Erica Batstone

Stellenbosch, South Africa (Western Cape)
Erica Batstone in Stellenbosch, South Africa with children

During the spring semester of my Junior year I decided to embark on one of the most amazing study abroad adventures! I choose Stellenbosch, South Africa as my destination and would soon realize that it was the best decision I could have ever made. I went through the American Institute of Foreign Studies (AIFS) and was there for five months. I studied Theology, Political Science, and 2 Conservation Ecology courses. I even got to learn about the wine industry which is a huge part of their culture. I had a great time interacting with the local Afrikaans people and learning about their culture. Some of my most memorable experiences was when I traveled to other countries such as Lesotho, Namibia, Botswana, and Zimbabwe. Even weekend trips through South Africa were amazing because there are so many beautiful and unique places to visit with varying landscapes and vegetation. Living in South Africa gave me a feeling of fearlessness as I experienced lots of extreme sports from sky diving to the world's highest bungee jump. I have gained so much independence, confidence, and appreciation from my experience which burns a desire to want to explore other places in this world. There will be very few chances that we will ever have to opportunity to live in another country for this amount of time. Those five months of my life will always be remembered and reflected on for the rest of my life.