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Sarah Mueller's Blog

Moments

If you flipped through my travel journal that I have written in every day since entering this beautiful country that I have come to call my third home (right behind my homes in New Jersey, and at the University of Scranton, of course), you would be amazed at how much I have had to write on. All of the little adventures, each of the activities and spontaneous trips, have left hundreds of imprints on my memory. Whether it is finding and exploring a new market, taking an impromptu trip into the City, or “into town,” as they say here, waking up and deciding to make it a beach day, or a hiking day, or a “let’s stay at home and do work but not really work because we are in the company of great friends” day, every moment resonates in my memory like a snapshot.
Here are a couple of reminiscences that I can throw you way. For any Harry Potter fans out there, this blog post can be a Pensive into my memory of a few of my favorite moments in Cape Town:
1. Hout Bay Market/Old Biscuit Mill/Vintage market
Markets are HUGE here, and my friends and I love finding them. Picture this: You walk into what quite literally looks like a hole in the wall, only to emerge into the Hout Bay Market – an indoor pavilion filled with life, live music, art, hand-made jewelry, clothes, and delicious food. Or, picture Old Biscuit Mill (lovingly referred to as OBM): Just a twenty minute walk away from home, it is “the place to be” every Saturday morning. Again, walking in you are hit with life and things to spend money on (and you will spend money, because you won’t be able to deny yourself a Cape Town painted canvas, custom jewelry, or – my weakness – bagels (I’m still a Jersey girl at heart). The food at OBM is worth the every-Saturday trip, and you’ll leave with a stomach full of bagels and potato pancakes and chorizo sandwiches and fresh organic veggies and coffee and happiness. Now let us jump over to the Vintage Market: Definitely a bit edgier than Hout Bay or OBM, the Vintage Market takes place in a coffee shop called “True Coffee,” which is factory-themed, with cogs and screws and piping everywhere. Individual vendors come and set up shop, where you can buy fashionable clothes for a fraction of the price. (Example: I bought a sundress for 80 Rand (roughly $0.80 USD). Hello affordability!

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2. Middle School dance-ish fundraiser
A couple Fridays ago, my entire house of twenty went to a fundraiser dance to raise money for the orphanage, Christian Revel, that two girls in my house perform service learning at. We got all dolled up and left for Athelone – the township where the orphanage is. When we arrived, we entered into a gigantic gym, decorated in a way remnant of a middle school dance. Except, instead of the tables on each side of the gym being flanked with anxious middle schoolers, the tables were filled with middle-aged men and woman, who had no desire to enter the dance floor. That, of course, did not stop the DJ from blasting Beyonce, Pink, and Madonna. So, my friends and I took it upon ourselves to “get the party started.” For a while, we were the only ones on the dance floor, but we had a blast anyway. Then, the DJ abruptly shifted to play “Tennessee Waltz,” and before you know it, the entire crowd was waltzing around the gym. My friends and I laughed the whole night long and had so much fun. This might have been my favorite night of my entire trip thus far.

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3. Full moon hike up lion’s head
If that was not my favorite night, this night could be right up there. Staring up at Lion’s Head, one of the “3 Peaks” in Cape Town, the headlamps and flashlights of the hikers wrapped around the mountain like a constellation. When we reached the top, you could see the entire city lit up. It felt like we were sitting on the edge of the world. One of my friends began to sing and her voice along with the stars along with the city lights along with the flashlights on the mountain lit up something inside me. I felt like I was in some other world – which I guess I was, if you think about it. I was in Cape Town – a world far away from Scranton and New Jersey and all the other worlds I had ever known. But I was also on the top of a jagged mountain, far away from the ground, and the street lights below. It felt as though I was closer to the stars, and that our headlamps and flashlights were just little reminders that we, too, can capture the light of the stars, if we climb high enough.
4. Camps Bay at sunset
Camps Bay: One of the most beautiful beaches in Cape Town. I say one of the most beautiful, because if you visit Llunuido or Clifton, you might argue that either of those is the most beautiful). Each of these beaches have big boulders and rocks, fine white sand, crystal clear water, and a gorgeous view of the 3 Peaks. While I love going to these beaches during the day, it is at sunset that I have created the best memories. One was with my girlfriends – we had a girls night, where we went to watch the sunset at Camps Bay, and the other was on my parents’ last night in Cape Town. Both nights were peaceful and beautiful, filled with laughs, deep conversations, and love.

