South Africa

Chante Mayers-Barbot

Chante Mayers-Barbot

Fulbright Grantee, South Africa

As a University at Albany junior completing a semester abroad, Chante Mayers-Barbot fell in love with South Africa. Thanks to a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant (ETA) scholarship, she’ll return there in January to spend nearly a full year as a United States cultural ambassador – an opportunity that will allow her to immerse herself in the country’s way of life and customs while imparting some valuable linguistic skills to her students...

Click here to read more about Chante in UAlbany Magazine.

Christopher Onuorah

AIDE Program, South Africa

In May 2011, I went on a study abroad trip to Cape Town, South Africa, along with another UAlbany Student, Tiffanie Perea. We went there to volunteer in the the townships. While there, I volunteered with a non-profit organization, the South African Education and Environment Project (SAEP).

During my time there, I taught environmental responsibility, computer literacy, and mentored kids in the township of Philippi. This kids I worked with ranged from grades 8 to 12. I also worked with tertiary students (students in college). In the photo, I was visiting a local Crèche [pronounced "kresh"]. A Crèche is their equivalent of our daycare system in the U.S. This is where young kids learn basic things like counting.

This trip was of personal significance because I am of African descent and this was my first time back on the continent since I was 2 years old. My view of the world has totally changed due to witnessing how other people in another part of the world live. Volunteering in South Africa has helped me to grow as a person.

Check out the Chris' Photo Slideshow on Photobucket!

Chris was a participant on the AIDE Abroad Study Abroad option sponsored by the University at Albany's Office of Study Abroad & Exchanges.


Meher Singh

 Cape Town, South Africa Program 

Quite honestly, I did not do much research before going into it. My father had advised that I should study abroad in an English speaking country and of all my choices, South Africa seemed the most full of life. I decided I would go to Cape Town. Of course, I didn’t really know what that meant, at least, not until I got there!

When I arrived in Cape Town, I was completely terrified. It was my first time completely away from home. Until then, I had only lived with my parents, even while I was going to college. My first few days felt very lonely and I was so homesick, just longing to see my family. But about a week into my program, at a welcome barbecue, I met a South African girl (from Durban). That’s when things changed for the better. She was a freshman at the university and seemed just as lost and confused as I was. We spent lots of time together exploring Cape Town and quickly became very close friends. She introduced me to several South Africans from Durban which helped me get a better understanding of South African life.

It sounds simple: find someone to make a friend with. Yet it was more complex than that, since you have to navigate both national and cultural boundaries. But that only made it so much more enriching and fulfilling—more than I could have ever imagined. Studying abroad, making friendships and spending time with people from South Africa gave me the opportunity to question my own priorities and truly open my mind.

I learned so much from all the people that I met that I have been inspired to take on a Masters program abroad in Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies at the London School of Economics in the upcoming year. I feel extremely fortunate to have the opportunity to further expand my cultural awareness, both in and out the classroom, which will allow me to pursue a career in international education.