Maeve Dowdle

Year in school: Senior

Hometown: Glenview, Illnois

Major: Biology major

Study Abroad Program: ArcadiaUniversity of Cape Town 

Travel Experience: I went to Cape Town not knowing a single other person, and I left with 15 new best friends from my program/house. I also did a 9-day trip to Uganda and joined a travel group of 4 random people from Europe.

The biggest difference between University of Cape Town and UST is that my classes at University of Cape Town were at least 150 people and sometimes more. Besides that, the University is at the foot of a mountain so the views were incredible! 

Cape Town is a big city, I expected everything to be fast-paced and always on the go. However, I was very surprised to find out it is laid back. I never felt rushed about anything. Also, the people there were so open, friendly and very willing to talk. I learned something new about South Africa from professors, uber drivers, market workers, and really anyone I talked to! 

Cape Town is somewhere I never expected to find myself. I saw the brochure and instantly knew it is different from other programs. More importantly, the amount of history, culture, and different types of things to do around Cape Town were very intriguing to me. 

I learned that I love doing things on my own. I went to Cape Town not knowing a single other person, and I left with 15 new best friends from my program/house. I also did a 9-day trip to Uganda and joined a travel group of 4 random people from Europe. As a result, being independent and stepping out of my comfort zone helped me learn that by doing so, I open up my world to more opportunities.  

I can educate others about South Africa and encourage students to go out and broaden their view of the world. Additionally, I would love to talk with anyone who is thinking of studying abroad so that I can share my Cape Town experience! 

GO ABROAD! Try and choose somewhere you may never get back to go in your life or somewhere you never thought you would go. 

What advice would you tell your first-year self?

Get out of your comfort zone, try something new, and do something on your own. You will learn so much about yourself, the world, and meet so many amazing people along the way!