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5. Finding the book lounge and Charlie’s in town
One Thursday, my friends and I spontaneously decided to go into town – the city part of Cape Town. We walked around exploring, and stumbled upon Charlie’s Bakery. There, I bought the most delicious cookie in the entire world. We sat down, ate, and enjoyed the quirky atmosphere. As we were leaving, we noticed “Humans of New York”-esque photographs of random strangers posted to a fence with clothes pins. We were unsure as to what the photos were for, but their diversity in age, race, and gender reminded us of how far South Africa has come politically, and how much more unified they are in their community now. It was really beautiful. After mulling around center city, we came across “The Book Lounge” – any English major’s paradise. Feeling like I had entered heaven, I spent probably around two hours in the book lounge, a two-story book store and coffee shop, reading books and browsing through shelves. To say that I love exploring Cape Town is an understatement.
6. Braai Day
Braai: The South African term for barbeque. Except much, much better. Braais are incorporated into just about every holiday, weekend, and event in South Africa. At my house, we hosted a braai in the beginning to start off the semester, and our program hosted a braai at our program leader’s house to say goodbye to our RA, who got an awesome forensics job in Johannesburg. Other US study abroad programs host braais every Friday (and call it Braai-Day). Basically, any excuse to hold a braai is a good excuse. Braais are a great was to connect with the community, see your friends, and eat some delicious food!

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There a plenty of other memories that I could go on and on about, but the point is that I have had so many fantastic experiences here and I feel so grateful for the opportunity to have them. I cannot believe how many spectacular moments I have had here in such a short amount of time. I also cannot fathom that I only have one month left! I wonder how many more memorable moments I can squeeze in before I leave. Shouldn’t be too difficult…:)

Until next week!

Sarah :)

Missing Scranton (Still loving South Africa though!)

Greetings! I am still studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa, and am still loving every second of it!
As promised, here is a fun little list of lessons I compiled during my first day of classes at The University of Western Cape. Although I value my experience here, this eye-roll prompting list threaded with sarcasm after a long day of frustration certainly makes me miss The University of Scranton!

Throwback to Travel Journal Entry from July 23. Location: University of Western Cape campus.
“Today, I spend five-thousand unnecessary hours at UWC. Here are some lessons I learned today:

1. Coffee shops will never open when they say they will
2. Chocochino = Mochachino = Mocha
3. Practicals do not exist on any schedule anywhere
4. Neither do tutorials – especially when you are placed in the wrong one
5. Tutorials are called “Tuts” for short – which explains my confusion, thinking that my professor was referencing King Tut for the entire class
6. No one needs to arrive at UWC before 7:15AM
7. If your computer tells you that you need a library card, it is lying
8. If your computer tells you that you have 10 minutes remaining in your session, it’s lying. You have 4
9. There is no concept of silence in the library
10. The head of the University of Western Cape English department is called rude by everyone. I thought she was lovely. What does that say about Americans?
11. You can buy 2 bananas for 3 Rand – AKA 30 cents USA. Hellooooo groceries
12. Americans walk too fast/Everyone in South Africa walks like they have nowhere to be ever. Welcome to ‘Africa-time’
13. Speaking of Africa-time, class times mean nothing. Walk in 15 minutes late? Fine. Leave a half hour early? Not a problem.
14. Privacy in the bathroom will never happen and stalls will never close. Toilet paper? Paper towels? Forget about it
15. South Africans are really nice about giving directions. So it is okay to occasionally play ‘Lost American’”

Now I am loving The Universtiy of the Western Cape and all…But my heart goes out to Scranton for keeping me sane with regards to these little lessons I picked up on during my first few days on UWC campus. It made me realize how lucky I am to go to the University of Scranton, where not only do we have both toilet paper AND privacy in our bathrooms, as well as coffee shops that open on time (you should see the line at Starbucks and Java City every morning!), but we also have a super-efficient scheduling system, library, and just overall organization.

