My time in Johannesburg has been educational, fun and eye opening. I was involved in several different aspects of life in South Africa. I spent the majority of my time working at Wits University in Johannesburg, assisting the Paleontology department. There, I worked with the curators to help catalogue their dinosaur and hominid collection of bones. I also assisted Dr. Francis Thackerey, who allowed me to accompany him to the Sterfontein Caves in the Cradle of Mankind.
I was privileged enough to see the sites that were not open to the public and see where the famous bones were found. While I was in the department, I was fortunate to go to a lecture given by Jane Goodall, where Dr. Thackeray gave her introduction.
To get a better sense of the spectrum of life in Johannesburg, I volunteered with the underprivileged and unemployed black youth at a program called ‘Imabli’. This is a visual literacy through the arts program, where the students get to use this creative outlook to create a living for themselves and their families by selling their artwork. It was wonderful getting to know them and hearing their stories.
Lastly in Johannesburg, I was part of a mixed men's field hockey league. It was challenging, but exciting and fun getting to play a different style of field hockey than I play at Dartmouth. I hope to be able to bring something back to contribute to the team.
After Johannesburg I visited Plettenburg Bay on the eastern cape, where I enjoyed the beautiful beach. While there, I was fortunate enough to go on a safari, where I saw rhinos, elephants and lions.
After South Africa I visited Vienna, Austria. Here I am being a tourist, getting to see all the sites and accompanying friends to the opera balls. I have been traveling around in the Wachau region seeing the famous monasteries, including Melk and the castle where Richard the Lion Heart was held captive.
I am enjoying tasting all the different foods and seeing the wonderful exhibits on Gustavo Klimt, who is my favorite artist. While Vienna is very different from Johannesburg, I've thoroughly enjoyed both experiences and will be sad to leave.