students headed for Cape Town, South Africa. One student joined the Macalester-sponsored South Africa program, while the other enrolled directly into a local South African University.

Clark Bledsoe

Anthropology major and football quarterback Clark Bledsoe ’13 (Jacksonville, Florida) wanted his time away from Macalester to be “program free.” Because his goal was to spend his time in South Africa with no attachments or assistance, he chose to directly enroll at The University of Cape Town, which allowed him to choose any class, just as a local student would.

This decision seemed to pay off for Clark, who described his study abroad experience as “life changing.” While in Cape Town, Clark lived in a house with several other students including a few other Americans. The highlights of his stay were an independent study project on the ethnography of curation at the South Africa National Gallery, and attending South Africa’s version of the Burning Man festival, called AfrikaBurn. He also enjoyed exploring the city of Cape Town.

Clark calls his adventurous approach a success. “I truly felt like I matured,” he says. “I experienced and learned so many things about both South African culture and myself.” He even hopes to live in Cape Town again someday.

Stephen Peyton

Stephen Peyton ’13 (Tokyo) was just down the road enrolled in a Macalester-sponsored program called “Globalization and the Environment.” Given that Peyton is a geography and environmental studies major, the program was a perfect fit. It allowed him to “see a new world view,” he says, in particular that of a Southern Hemisphere nation. 

The Mac program, which is jointly run with Swarthmore and Pomona Colleges, involves a research project. Peyton, a former EcoHouse resident, explored how the geographic distribution of grocery stores relates to food security for low-income citizens, a topic he has since turned into a senior honors project.

Says Peyton, “As someone who has always lived in the global north, South Africa gave me a whole new perspective on the world, especially on the United States.”

PUBLISHED: 11/13/2012