My last post...

That is right, I am going home. And I am going home with mixed emotions; I really long for my family at home, but it will be hard to leave my new family here. I am so glad that I decided to do this exchange, and it has been such an experience. And from what I have read from my fellow blog writers, they have been just as amazed by experiencing a whole new culture as I have been. One thing that we all have written about is the fact that people actually talk to people they do not know, which leads me to one conclusion; Swedes need to start talking! Seriously! It becomes such a better climate when people just say a genuine “Hi” or “How are you?”. I think it is time for Sweden to follow several countries examples and start being polite!


I also realised, that we have both similarities and differences in our traditions and cuisines. And it struck me that it is just these similarities that makes different cultures so interesting. Because even though it is fun to realize that you have some similar traditions with a country on the other side of the earth, it is the differences that make things interesting.


So I would like to say to the people of the world (since I know that every body on earth is reading this) that we should learn as much as we can about different cultures and try to learn from them. But we should never let go of the things that makes our country our country.


And that really is all folks, I got to go because I have a huge craving for some Swedish meatballs!





For the facts in this blog I have used these following internet sites: (traditions) (traditions and etiquettes) (traditions) (food) (food)


I thought all these pages were really good, I got all the information I needed, and they all were serious and had their facts right. Since this was mostly tourist information- sites, it is possible that they have brought up things that are typically South African, but that few actually do these days, to make the country seem more interesting. But I have tried to ruled out that so I got the information about the real every day-life. I have also tried to use several sites so that I could control my facts.




To prepare myself for this trip to South Africa, I took it upon myself to read a little about the South African etiquettes, so that I would not make a fool of myself. I learned that the worst thing you could ever call a South African was “rude”. And it turned out to be quite true. Everybody here is very polite and kind and I feel so welcomed even by people I just pass in the street.


One thing I found particularly different from Sweden was that when you go home to people, you should always greet the parents with the name of their oldest child, and add ma or ra to the end. That will translate into mother or father of… I did not know this before I came here so that was something my host family taught me before we went to visit some of their friends. They pointed out for me that it was very important to greet the parents right because, if you do not, it will seem very rude.


This still is quite strange to me since in Sweden, you only call people by their first names, otherwise you will seem very old fashioned. But now that I have come to think of it, Sweden separates from the rest of the world on this matter, since we never use sir, mr, ms, or mrs, even if we want to be formal. Another thing that is different here is that people actually talk to people they do not know. And I really think that this is something note worthy to us Swedes (since it is quite well known that we seldom talk to strangers). I think that talking to your fellow man will be good for the country’s  unity.


That’s all folks!





Okay, so I really had no idea how the South African food was going to be like, but it turned out to be like the rest of the country, inspired by many different cultures. It is hard to generalize but I will give it a try. The food here is very simple. Do not get me wrong, it is delicious, but similar to Swedish food there is not a lot of complicity around it. The food often consists of some kind of meat with a side dish of vegetables (again just like Swedish food). Different kind of stews often occurs as well. Braai is Afrikaans for “grilled meat” or just “barbeque” and there is a saying that you should never come between a man and his braai (there is definitely a similarity to Sweden).


But of course there is a lot of differences between the Swedish and South African cuisine, so if you feel like a daredevil, why not try crocodile sirloins, fried caterpillars or why not try the sheep head? All these dishes are supposed to taste very good, but since I have always been afraid of insects and don not like the thought of eating someone’s brain, I will not be trying that for long. But perhaps I should ask my host mom to make crocodile for dinner…?


But apart from certain restaurants with insects on their menu, there is a lot of “normal” restaurants as well, and just as in Sweden you will always find a pizza restaurant around the corner.


That’s all folks!





If anyone were to ask me about South African traditions before my trip, I would not have much to tell them. I think I would have said that they have many traditions similar to us in Sweden, since about 80% of the South African population are Christians, and practically all our Swedish traditions originates from Christianity.


As I guessed South Africa and Sweden have many similar holidays, for example Christmas and Easter, but they also have many other traditions which I first experienced during my first week here in South Africa. And during that week my host family was celebrating Heritage Day (September 24th). It is a holiday where you celebrate the diversity in South Africa, since there are many people with different ethnicities here. From my point of view this seems like a perfect tradition for South Africa, I mean, South Africa has eleven official languages! And that says a whole lot about the cultural diversity here.


My “host-mom” told me that Nelson Mandela, and his congress, created seven new holidays when they came to power after apartheid in 1994. One of them was Heritage Day, others were Human Rights Day, Freedom Day and Workers Day. Many of these holidays are in memory of the horrific things that happened during apartheid.


I think South Africa has many good traditions, because many of their holidays and traditions are much more modern than ours. They also help to bring the country together and reminds everyone that something like apartheid never should happen again. They celebrate human rights, something we often forget, or take for granted in the western world. Maybe we should learn from South Africa and focus on days like Women’s- and Children’s Rights Day.


My host family took me to a local Arts Festival to show me some of South Africa’s cultural life, and I experienced that it was a big mixture, just like the rest of South Africa. What I also found out was how hard it was to be a cultural worker here, since there is just not enough money. South Africa’s four biggest symphony orchestras are dissolved or are about to be dissolved. So, even though the local stage is large here, it is hard to get any further than that.


I am not saying that Sweden is the cultural centre of the world, but I do hope that South Africa’s cultural life will grow to be at least as big as Sweden’s, because I think South Africa can show the world how you can mix different music styles, art techniques, cultures, yes whole cultures, and make it so much better.


That’s all folks!



Hi there!


This is my first post on this blog. It is going to be about my time as an exchange student in South Africa, and will be able to read about my encounters with a country far away from my home. I will be focusing a bit extra on the traditions, the cuisine and the different etiquettes and I am going to compare these to the Swedish equivalents. Since I am writing this blog with three others I am also going to compare my experiences to their.


I am going to South Africa super excited and eager to know more about this intriguing country which I, and perhaps you, know so little about.


That’s all for now folks!



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