Study Away Global Ambassador for Trinity in Cape Town Shares Her Experiences

After Semester Abroad, Chelsey Crabbe ’17 Says, ‘Cape Town Changed My Life’

Hartford, Connecticut, March 17, 2016 – Chelsey Crabbe ’17, a double major in history and community action, spent the Fall 2015 semester studying in South Africa through the Trinity in Cape Town program. The junior from Massachusetts is on the swimming and diving team and is a mentor for Trinity’s Venture women’s leadership program. Crabbe says she is passionate about traveling, so it is no surprise that she is Trinity’s Global Ambassador for Cape Town. She is excited to share some of her memorable experiences in this interview:

What attracted you to South Africa and to the Trinity in Cape Town program in particular?

I wanted something different when it came to studying abroad. I have backpacked through Europe, which I loved, but I felt it was time to discover another part of the world. Choosing a Trinity program meant that I would have the support of the school and would not have to worry about the academic responsibilities of choosing another program. There is so much to do in South Africa that caters to the young, as well as certain realities that push visitors to reflect on their position in the world, which is something that attracted me to the country. And it’s stunning, obviously!

How did the academics compare to Trinity? How did your classes fit in with your course of study in Hartford?

Our program is specialized compared to the other study abroad students in South Africa, since we take a Trinity Core Course called “Imagining South Africa” with a Trinity-affiliate faculty member based in Cape Town and participate in an Academic Internship, in addition to enrolling at the University of the Western Cape or the University of Cape Town.  At the University of Cape Town, I took a history class called “Memory, Identity, and History,” and “African Dance,” which was more difficult than I expected, but I have moves now! My classes were relevant to my topics of study in Cape Town, but the way academics ran there was a bit different. The grading scale takes some getting used to, and the school is large, so class sizes might reflect that, depending on the course. 

Did you participate in an internship while studying away?

I worked at a tutoring non-profit called Ikamva Youth, which aids disadvantaged students living in the township areas of South Africa. I was lucky to work at both the non-profit’s headquarters in downtown Cape Town and at a township branch called Makhaza. Working in both an office and on-the-ground environment was incredibly rewarding, as I got to demonstrate some of my skills in starkly different settings. One tip I have is to get to know your co-workers, because it is a prime opportunity to make some local friends and get advice about how things run in that country.

What surprised you most about your study away experience?

How much I would miss it when I left! I also learned that I could live independently, seeing that my family and friends were thousands of miles away.

What was your favorite excursion while in South Africa?

My favorite excursion was to our professor’s bed and breakfast estate in wine country, about an hour outside of the city. Trinity Academic Director Dr. Subithra Moodley-Moore (“Sibs”) took us to wine and food tastings, we lounged at many of the secret nooks in her home, and we indulged in la dolce far niente – otherwise known as the sweetness of doing nothing!

What do you miss the most about your host country?

The people; these individuals are proud to be from South Africa and are so friendly. Another thing that I miss is the latke eggs Benedict from the Old Biscuit Mill.

What did you miss most about Trinity in Hartford while you were away?

I missed a campus that was not built into the face of a mountain. Walking to the main part of University of Cape Town was an uphill battle, literally. I recommend taking the Jammie shuttle instead.

How did your semester in Cape Town change your perspective?

Cape Town did change my life. It made my world larger and smaller all at the same time. The experiences that I have had, the things that I have seen, and the people that I have met will forever stay with me. The feeling is indescribable.

For more information from the Office of Study Away at Trinity College, please click here