What is your name, major, class year?
My name is Liz Flynn and I am a Junior, Creative Writing and Psychology double major.
Where did you GO, when, and why?
I went to South Africa on Glen Retief’s travel writing trip. It was a GO Short this past summer, May of 2014. This GO Short was one that I had heard about when I was looking at Susquehanna as a high school student. The trip was actually a huge factor in my choosing Susquehanna. And I’ve also always had a weird fixation on South Africa and its culture, so I just lucked out with this trip.
Are you still in contact with the people you met?
I’m in contact with our two tour guides, Cedric and Nettie, somewhat in frequently. I am not so much in contact with the individual villagers we met though.
Would you ever go back to Alex?
I would absolutely go back to Alex.
How has your experience in Alex changed your perception of poverty in America?
I don’t really know if it had changed my perception of poverty in America. I think the poverty in Alex was more noticeable than in the US because it’s more centralized. The poverty in America is hidden better I think, or not as publicized as much, I guess. But I’d like for the impoverished areas in America to be fixed just as much as I’d like it to be fixed in Alex. I think there’s a quote about how you have to go abroad in order to really notice the issues in your own country.
What were other people on your trip affected most by?
I’m not really sure what everyone was most affected by on the trip. I think that we probably all have different answers to that. But I guess the most obvious one would be just adjusting to the new culture. That’s kind of a lame answer, but we didn’t know their language, we tried really hard I think to learn a few words and communicate with them through gestures, but it’s a real challenge trying to communicate just with gestures. But I also think something we were affected by was just the cultural changes within the country itself. Like we started off in the villages and got really close to those individuals, we stayed in their homes. But towards the end of the trip we went into more of the city-life, we went to Pretoria. And I think the transition of those cultures was a lot more jarring, or took us longer to get used to than just the initial culture shock of being in the villages.
Interview by Courtney Radel and Julia Raffel