Cedar House students from South Africa get an American experience at Blake

Anna Erlich '14, Staff Writer

From Cape Town to Johannesburg to Istanbul to Chicago to Minneapolis, the exchange students from Cedar House, a small private school in, Cape Town, South Africa have certainly seen a lot in their short visit. At just a week in, several made some interesting observations about life and culture at Blake. “Yeah, everything’s pretty normal here, “ says Megan Bassett-Smith (staying with Emma Mellgren ’14), “the whole westernized kind of thing…the basis is the same.”

At a glance, it is relatively easy to point out a number of similarities, as well as differences. “I don’t think they’re similar at all,” replies Kelsey Nunn who I have had the privilege to host. She continues, “The accent, the politeness, the laws…everything’s different!” Nunn elaborates on the differences she has spotted: “[The United States] are so pedantic about laws. Bus drivers have to open doors [at railroads]!” Bassett-Smith agrees: “yeah, the schooling is really different. The levels are so different from ours.” Nunn continues: “Yeah, the grade one’s were learning words like eucalyptus and hieroglyphics!” In short, it has been pretty easy for the visitors to spot the contrasts.

When asked about their favorite parts of the trip so far, both Nunn and Bassett-Smith agree: “Chicago! It was so pretty.” However, a few of the students picked out some local favorites. “Sebastion Joe’s!” says Qaadir Sonday, who is staying with Jonathan Greeno ’13. Stean Fasol, another visitor staying with Ryan McElrath ‘13 chose “the Angus burger” as his favorite aspect, explaining, “We don’t get that at home!”

From the raving reviews, it’s clear the Cedar House students have enjoyed their experiences in the United States. Additionally, they mentioned a few things about the people they have met on their journey. “Everyone’s so polite here,” says Nunn. Bassett-Smith elaborates, saying, “The level of politeness…people back home are like ‘screw you!’”

The exchange students have been a joy to have at Blake, the experience has been fantastic for both the Cedar House and Blake students alike. We hope to see these students again in the future!