Issue 310: 9 / 14 / 2009

World News - Cape Town, South Africa

by Ashlea D. Geeter

The International Education department awarded scholarships to 22 students for study-abroad in nine countries this summer – South Africa, France, Spain, Ireland, Brazil, Greece, Mexico, Scotland and England. Cape Town, South Africa, is the first article in the series, "World News," which reflects the travel experiences of study-abroad students.

Cape Town, S.A. – To this day, I still remember how the breeze felt on top of Table Mountain in South Africa. It felt like crisp, free air that could roam anywhere it pleased. No artificial scent could imitate it. It was authentic.

I am Ashlea Geeter and I had the pleasure of going to Johannesburg (Jo'burg), Cape Town, in South Africa. The subject that I studied was Cultural Anthropology. Photographing the scenery in South Africa has broadened my horizons as an art major. In so many ways, this voyage has changed my life, especially my involvement as a student – allowing my light to shine, developing persistence, and stepping into womanhood.

Calla Lily

One thing that has changed about me is my ability to be more involved as a student. I was a very quiet student; so much so that one would forget that I was even present in the classroom. I did my work, even engaged in extracurricular activities, but I knew that there was something missing: It was that my personality was not engaged. I did not realize that my personality should be involved in everything that I do. It took South Africa to open me up … like a Calla Lily. Now my personality has unfolded, allowing my light to shine.

Light House at Robben Island.

I photographed the Robben Lighthouse, the highest point of Robben Island in Cape Town. Lighthouses are tall and strong. They give a light that you can see from miles away. Just like the lighthouse on Robben Island, I had to learn how to let my light shine. There was a time when I would forcibly dim my light. That did more damage than good. Nevertheless, now I shine my light like a lighthouse. The lighthouse represents how I am becoming strong and tall. But, it took time and persistence for me to begin to reveal these new traits that I have now acquired.

Cape Point

When I was climbing up the steep steps of Cape Point, where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet, I would see the people passing me by, and beating me to the top of Cape Point. Amanda Downs, who attends Pellissippi State Community College, would encourage me to finish the climb. At one point, I truly forgot why I was going up Cape Point. I thought to myself that it was useless to go there. I was tired, out of breath, and aggravated. I stopped, and as I took a break, I turned around to see that the clouds in the sky were pierced by this majestic light that I hadn’t seen before. I began to realize that I had come a long way, and it just took me to stop, and look, and understand the reason for climbing Cape Point. In addition, I started to think that my efforts would be useless if I did not finish, did not see the slender beacon of Cape Point. Looking back, and realizing this, I was beginning to develop persistence. And persistence allowed me to begin to rightly and truly step into my womanhood.

This voyage has helped me, step by step, to become a tall, strong woman. There was a time when I did not know how to embrace my womanhood and freedom. I can see now that this voyage has allowed me to blossom into this wonderful stage of my life.

I am truly thankful to Southwest and TnCIS (Tennessee Consortium for International Studies) for this voyage. I am letting my personality start to show, letting the light within me shine – like a lighthouse, developing the persistence which led me into becoming a woman. I will no longer dim my light, and hold back. Realizing all of this, I can truly say that my horizons have changed as an artist and art major.