So here is what I miss about Scranton – my little list of those things that students at the UofS often take for granted, but really matter. Here’s to you, Scranton:

1. Coffee shops open on time – Shout out to the workers at both Starbucks and Java City for knowing my name and order, and for happily fueling my caffeine addiction.
2. Maintenance staff. You guys are AWESOME. Seriously. Thank you for keeping campus clean and beautiful, for cleaning our Residence Halls and dorm rooms, for chatting with me about your lives, and being some of the friendliest people on campus.
3. The Weineberg Memorial Library – oh how I miss your silent 5th floor and spacious study rooms! Also, I’ve heard a rumor that the 24-hour study room was revamped while I was away, and it looks great!
4. MyScranton – our online student portal. Thank you for being so user-friendly and organized.
5. Course Registration and Housing. Current UofS students: Never complain about registration or the housing lottery again. You want to talk about the “Housing Hunger Games” or the “chaos” that we call Course Registration? Try waiting in line at the University of the Western Cape for 4+ hours to register for anything – even to hand in a test. So thank you, MyScranton, the Housing Portal, Desire2Learn academic portal, and Online Course Registration. You just added 4 hours to my day.
6. Teachers who take the time to get to know each and every student – Teachers who offer to grab coffee with students after class, provide tons of office hours, and always give extra help. I miss the UofS teachers who care, and will go above and beyond to help students succeed.
7. Scranton food. Yum. I cannot express how much I miss the Fresh Food Company. UWC food can’t compare (Even if UWC’s samosas are excellent)!
8. Classes starting and ending on time, and students and professors making education a priority, attending classes regularly, paying attention, participating in exciting and intriguing lectures, etc.
9. All of the various clubs and opportunities that the UofS offers for students to get involved. You definitely don’t get that on every campus.
10. The happy, friendly, outgoing people, ready to reach out a helping hand or offer a warm smile, constantly spreading that Scranton sunshine. (This is what I miss the most).

Until next week! :)

Sarah :)

Molweni Nonke! (“Hi to all!” in Xhosa)

For those of you who are new to my blog, I have been studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa since July 6, and I have loved every second of it!

As promised, this blog post will be all about my awesome Midsemseter trip!! About a month ago, my housemates and I traveled through the Garden Route, along the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape, up to Durban and Johannesburg, and finally to Kruger for a safari!

We left Friday, Aug. 29 at 4 am and drove to Bloukrans Bridge, the highest bungee bridge in the world at little over 700 ft.   Jumping off and free falling from that bridge was the best feeling I have ever had. The view was beautiful – the sun was golden, reflecting off the rolling hills and jagged rocks and water at the bottom. I hung at the bottom in shock. The entire thing was surreal. Without the support and excitement from my friends in my study abroad program, I would have never done it! I feel so fortunate to be a part of a Jesuit study abroad program. There was definitely some Cura Personalis being spread that morning on the bridge. We all encouraged each other and as a result, had the time of our lives!

After Bloukrans Bridge, we drove along the Wild Coast to East London and then Coffee Bay. In Coffee Bay we went on a 5 1/2 mile hike along the coast and through villages, around colorful huts and roaming livestock in the rolling hills, learning about the cultural practices there. The cultural practices performed in Coffee Bay and along the Eastern Cape in general are fascinating. I gained a new and refined appreciation for their rural way of life and their meaningful traditions.

Next was Durban, where we explored the city, followed by Johannesburg. In Johannesburg, we went to the Apartheid museum and toured Nelson Mandela’s home in Soweto, South Africa’s largest township. At night, we explored the city and stumbled upon a night market, where we shopped around and tried a ton of delicious food! On a quick side-note – Markets are HUGE in South Africa. They are everywhere. My friends and I have our favorites, namely The Old Biscuit Mill on Saturday mornings and The Hout Bay Market on Friday nights. Both markets have food and vendors who sell hand-made, authentic clothing, jewelry, artwork – you name it. As an added bonus, the Hout Bay Market even has live music on Friday nights! Long story short – the markets here are a blast, so we were super excited to find that night market in Johannesburg!

We ended our trip in Kruger for a two-day safari! We went through on a 4×4 scouting out animals and saw the “Big 5,” which was so awesome. The entire trip was exhilarating! To give you an idea of how cool it was, here is a quick anecdote: We went on a sunset safari during our first night at Kruger, and ended up finding an entire family of lions. We pulled up so that we were less than five feet away from them – if I wanted to tempt fate, I could have leaned out of the 4×4 and touched the cub. How awesome is that?! On the way home, we went to Blyde Canyon, the largest green canyon and third largest canyon in the world! Absolutely stunning view!

