Cape Town, South Africa– from internship to opportunity

Adventures can present themselves in many different shapes and forms.

As a part of my James Madison curriculum at Michigan State University, I am required to partake in a 12-week internship prior to graduation. In the hopes that we students actually learn something worthy of these twelve seemingly free credits, we are required to write two papers coinciding with the internship, bearing a James Madison faculty member’s seal of approval. Students intern at law firms, grab coffee for Michigan or United States senators, or substitute it with student teaching. The options are endless, which is not exactly ideal for someone who has no idea of where the future will take them. Thirsty for an adventure, I explored hundreds of options, without any idea of how to narrow it down. I was then introduced to a program called Connect 123. This organization coordinates internship opportunities for students abroad. This and other James Madison affiliates operate from Argentina, Barcelona, Cape Town, Dublin and a few other countries.

Hoping for a completely unique experience, I signed up to go to Cape Town, South Africa. With Connect 123, interns from different places come to Cape Town to pursue their individual work experiences, while living in the same apartment building. The organization also coordinates some activities and excursions. Unexpectedly, as well a few of my friends will be on the program with me. After numerous internships fell through, I was accepted by an organization called ORT-SA, which I will explain later. Life works in strange ways and while not my first choice, I am excited to see where this internship will bring me.

My family has a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out). Before I had definitively chosen this program, my mom had planned her trip to Cape Town and my dad had Table Mountain as his screen saver. Needless to say they will be accompanying me on the first leg of my journey, and then dropping me off for the South African winter. So, that’s my story up until this point. I’m crossing time zones and hemispheres in a search for the perfect summer that just might change my life.

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I’ve named my blog “Invictus”, which is the latin word for unconquered, in tribute to one of my favorite movies, and the poem that inspired that title. If you haven’t seen Invictus, drop what you’re doing and go rent it. It’s about how a rugby game in South Africa helped change the sentiments of apartheid under Nelson Mandela’s careful eye. The poem, by William Ernest Henley, is equally inspiring:

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

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