Alexandra Hart

Volunteering in South Africa

Name: 

Alexandra Hart

Majors and Minors:

Majors in International Business and Minor in Spanish

Engagement on campus:

iCats (International Bearcats), Beta Gamma Sigma Honors Fraternity, Chi Omega Social Sorority, Project HEAL

Graduation year:

2019

Location and type of program where you studied abroad:

Faculty-led program to Cape Town, South Africa

Describe the location you studied abroad for someone who has never been there:

Cape Town is a large city on the Southern tip of South Africa, therefore it is on the water and has a large harbor for imports and exports. It is also home to a beautiful mountain range, including Table Mountain. It is a very modern city and would remind someone from the US of the west coast.

Why did you chose your program?

I chose this program because it seemed to combine my passion for business with my passion for service. I was able to act as a consultant for a small business owner from a township within Cape Town. I had also never been to Africa, so I chose this program because I had heard so many wonderful things about the continent as a whole that I wanted to see it for myself.

What was your best memory from your time abroad?

My favorite memory from my time abroad is when we surprised our entrepreneurs with the collateral material we brought for them. They weren’t expecting us to bring them anything to help them with their business, so when we gave them business cards, and signs, they were very grateful and even sang for us.

Describe interactions you had with locals (students, host families, guides).  What did you learn from these people?

The locals were all such kind people. Whether it was the people at our mission house, or those we were helping in the community, everyone was so grateful, as were we. I definitely learned not to take anything for granted, and to be happy with what you have because you can always make the most of it. This experience has definitely changed my outlook on life.

How has study abroad influenced you career path? 

Before this program, I thought I knew what I wanted to do in my life. I thought I wanted to work at a large corporation and just blend in with all the other employees. After this experience, and after acting as a consultant for an entrepreneur, I have learned that I want to go into consulting. Throughout my interactions with my small business owner, I got to see how much he learned by us explaining things to him. I also enjoyed learning a lot about the industry he was in. I realized that in consulting, I could be working on very different things all the time, and I could help a business owner develop their passions.

What accomplishment are you most proud of during your time abroad? 

I am most proud of the work we did with our entrepreneur and being able to connect what we had been working on all semester in class with what we were trying to teach abroad.