Anyway, that’s all for this week! Make sure to tune in next week for a list of the lessons I learned during my first day at The University of Western Cape – you’re sure to be in for a few laughs! All I can say is that it makes me miss and appreciate The University of Scranton even more! Well, until next week! :)

Sarah :)

Here are some pictures from my Midsemester trip: Night market, FNB World Cup stadium in Jo-Burg, Blyde Cannyon, East London, Bungee Jumping, and lions at Kruger!

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Welcome to Cape Town! (And a new UofS semester!)

Molo!

That’s how you say hello in Xhosa, one of the eleven national languages in South Africa! Currently, I am studying abroad in Cape Town, South Africa for the semester, so look forward to exciting tales of my adventures in this beautiful city!

I will try to cram three months of awesomeness into this one first post to catch you all up on my life in South African! Luckily, I’ve been documenting my experiences thus far in a travel journal, so I’ll be sure not to leave out any important parts!

I live in Observatory, a primarily English and Afrikaans-speaking area; however I am involved in a service-learning program where teach in a Xhosa-speaking township. So I’ll start with a quick Xhosa lesson:

So I would say to you:
Molo! (Hi!)
You would say:
Molo Sarah, unjani? (Hi Sarah, how are you?)
To which I would reply:
Ndipilile! Wena unjani (I am alive! And how are you?)
And you would say:
Ndipilile nam! (I am also alive and well!)

Easy enough, right? It has taken me a while to learn different Xhosa terms and expressions, but I think I am finally beginning to catch on! Other than trying to adapt to the Xhosa culture, I’ve been busy taking classes, teaching, hiking, and exploring. I study at the University of Western Cape, and am taking a Victorian and South African literature class, a South African theatre class, Leaders in Grassroots Organizations, and Theology of Apartheid and Reconciliation. These classes have been fascinating and have really broadened my scope into South African culture!

Additionally, as part of the service-learning program, I teach grade 6 reading, writing, history, and geography at Hlengisa junior-secondary school in Nyanga township. I love my kids. They are super eager to learn and are even more keen to become my friend. They love to teach me Xhosa and tell me about their lives. The most difficult part about teaching in a township is not the language barrier, but the culture barrier, particularly in terms of discipline and corruption. Despite that, though, teaching has been an incredible learning experience. I feel so fortunate to work with these kids. They are so happy. They sing beautifully, without hesitation, everywhere they go. They share their food with each other, when I know for a fact that they barely have enough to feed themselves. Their eyes brighten when they understand a new word. They translate for me. They fill me on all the grade 6 gossip. They write me little love notes. They teach me their hand-games. They bring me an apple every morning. They have started calling me “sisi Sarah,” identifying me as their sister, rather than Miss Sarah. They always hug me goodbye. To say that my time at Hlengisa has been rewarding so far is an understatement.

Being here has given me a completely different perspective on what it means to be alive. There is such a stark contrast between the atmosphere of life in the city, in the slums and townships, and up in the mountains. In the city, I feel alive with curiosity. I want to learn about South African history, explore the water front, and try everything. I have been to countless markets, tried the strangest and most outrageous food, taste-tested every coffee shop in Observatory, poked around random shops, and played tourist, visiting museums, Robben Island, the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens – everything. I feel alive in the way an explorer must feel alive. In the townships, slums, and squatter settlements, I feel alive in the way that prickles the back of my neck – in the way that gives me chills, gut-wrenching guilt, and an acute awareness of what poverty actually means. And in the mountains, I feel free. There are three peaks in Cape Town: Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak, and Lion’s Head. I’ve hiked all three, and those hikes create the most genuine feeling of life that I have ever experienced. One night, my friends and I embarked on a full moon hike. Staring up at Lion’s Head, every hiker’s headlamp and flashlight looked like constellations circled around the mountain. When we reached the top, we looked out over the glowing city on one side of the mountain, and the dark ocean on the other. It was incredible. Climbing each mountain makes me feel life’s rawness. It gives me a chance to be human, and reflect on my humanity – on being alive. I guess I’ve really brought over those Jesuit ideals on Ignation reflection with me!

Here are some pictures from my study abroad experience so far!

