Wednesday, November 6, 2013

First Entry...

Hey Everyone,

Thanks for visiting my South Africa Fulbright Blog!  

 As the name of my blog suggests, South Africa is a long distance from my hometown and my time there will certainly be a dramatic variation from the life I am comfortable with and accustomed to here in the U.S.  With that being said, I am eager to begin this adventure and I am excited to share this experience with you all through words, photos, and maybe a few videos.

 I have a couple more months before my South African journey begins in January 2014, but I wanted to keep everyone updated on my preparations before I leave.  First off, I want to thank everyone who had a direct involvement in making this trip a reality.  Thank you to Jane Morris and Hanna Lee for helping me along with the application process, especially to Hanna for her tireless work reviewing and revising my essays.  Thank you to Douglas Norton, Esther Rohen, and Meredith Hoch-Oescher for kindly donating your time to recommend me for this honor. Finally, a big thanks to my family, friends, the Center for Multicultural Affairs at Villanova University, Gwynedd Mercy College, and Calvary Church of Souderton.  I am blessed to have you all supporting me and encouraging me in this endeavor!

What I will be doing in South Africa.

 To bring everyone up to speed with what has been going on: I now know that I will be teaching for a school-year at Zwelibanzi High School in Umlazi Township which is about a 15 minute drive southwest of Durban.  I am thrilled to have the opportunity to teach and be involved in the community there.  

 In addition to teaching, I will be doing a yet to be determined project with my students and/or the surrounding community.  I would love to do something with music, athletics (Track and Field/Cross Country Running), or art.  I am in the process of communicating with the School to see what types of clubs and activities they already have in place. 

 The students in the region I am working do speak English, but the majority of them grew up speaking Zulu.  Zulu is just one of South Africa's 11 official languages!  I am making an attempt to learn some Zulu before I leave.  Fortunately I have the help of a South African friend who currently lives in Harleysville (five minutes down the road from me) and speaks Zulu.  He has been extremely helpful in assisting me navigate through  many of the difficult pronunciations.  I’ve been meeting with him on a weekly basis and he has been gracious enough to keep a straight face while I stumble my way through elementary Zulu phrases.

Pre-depature orientation

This past summer I had the chance to meet the nine other scholars who will be traveling to South Africa with me (see the photo below).  We were all together at a Fulbright Pre-departure orientation in Washington DC.

 The orientation was an incredible experience!  We not only spent time with each other, but got to meet scholars traveling to many other African and Asian countries.  It was inspiring to meet so many talented and accomplished people from all over the country.  I am looking forward to collaborating with my team as we travel to South Africa together in a few months!

Thank you for reading, please feel free to leave any thoughts, questions, or suggestions.

Hambani kahle (go well),


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  2. My favorite part is the arrow you drew on the SA map. Also, I should get credit for your prof pic, or a big bag of money. Either will do.

  3. Good luck Mike. If you get a chance don't forget to do some sightseeing. You might see some lions, tigers and bears... Oh my!

  4. Mike,
    Remember one thing, life is an adventure. If you trust in God you'll never go astray. Keep your eyes and ears open and I know you'll learn a lot while you're there.