Jeremy Hinton
Oregon, USA

“I tried my best to prepare for my two months in Cape Town. I Google-Mapped South Africa and spotted out a few of the big cities, I wikipedia’ed Cape Town to get some high quality information, and I read 1001 Things To Do Before You Die’s section on South Africa. I knew that there was a mystical landmark called Table Mountain that had a tablecloth. I knew that people in Cape Town spoke a variety of English, Afrikaans, and Xhosa (a language that I am still trying to pronounce… mostly unsuccessfully). I knew that Nelson Mandela stayed on an island nearby for a long time. But of course, none of that really helped me when I actually got into the country.

“The real experience in the country was made from the people I met there. My supervisor at the Athlone School for the Blind (Not actually in ATHLONE!) gave me just the right amount of support and freedom to grow as a future physical therapist. The friends I met and truly lived with were ever-present for every memorable experience I have: so many hikes, surfing in J-Bay, going to beaches, playing with elephants, tigers, or evil penguins, bringing the Jersey Shore to South Africa, walking Long Street, and so many more times that I hope to never forget.

“And of course, there was the program that actually made this entire stay in paradise possible. From the time nearly a year in advance through the time I was there, the people at VAC were present and supportive that this would be an incredible time and I would never regret coming to Cape Town. Through the VAC activities on Fridays (VACtivities? Anyone?) I simultaneously got to have a fun end of the week experience and do so with old friends, new friends and the awesome program staff. I guess they count as friends. Having VAC around was like having a cool older sibling who knew the area and wanted to hang out but also wanted me to have a great time with my own friends. I’ve been trying to wrap my head around my time in Cape Town and it all seems surreal. It wasn’t everything I was hoping for. Cape Town gave me more than I could ever have asked. Wikipedia did not inform me about that.”