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That’s all for now! Next week I’ll be talking about the amazing midsemester trip I just went on! Get ready to hear all about the Wild Coast, Durban, Johannesburg, and a safari! Until next week! :)

Sarah :)

 

Spring Fest!/Last Post of the Semester!

Hi all!

As the year comes to an end, the University of Scranton always goes out with a bang! On Saturday, USPB (The University of Scranton Programming Board) put on its annual Spring Fest!

Spring Fest is a huge festival held on campus every year right before Dead Week (AKA, the week before finals). It features live music, battle of the bands, games, food and fundraisers! All of campus flocked to the Byron Center to celebrate spring and have fun during our last weekend before finals.

One of my favorite parts of Spring Fest was the DJ who came at night. There was a huge dance party in the Byron Center. Everyone had glow sticks and glow-in-the-dark sunglasses, and we all sang and danced our way into spring!

Here is a picture from the dance party!

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So now that we have celebrated spring, it’s time to buckle down and study for finals so that we can jump into summer!

Personally, I find that finals seem less intimidating if you plan ahead. Start prepping early; organize your notes; meet with a study group. Give yourself time to collect your study materials for each class, and map out a schedule to ensure that you devote time to each final. Coffee comes in handy too…good thing we have a Starbucks on campus!

Above all else, though, give yourself time to have fun with your friends. Sure, your GPA is important, but  looking back on your college experience, your memories will be with your friends, not the nights you spend studying in the library. So budget your time. Balance studying with having fun. You might not see some of your friends all summer. For me, I will not see the majority of my friends for five months, as I am leaving to study abroad in Cape Town, South Africa for the fall semester. So, have fun. “Live in the sunshine; swim the sea; drink the wild air,” as Ralph Waldo Emerson puts it. Let go of your anxiety, your stress and your self-doubt. Your grades will be just fine. :)

Well, that’s all for this semester! The next time you guys hear from me, I’ll be in Cape Town…craziness!! Until next year!

Sarah :)

Commencement!

Hi all!

Lots of exciting things are in store as the year winds down and students prepare for finals!

Currently, I am working to find volunteers to work Commencement events. These events include: Senior Night, Baccalaureate Mass, Graduate Commencement and Undergraduate Commencement.  For my as a Co Director of Royal Ambassadors, I get to stay for Senior Week, the week after finals, to help plan and staff all of these events. It is a lot of fun!

Last year was my first time working the Commencement events. I had so much fun during the preparation process, placing volunteers in position for each event and organizing all of the information. Furthermore, I absolutely LOVED staying to say goodbye to my friends who were graduating. There is not a huge divide between grades here at The University of Scranton: Everybody is friends with each other, regardless of age or graduating class. We all get to know each other through classes, retreats, service projects, work study positions and clubs. As a freshman last year, I had met so many amazing seniors whom I quickly had to say goodbye to as they graduated that same year. That being said, I feel so fortunate that I was able to not only stay during Senior Week to spend time with them, but also say a final goodbye at Undergraduate Commencement itself.

On the day of Undergraduate Commencement, my job as a Co Director of Royal Ambassadors is to make sure that all graduate’s caps and gowns are on the right way, and that their honors cords are correctly positioned. Basically, I run around like a crazy person underneath the arena checking all of these things, haha. Then, I help the graduates process out into the arena (which, by the way, is an AWESOME location for their Commencement ceremony!) But my all-time favorite part of my job on Commencement day is when I get to stand at the bottom of the stage as the graduates receive their diplomas. Standing there, I was able to hug all of my senior friends as they walked off stage, diploma in hand, saying goodbye to The University of Scranton and marched on towards “real life.”

I truly feel so blessed to be able to partake in this amazing ceremony, as well as the other Commencement events. The University of Scranton does a FANTASTIC job with its Commencement events, making them memorable and special for all involved. I cannot wait to start prepping for Commencement in two weeks. It will be a blast!

Until then, we are looking for volunteers, so here’s my shameless plug…to any current students reading this blog entry, please sign up to work Commencement! It is truly an amazing experience! :)

Here are some pictures of myself and the other Co Directors from last year’s Commencement ceremony!

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That’s all for this week! Happy spring, and remember to keep spreading that Scranton sunshine!

Sarah :)

Take Back The Night & The Holi Festival!

