Tressa Casey
Georgia, USA

“The six weeks I spent in Cape Town were the best six weeks of my life. Exploring Cape Town’s museums, restaurants, animal preserves, beaches, gardens, and mountains was invigorating. But, the aspect of Cape Town that was life changing was the people. After the Red Bus Tour, Marvelous explained “Umntu ngumntu ngabantu” to a group of us. You are you because of people. You are unable to be an individual; you cannot be unique without people who are different than you. So, you must appreciate the people who surround you that force you to think differently.

“Until I came to Cape Town, I was comfortable with the normality of my life. I graduated from high school, went to college, chose a major I loved, planned on going to graduate school. I never questioned American culture. I just did what I was expected to do as a middle class white girl. I never felt challenged to think differently. When in Cape Town, I learned to ask “why?” I started to do this through talking to people from around the world, especially my South African roommates. Recognizing the differences between how children are raised, education, social norms, sports medicine techniques, government, health care, traffic laws, etc. has made me more cognizant of my surroundings and the world that I live in.

“I am appreciative of the opportunities that the United States has provided me with, but I will always feel like Cape Town is a true home to me because of the knowledge and amazing friendships it has provided me with. I cannot wait for the day that I return. Thank you to the entire VACorps staff.”

-Tressa Casey, pictured at left, during a VACorps Friday Excursion to the Constantia Wine Country.