I can't even really express my excitement to be leaving for South Africa in a couple days. I have always been very interested in social issues and the differences in cultures across the world. With all its different cultures, backgrounds, and the turbulent history of social injustice, South Africa seems like the perfect place to learn about and experience the different issues I've been interested in, all in one place. I have always been particularly interested in Apartheid and how South Africa has come back from such a horrific history. I have also come to realize how critical and annoyed I am with America's super individualistic and consumerist culture. My mom (who moved here from Nigeria to finish school) always jokes about "these spoiled Americans" and how disrespectful Americans can be sometimes, but I didn't really understand how different cultures could be until I went back to Nigeria with her in 2000. Ever since then I have been aching to visit a different country soon, preferably an African country but pretty much anywhere in the world. Freshman year I took a War and Media seminar in which we watched a documentary on South Africa's conflict resolution and reconciliation which included footage of people not only apologizing and repenting of the horrific acts they had committed towards each other, but also families and individuals forgiving those who had destroyed their homes and families. That was where my first interest in South Africa really sparked. After watching Invictus in 2009 (because of my love for rugby) my interest in South Africa grew even more. I actually went to the library (in real life) to check out books on Apartheid and Nelson Mandela. Because I didn't have much time to read in addition to all my schoolwork (and also because of my graphic design background and visually stimulated mind), I ended up going through a book that was primarily filled with images from pre, post, and during Apartheid. Even the simplest images were gut‐wrenching. The looks on people's faces, the signs that were put up to designate acceptance of certain kinds of people, the physical devastation in the neighborhoods and the emotional devastation on people's faces. Even though I wasn't alive during slavery or the civil rights movements here in the United States, I felt as though I could somehow relate to these images, even if just through similar knowledge of my own country's history. I am so excited to finally experience this country for myself, to immerse myself in a new and different collection of cultures. I have always thought of myself as very culturally well‐rounded and open because of my Nigerian heritage on my mom's side but I'm really hoping that this trip will lead me to learn even more about myself and my views and in turn, make me a kinder, more understanding, more respectful and more selfless person than I am today.