Michaelhouse Exchange, South Africa: Zach Smith and Matthew Stagg
We arrived on August 9th and spent the first week with two host families. The first host family, the Hendersons, lived on a farm near Ladysmith. While there, we enjoyed seeing the countryside, rode around in the bakkies, and even burnt fire breaks with the farmers to prevent wildfires. We them traveled to Johannesburg, where we stayed with our second host family, the Madodas. While there we explored the city and saw Nelson Mandela’s house in the township of Soweto. Both families were very welcoming and we enjoyed discussing our respective cultures.
During our stay at Michaelhouse we took three days and went on a safari at the Nambiti Game Reserve at the N 'daka lodge. We went on four game drives and saw a ton of beautiful animals including elephants, buffalo, black and white rhino, lion, impala, kudu, zebra, giraffe, and hippo. We also ate delicious food on the trip to Nambiti.
Our time at school was also very rewarding. We met many wonderful people and enjoyed getting to know them. The experience of staying at a boarding school was much different than being a day student at MBA. Zach stayed in Founders House and Matthew stayed in Farfield House. We took interesting classes while Zach enjoyed drama and economics, and Matthew enjoyed history and economics. We both played soccer and Zach played golf and got second in the Founders House golf tournament with his roommate. It was a wonderful experience on a beautiful campus and we made memories we will never forget.
Zach and Matthew with the two exchange students coming to MBA, James and Hamish
Front of Michaelhouse
Zach and Matthew in Number Ones
We were able to take three days off from school to visit Cape Town. It was a beautiful city built around Table Mountain. We hiked Table Mountain and had a beautiful 360 view of the city. We also visited Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Lastly we went to the Cape of Good Hope, the most southern point of Africa where the Indian ocean meets the Atlantic. The views were breathtaking. We even got to see African penguins along the way at Boulders Beach. We also connected with Charlie Ma who was on exchange at Bishop's School in Cape Town. It was fun to compare our experiences and see Table Mountain together. We stayed with the principle at Bishop’s School, Guy Pearson. He and his wife were wonderful hosts and helped to make Cape Town a highlight of our trip.
Zach and Matthew with Charlie Ma on Table Mountain
View from Table Mountain
Our time in South Africa was a truly unforgettable and once-in-a-lifetime trip. We got to experience so many different areas and ways of life, from city to town to farm, all while journeying through the scenic countryside. We met so many wonderful people and loved our stay at Michaelhouse. We definitely recommend this exchange!
Thank you to the Warner family, Mr. Gioia, and Mrs. Scholer for this amazing experience.