Thursday, July 30, 2009

The countdown begins

With 10 days to go until Ballroom Intervarsity, things are starting to heat up. The medals have arrived, the entries are steadily coming in and formation practice has kicked into high gear. For those in Cape Town, Intervarsity is in Jameson Hall, 8.3am on Sunday 9 August. Come support UCT!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

SHAWCO Centre Visit

SHAWCO is a student run organisation at UCT that does outstanding work in underprivileged communities throughout Cape Town. Today the SSA students were given the opportunity to visit one of their centres in Kensington, the place SHAWCO started 66 years ago. The visit reminded students that being at UCT is really like being in a bubble, it really is not indicative of the greater Cape Town society and poverty. I think this visit convinced a few more international students to volunteer for a program during their semester stay and to appreciate their opportunities in life.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ocean View Comunity

I have never visited Ocean View prior to this weekend. Ocean View has a very sad history stemming from the Apartheid era. Blacks and coloureds were removed from Simonstown, Kommetjie and Noordhoek and placed in the area called Ocean View. This segregation led to a lot of anger that is still felt today from the marginalised community. The lunch in Ocean View provided an opportunity for International students to be introduced to marginalised communities in a formal setting and open their eyes to the stories behind each community. The performance by the members of the community were through their arts project that encourages dancing and singing as a means of expression and a way to channel energy positively.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

IAPO experience

I am currently working as an Orientation Leader for the second semester study abroad program (SSA) for IAPO. The last week has been a whirlwind of activity, notably fetching students and answering all their random questions.

Orientation started last wednesday with a planning meeting for the Orientation Leaders to meet and set up a timetable amongst ourselves. 30 seconds proved to be a successful icebreaker and proved that girls rule!

Thursday started a lot earlier than most of us ever wished. 8 am pick ups of our first international students from the airport. IAPO tried a new system this year of moving students into Tugwell Hall as they arrived and then into their houses on the same day to minimise the moving chaos. The students arrived in drips and drabs all day with various horror stories of missed planes, missing visas, missing luggage and long flights.

Matt and James played tour guides around Rondebosch and campus and Claremont. It is safe to say none of us will ever be actual tour guides. For our sins we volunteered to take students to Tiger Tiger on Thursday night. Now normally this isn't so bad, but you need to take into account the crowd. American exchange students are not allowed to drink at home before 21, but are allowed from 18 in SA. And the alcohol is cheaper, much cheaper. Let the good times roll.

I was on early airport pickup the next day and the remainder of our 150 students arrived. Saturday was true chaos as buses did not arrive on time to collect the students to go to their houses. We eventually all arrived safely for "House Meetings" and signing of leases etc. I have 4 Germans and an American in one house and 3 Norweigens, 1 Dutch and 1 American in the other.

Sunday was the first day of the official orientation plan. By this stage all 400 SSA students have arrived through their various programs and were picked up for the Peninsula tour. The tour went around the City Bowl, through the V&A Waterfront, along the Seapoint promenade (Beach Road) and into Camps Bay. The tour continued to Hout Bay and then through Constantia. We finally arrived at Boulders Beach.

Boulders Beach is now a conservation project that is closed off and you have to buy a ticket to view. R30 for adults, R10 for children. A rip off as far as I'm concerned. Definitely not on my list of things to do again. Next we took a trip to Ocean View Community and had lunch and an informal show by members of the community. The tour concluded with a walk at Cape Point (R60 for adults).

All the OLs are exhausted and need a mini-holiday but alas we have another week to go.

Imperial Russian Ballet

The Imperial Russian Ballet visited Cape Town last week after much hype of their new piece Carmina Burana. I honestly did not like the piece, the ballet dancers are too classically trained to truly move freely as the choreography required. The piece was too contemporary I think. When they move back to the classical pas de deux and solos you could clearly see their strengths and confidence. I actually quite disappointed with the overall performance.