Heather’s Reflection

I have been home exactly three weeks today. I didn’t even realize it. It still feels like I just came back. I tend to walk on the left side of the road, I still sometimes convert dollars into Rand, and I still think about our time in South Africa almost every day. I look back on the pictures and videos I have and smile at all the craziness we encountered, all the love we found, and all the friends we made. I refuse to take them off my phone, just in case someone asks about it and I can almost relive the experience all over again.The CTPC was such a wonderful learning experience for me, and it has changed the way I view a lot of things. I know I am not the same as when I started this journey, and I still worry that it will be hard to adjust once back at school. I loved the learning techniques, the work, and the outcomes we were able to create outside of a classroom. There was so much mutual impact being made, going back to a classroom setting is going to be so different. I am going to know what I am missing while sitting in a lecture hall. I loved the relationships we created. The women we worked with, although difficult to handle at times, showed me a whole new world of lessons and taught me a lot about love, trust, communication, and myself. I had connections with my peers that were stronger than just sharing homework questions and studying together for a big test. I felt equal to my advisors, who acted as friends and guides, during our whole experience.  I am going to miss that style of learning and creating when I am back in school.

I learned a lot about my values and what kind of person I want to be. How do I want to make an impact? Change the world and develop myself? There was so much room for growth and I pushed myself to take those opportunities whenever I could. I enjoyed the good times and the rough times, and took lessons from many different events that happened throughout our time in Cape Town. I learned that money is not the most important thing, but can drive people to desperation. I learned I want to change lives and do the dirty work, whatever that may be. I learned it’s about the journey, not always the destination. I learned that the people in your life are what make that journey worthwhile. And I learned that sometimes letting go and watching what happens is the only thing you can do.

I gained a new family from Cape Town that I will always be grateful for. They were there for me during my hardest days and laughed with me always. They pushed me to do new things and helped me through two of the craziest months of my life.  I can’t wait for all our future adventures, even though we might not be in beautiful Cape Town any longer.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have worked and lived in Cape Town for my IQP. It was the most amazing time of my life and I will never forget the experiences I had there, and particularly, who I had them with.

South Africa will forever be in heart, no matter where I go.


Heather Ullery
Written January 11, 2015