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Meet Karen from the University of Chicago

Who am I? I’m a 4th year student at the University of Chicago, concentrating in International Studies, though who I am is often easier to tackle than where I am from. (I was born in Peru and have lived there, Venezuela, and the US; my family is Peruvian, Croatian, American, British and Indian.)

Why am I in South Africa? In theory, to study the politics of race and culture in South Africa; apartheid; and, if it’s not too ambitious to say, African Civilization in a postmodern world. Perhaps in reality, though, apart from learning such a complex and often confrontational history, what brings me to this country is a mixture of curiosity, adventure, and desire to explore a new culture.

How long will I be here? In Cape Town, until the 28th of February, after which I will spend 10 days in Kruger National Park before returning to the US for spring classes.

Thoughts so far: Amazed bewilderment meets heartfelt sadness and pangs of hope. As a city, Cape Town is a rare gem whose pristine beaches and beautiful sights are guarded jealously by the 12 Apostles range, Devil’s Peak, and Lion’s Head. Still, despite the beauty this panorama affords, apartheid and its legacy of racism are obstacles that the city continues to struggle to overcome. Thus, beauty meets beast meets hope – an eclectic backdrop for my studies here.

More from me soon!