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Most people would not consider three weeks to be a long period of time. Before I left for my trip to South Africa, I was certainly not anticipating a life-altering experience to occur. However, after reflecting on the final days of the trip, I have concluded that a great deal can happen in just 20 days.

In three weeks, my group and I were able to travel to travel all over South Africa’s Western Cape. We were able to see Cape Town at many different angles: from the historical township of Langa, tourist destinations like the V&A Waterfront, the city streets at night, and the breathtaking aerial view from the top of Table Mountain.

Through our travels we were also able to see Cape Town through the lenses of many different people from diverse cultural backgrounds. We learned from our tour guide Liezel, who showed us around the local markets and taught us more about the mosaic of South African cultures than any history book could. Mama Lumka, born and bread in a township, welcomed us into her home and told us stories about the hardships that orphans and children with special needs face in her community. We learned from these native Capetonians and many others who came across our path.

“The opportunity to learn from so many diverse story tellers has left me with a much richer and fuller understanding about South Africa as a whole and I am so grateful for it.”

The immersive ACE program has provided my nine team members and myself with an opportunity that has forever made an impact on us. In our closing discussion, we watched a TED talk from Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche where she talked about the dangers of a single story. If there is one thing I can conclude from my three weeks in Cape Town, it is that any story can transform and evolve with a new narrator. The opportunity to learn from so many diverse story tellers has left me with a much richer and fuller understanding about South Africa as a whole and I am so grateful for it.

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