“I just wanted to update you on how things were going from our side and send you some photographs to show you a little of Brookings.
The people here are truly nice, which has made settling in a lot better than what we’ve expected. We have made some friends that stay right across the hall from us and they have shown us in and around Brookings, and truly have been wonderful towards us. We spend a lot of time with them and they inform us more and more about South Dakota and the US as well. They have also been very interested in South Africa and so we haven’t stopped talking about where we come from. A lot of people are curious about Africa, so we get asked a lot of questions and of course we enjoy telling them about our home.
We are about four weeks into taking classes and we already have a lot of work. Not surprising that the work has built up quickly though but UJ has prepared us quite well in terms of time management and learning to cope with a lot of projects due at once. The subjects that we are taking are: Graphic Design 1 (which is typography related), Visual Communication 2 (which is very similar to that of Communication Design), History of Modern Design and Digital Photography (online subject). It is the first time taking an online subject, so its interesting not having to go in for lectures and being taught by the lecture face-to-face. The online subject requires a lot of discipline as you don’t have a professor telling you what is due and when. So far we’ve had 3 quizzes and 4 assignments that have been completed over these past weeks and we are currently working on an essay. The assignments have been up to the standard that we are used and more, as they have pushed us a little more to our limits. We have had to design a letter, a poster, as well as a typography booklet (a minimum of 44 pages) and we are currently busy with other assignments.
Despite the workload, the weather is very temperamental but never warm. Either it snows, or the snows melts and creates ice making Brookings a massive ice rink. Falling or slipping on ice is a serious but funny thing. Thank goodness I haven’t face planted yet, but in these conditions its inevitable. They say that people fall at least once, or possibly more, when they come here. However, the show is absolutely beautiful. It is amazing how when the snow falls it makes everything look so beautiful, it almost make the cold worth it. In the first week that we arrived here we experienced a blizzard and temperatures of -32 but real feel of -40 degrees celsius. The real feel is terrible because they have hectic winds here making outside feel a lot colder than what it really is. The land here is flat and so the wind can be very strong at times and not only making it unpleasant to be in but it makes walking a lot harder. The temperature since then has warmed up, so when it reaches 5 degrees celsius we celebrate and enjoy the “warm” weather. Another thing is that frost bite is a serious issue here, and when it reaches those extremely cold temperatures we have to ensure that our amenities are all covered up.
In spite of the cold weather, we are absolutely loving the fact that we can walk everywhere. It is so nice to have the freedom to walk wherever we want to and not have to worry about what could possibly happen to us. Brookings is also remarkably safe and people have respect for other people’s stuff, so they don’t take it or steal it they will just leave it alone. So it makes living here a lot easier and worry free. The nice thing is that we are staying in an apartment flat, which we have to share with 2 other roommates. Kate and myself are staying together, which also makes settling in and getting to the American lifestyle a lot easier. Plus we have 2 amazing roommates, that we get a long with so perfectly well. However, I am missing the food from home as the food here doesn’t compare to what I am used to.
So far I haven’t gotten home sick and having Kate with me and the amazing friends we’ve met has made the transition a lot easier. I do miss my family and friends but we Skype regularly so getting to speak to them and see them, also makes staying here more pleasant.
I hope that you are doing well and good luck for the new semester.
Enjoy the rest of your afternoon and I hope to keep in contact soon.