The thought of packing your bags to go and live with another family in a country very different from yours all by yourself at the age of 17 will be be nerve wrecking for most, but for exchange students Aloma Serra and Ronja Härdtner it is a breeze as they have both done it before.
These two exchange students both wanted to visit South Africa as it would have been their first time here. Once they had decided that they wanted to visit the country they were placed with families in Polokwane. Aloma, from Spain, currently attends Capricorn High School. She describes the experience thus far as wonderful and her hosting family as great. As far as her first minibus taxi ride and eating pap and chicken feet are concerned she found it quite an experience.
Aloma is here for two months and after a month in the city said everything has been overwhelming and that she couldn’t wait to explore more. She also said that South Africa was not like she expected and, joked, that she has not seen a lion in the streets yet.
“Going on a vacation in another country is different from staying with a family and attending school. This way I learn more about South Africa’s culture and have a better experience,” Aloma said. She even learned to speak Afrikaans during her visit.
Ronja hails from Germany and attends Hoërskool Pietersburg. To her South Africa is a country to visit again and she has already made a lot of friends here. She decided on South Africa because she wanted to experience a school system that is different from that in other countries. Ronja was here for a month and enjoyed her last few days in the country this week. She said that she learned how to shoot, saw and held baby lions for the very first time, visited a farm and went on an elephant ride. She also had her very first experience on a quad bike. “What makes South Africa so spectacular and different is that parents have to drive their children everywhere, I am not used to that in my country. My journey this far has been marvellous and my hosting family really went out of their way to make me feel at home,” said Ronja.
Both Aloma and Ronja found the school system here very different from theirs and agreed that the teachers here are a lot stricter than at home. They also found wearing uniform very strange.
Both agreed that they would want to visit sunny South Africa again.
Story: LEANDRI VAN SCHALKWYK