Cape Town has a lot to offer…
It has been two weeks now since our trip to South Africa, where half of our class visited Cape Town. Logically, the trip started a few days before we actually needed to be there, because you don’t just give up an opportunity to explore a city like Cape Town on your own terms. The first days we rented a house along the coastline of Cape Town, with a group of 8 people. Everything we did was captured on photo and film, but if I can tell you one thing, it is that pictures won’t do the trip any justice. The experience is not something you can show in a photograph.. In one word, the time we spent in Cape Town was just amazing. It has been a rush from the beginning until the end and time flew by way too fast. It was interesting to spend the time together with classmates which I only see once in two weeks or even less. Going on this trip together created an environment where people opened up and conversations were not interrupted, because classes were starting again.
I was very impressed by Cape Town…The paradox of the richest in the world and the poorest in the world living next to each other is something you cannot ignore. The fact that when we went out for dinner with a group, spending an amount that most of the people there make in one year (or not even), makes you put your life and what you have in perspective. Another crazy realisation is the fact that the people living in the townships are closer to each other, friendlier to one another and are more willing to help each other out than the people in the Western, developed world.
On the less serious note, Cape Town is a city with a lot to offer. Driving south to Cape Point, around Tafelberg, or just on the highway to the airport, the view you get is something everybody will appreciate. Next to the beautiful nature, there are many excellent restaurants, an amazing nightlife and overall a nice vibe in the city.
The study tour itself was definitively a bonding experience, more than I anticipated beforehand. On a trip like this you see everybody in a completely different light, where other topics than assignments, teachers and problems at work or during studies are being discussed. The fact that the two sections went together to one city, created opportunities to eat, sit and have fun with people you don’t see a lot during the Fridays and Saturdays in Rotterdam.
The major takeaways for me from this trip are the differences in the world; you don’t have to travel far as different worlds are clearly visible in one city. But even stronger is the realisation that chances in the world are not guaranteed. The single most important factor that determines your life is where you were born in. You can be the smartest, most entrepreneurial and optimistic person in the world, when you are born in poverty the chances you get are slim to none.
We always talk about seizing the opportunity when there is a chance, and that failures are there to learn from, but comparing the chances we have growing up in developed countries with chances people get when they are born in a township shows a very disturbing reality. Everybody loves the stories of successful people who started out with nothing, but “nothing” is defined differently when you look at the situation outside the developed world.
Coming back into the routine of my work and daily life, the trip definitively changed the view I have on the daily comforts we are taking for granted. I loved the city, the people living in and outside of it and sharing the experience with my classmates.