Hi all! I know it’s been a while since I’ve posted, but I’m back and ready to talk about all of the AWESOME things Scranton has been up to!

Last week, The U put on tons of events: Earth Week, the Sustainability Conference, Take Back the Night, the ISP Ball Roll, the Festival of Nations, 2nd Chance Prom, the Rooftop Carnival, and the Holi Festival to name a few! I attended many of these events, but the two that stuck out to me the most were Take Back the Night and the Holi Festival.

Take Back the Night is a national rally to end sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. Everyone is given an opportunity to share their story and show their support for those affected by violence.

At The University, our theme for the 24th annual Take Back the Night is “Remembering our Roots, Growing our Branches.” In my opinion, this theme allows those affected by violence in any way to reflect on their experiences and grow from what they endured. Rather than focusing on the negative aftermath of their experiences, this theme provides victims a positive means to cope with their traumatic experiences. Additionally, this theme gives supporters a way to help victims find strength in themselves to persevere forward.

Rallies such as Take Back the Night are vital to the healing process for many victims of violence. Public demonstrations which promote advocacy and acceptance help those affected by violence mend significantly.

Veronica Roth writes in her novel, Allegiant, “I have always known this: Life damages us, every one. We can’t escape that damage. But now, I am also learning this: We can be mended. We mend each other.”

I am in awe of how responsive the University community was to Take Back the Night. So many people came out to support those affected by violence and truly, we mended each other. I am so inspired by all of the beautiful and courageous people who participated in this event. I feel so incredibly fortunate to attend a school which promotes sharing our voices and encourages healing and acceptance.

Here are some pictures from this year’s Take Back the Night!

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On Saturday, I went to the Holi Festival! The Holi Festival is an Indian tradition, where people celebrate spring by throwing colored powder at one another. So, the Office of Multicultural Affairs, The Asian Club, Residence Life and a bunch of other organizations organized our own Holi Festival celebration! We all gathered outside on the Dionne Green, ate authentic Indian food, learned about the history of the Holi Festival, and had a colored-powder fight on the green! The Holi Festival was an awesome way to release stress and just have fun with my friends!

Here are some pictures from the Holi Festival!

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Well, that’s all for this week! I hope you all are having a great last few weeks of school! :) I know I am here at the U! Spring, here we come!

Sarah :)

 

Preview Day!

Hundreds of perspective students and their families arrived on campus last Saturday, April 5, to take part in The University of Scranton’s Preview Day for Accepted Students. Eager visitors flowed into the Byron Center to take tours of our beautiful campus, meet with admissions counselors and financial aid advisors, and simply get a feel of the welcoming and genuine atmosphere that the Scranton community has to offer.

It truly warmed my heart to see the enthusiasm that poured out of the University, as it cheerfully welcomed the perspective Class of 2017. As a Co-Director of Royal Ambassadors (the tour program that we have here at The U,) I got to work on the tour route during Preview Day, meeting and speaking with quite a few of the perspective students and their families. It amazes me that every time I talk with a student who is considering joining our Scranton community, I leave the conversation loving Scranton even more than I already did. It is evident that students choose to attend this school because they genuinely love the atmosphere that our student body and faculty create. I believe that Robert Southwell, S.J.’s quote above the DeNaples Center really depicts the mindset of Scranton students, reading, “Not where I breathe but where I love, I live.” The love that our students have for this University is inspiring, admirable, and contagious – and it certainly shined through everyone who was involved Preview Day this year.

I remember when I attended Preview Day as a perspective student, Scranton stood out for many reasons: the countless opportunities to get involved, the supportive professors, the rigorous yet fulfilling course load, the religious affiliation, the school spirit, the friendly faces of the students, and of course, the amazing food. But what stood out the most, and continues to stand out – in my mind – above all of those other great aspects that this school has to offer, is the atmosphere created by the people who attend and work here. This school surrounds its students with love from all those whom they encounter, and is generally just a happy place to be. The Scranton community is a family. I could not imagine my life anywhere else, nor would I ever want to.

Seeing so many students fall in love with the UofS the way I did as a perspective student was amazing. I am so inspired by all of the enthusiasm put forth by everyone involved in Preview Day. I think that the way Scranton does Preview Day says something about how much our University community loves our school. Everyone involved is on top of their game, and all workers come ready and excited to share their “Scranton Story” with perspective students. I think that our Preview Day for Accepted Students really demonstrates that students love to love Scranton!

