Studying Abroad at Hogwarts
Okay, no, I’m not actually at Hogwarts (although that would be pretty sweet). However, studying abroad in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, has proven to be pretty magical.
First of all, I live in a hotel. We are lucky enough to also reap the benefits of the hotel’s maid service. After spending your Monday morning scrubbing penguin poop off a rock at your volunteering site, coming home to clean towels and a freshly-made bed is way more magical than you’d think.
The hotel is across the street from the beach. Magic.
Also living in the hotel is a local guy. One of the most beautiful and magical days I have spent here was during our first week when he took us to a secluded beach. We spent the day frolicking in the Indian Ocean, trying (and failing) to sandboard, and soaking up the sun while the boys spearfished their dinner for that night.
The beach itself is magical. On any given day, you can walk the beach and find all kinds of interesting corals and shells washed ashore, or you can search through the numerous tide pools for the little creatures that lurk there. On one particular beach walk, a friend and I magically stumbled upon not one, but two, of these giant jellyfish.
Recently, a friend and I grabbed some food and picked a nice spot on the beach to have a little impromptu picnic. As the sun set, we watched the surfers catch some waves and noticed some dolphins splashing around. The dolphins ended up putting on quite a show, playing around with each other and the surfers in the waves. Guess what? It was magical.
I have yet to watch the sun rise over the Indian Ocean, but I’m sure it’s magical. What’s really magical is that someone could wake up at that time of day.
I do, however, have the opportunity to watch the sun set every evening from my balcony. And let me tell you, it is pure MAGIC. The scattered clouds and the smeared colors create a masterpiece painted across the sky. And the best part is that every night it is completely different.
The weekend I spent on a safari in Kruger National Park was magical. We went on sunset and sunrise drives and saw dozens of animals (including the Big Five!). The most magical (I’m not sure if that is the correct adjective to use, but it’ll do) part of the trip was on our first night drive. We stumbled upon another truck following two male lions. A minute after the lions silently walked past our truck, they ended up catching (and eating) a warthog. It was a very “Lion King”-esque weekend…talk about “Circle of Life” (sorry, Pumbaa).
Okay, I think you get the point. South Africa is basically Hogwarts (no muggles allowed).
Chelsea Robinson is the Spring 2015 CEA MOJO in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. She is currently a junior at San Diego State University.