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The Weekly Advertiser Horsham - - News -

Thomas Sud­holz of Hor­sham is back on home soil af­ter study­ing in South Africa to de­velop his knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing of a dif­fer­ent cul­tural en­vi­ron­ment. He pro­vided The Weekly Ad­ver­tiser with up­dates of his ex­pe­ri­ences. This is his last in­stal­ment.

G’day ev­ery­one. I can fi­nally ut­ter these words in the pub­lic sphere and peo­ple un­der­stand me again, since my South African dream has come to its end.

In this ar­ti­cle, I cover the fi­nal weeks I spent in that amaz­ing coun­try, sum­maris­ing my ad­ven­tures and ex­pe­ri­ences.

In my last piece, I cov­ered un­til my re­turn from the won­der­fully sunny Mozam­bique, look­ing for­ward to a cou­ple of weeks of ad­ven­tur­ing through the West­ern Cape, which is ex­actly what I achieved af­ter mov­ing from my univer­sity res­i­dence.

Academia Stel­len­bosch had served me well, a safe res­i­dence through which I could study and so­cialise and ac­cen­tu­ate my ex­pe­ri­ence at Stel­lies – but it was time to va­cate.

Luck­ily, I had be­friended an Afrikaans fam­ily who not only wel­comed me into their home for the last weeks, but also took me ad­ven­tur­ing to the rather sti­fling cen­tre of Ceres.

This city, lo­cated in the Warm­bokkeveld, is a hub for fruit pro­duc­tion in South Africa and true to this la­bel, my­self and a few friends spent the days there braaing – bar­be­cu­ing – pick­ing cher­ries and swim­ming. It was quite relaxing, al­though not too many tourist ac­tiv­i­ties were had.

This time away was more of a hol­i­day – and at its cul­mi­na­tion I re­sumed my ad­ven­tur­ing through West­ern Cape.

With all my pos­ses­sions safely stowed in Stel­len­bosch, and my flight changed to a week later, I was into yet an­other ve­hi­cle to mis­sion as far along the Gar­den Route – and back – as pos­si­ble in four days.

As such, a good friend and I took off from Stel­len­bosch for our first stop, Still­baai, a beau­ti­ful sea­side hol­i­day town.

From Still­baai, we ven­tured to Mos­sel­baai, Knysna, Ge­orge, Wilder­nis and fi­nally to Plet­ten­berg Bay.

Through these cities I was able to hike through the Tsit­skamma For­est sur­round­ing Knysna and Knysna Heads, visit the Transnet Na­tional Trans­port Mu­seum in Ge­orge and swim in the wa­ters of Plet­ten­berg Bay.

With my re­turn to Aus­tralia beck­on­ing, I headed back to Stel­len­bosch and packed my suit­cases.

I had cul­ti­vated a life and formed some amaz­ing friend­ships there, so it was sad to leave. How­ever, South Africa had one last sur­prise for me.

Leav­ing Stel­len­bosch was quite the or­deal.

Cruis­ing along the N2 at the pre­scribed 120kmh to Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Air­port, a rock flew from seem­ingly nowhere and smashed the wind­screen.

With glass through­out the car, I shouted at my friend to stop, to which she calmly replied: “No, that was hi­jack­ers. They rock your car and when you pull over, they hold you up and take your car.”

Luck­ily I had a South African there to keep me safe and ad­vise me against my nat­u­ral in­stincts. With no more in­ter­fer­ence, I ar­rived at the air­port and de­parted about two hours later.

I ar­rived back in Aus­tralia at 10pm Christ­mas Eve, and Hor­sham about 2am Christ­mas morn­ing – luck­ily my par­ents were there to bring me home for fam­ily Christ­mas.

Study­ing abroad in South Africa was com­fort­ably the best de­ci­sion I have ever made.

My writ­ings for The Weekly Ad­ver­tiser have also al­lowed me to re­count de­tails that might have passed from mind.

From hik­ing Lion’s Head and as­cend­ing Ta­ble Moun­tain, to kayak­ing Or­ange River and sip­ping lo­cal beers in re­mote bars in Mozam­bique – it has been out­stand­ing.

South Africa is a na­tion of di­ver­sity and yes – it has some trou­bles, but so do many coun­tries around the world.

Stel­len­bosch Univer­sity was chal­leng­ing in study, wel­com­ing so­cially and pro­vided the per­fect plat­form from which I could travel and meet peo­ple.

I have made friends from across the world, but hope­fully if I have achieved any­thing I hope to have con­vinced some read­ers of these pieces to visit South Africa or a coun­try you have al­ways wanted to see.

Take a chance and im­merse your­self in an­other cul­ture; you never know what you might find – love, life­long friends or a ‘lekker’ time.

Thanks to those who read along with my ad­ven­tures and, un­til next time, best of luck with har­vest, hol­i­days and 2017.

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