Good luck to all accepted students! Making your college decision is hard…but to those of you who attended Preview Day, you took a big step in the right direction! (That “right direction,” of course, being The University of Scranton  :))

Have a lovely week!

Sarah  :)

Ps. It’s warm here! Finally!! Happy Spring!!

Born To Be Wild!

Hi everyone!

This past Saturday, I went on an AWESOME retreat through the University of Scranton Campus Ministries called Born To Be Wild! For the entire day on Saturday, we went hiking through PA’s Grand Canyon!

The retreat focused on the four elements: Water, wind, fire and earth. As we hiked to the top of the mountain and back down, we stopped along the way to listen to different talks concerning one of the four elements, and how those elements relate to faith, life and college. The talks really hit home with me, and opened my eyes to nature in new ways. It helped me view nature as a constant part of life – as something which affects us daily. I have never through about nature as something that was a part of who I am, but this retreat made showed me that it is. The entire experience was extremely reflective and inspiring.

I love that the University of Scranton holds such cool retreats! Not only was Born To Be Wild so much fun (I mean, who doesn’t love hiking, right?!), but it was also so faith-based and inspirational. Before attending the retreat, I was not expecting to be so impacted by a simple hike. But that’s Scranton for you. As a student at the University of Scranton, you do not realize how inspirational opportunities are here until you jump right into them. I feel so fortunate to be given so many opportunities to step outside my comfort zone and jump into exciting and inspiring adventures at the University of Scranton.

Here are some pictures from the retreat!

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Even though it started raining towards the end of the hike, we still had a blast! (And hey, at least the rain went along with the retreat’s “water” theme!)

For all future and current students, I definitely recommend attending retreats through Campus Ministries! They truly are life-changing, and I feel so fortunate to have so many opportunities to go on them.

Have a lovely week!

Sarah :)

Africa Here I Come!! (All Thanks To The Wonderful UofS!)

Hi all!

IT’S OFFICIAL, I will be studying abroad in CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA next fall!! I could not be more excited. I cannot wait to share my experiences and adventures with all of you :)

While I am studying abroad in South Africa, I will be living in a house with other students from Jesuit universities around the U.S. Together, we will attend classes at the University of Western Cape, participate in service learning and TRAVEL all over the place!

At the University of Western Cape, I will be required to take two specific classes: Theology of Forgiveness: Reconciliation and Justice and Leaders in Grassroots Organizations: Community Development and Social Analysis. I am SO PUMPED to take these courses, as they both allow me to gain a unique perspective on South African values of forgiveness and empowerment, especially considering all of the history these people have endured. I will also be taking three African literature classes (and since I’m the biggest book nerd ever, I am SUPER excited to see what these classes have to offer!

Furthermore, I will be participating in service learning. I love that I will be able to continue performing service learning in Cape Town. Service learning is such a prevalent aspect of student life here at the University of Scranton, which I love so much. Continuing my love for service in South Africa is a dream-come-true. I have not been placed at a service site yet; however, the options look AMAZING! As a Secondary Education and English double-major, I could serve in a ton of different places. I could work anywhere from the Hector Peterson Secondary School, tutoring and working in restorative justice peace-circles, to Dance For All, teaching children how do dance as a means of empowerment and expression.

Last but certainly not least, I cannot wait to travel! I was recently added to the Cape Town study abroad Facebook group, and my housemates and I have already begun brainstorming ideas for adventures! Everything from hiking up Table Mountain, to bungee-jumping, to Safaris, to beach trips, to vising the prison where Nelson Mandela was held – I cannot wait to step out of my comfort zone and do all of these AMAZING things!

My “RA” for the trip has been posting  gorgeous pictures of Cape Town on our Facebook group every day to jump-start our excitement! Here is today’s picture!

CAPETOWN

 

I feel so fortunate that The University of Scranton has provided me with this amazing opportunity to study abroad next fall. As a Secondary Education and English double-major, it is generally pretty difficult to go abroad. But the lovely people over at the UofS Study Abroad Office and the PCPS Advising Center worked a miracle for me. I feel so incredibly grateful to attend a school which works so hard to make students’ dreams a reality.

Have a lovely week!

Sarah :)