The American Dream by Eloise


The day we booked our tickets to Boston, MA was the day it all sank in. For the first time we realised that we are really doing this.  Mri, Chanel and I are really going to AMERICA for the very first time!! Our minds immediately started to twirl as we thought about Central Park, Boston Common, The Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge, Museums, BROADWAY and of course, Times Square.

We started planning everything in detail, as it is very important to be organised, prepared and knowledgeable about where you are going, where you are staying and prices of everything.  If you know precisely how to get to the place you’re staying in America, it is much, much easier to use the Subway (although it can be a bit confusing in the beginning).  Preparation also equals LESS STRESS.  If you are in an unknown country, you don’t know where you are and nobody stops to even look at you or help you, you will start to stress.  Therefore to prevent this stress, you should know where you are going and how to get there.

The Visa application went surprisingly fast.  First we had to apply for a Visa by filling out a very long and detailed form.  Then we had to pay and make an appointment for an interview. After we got accepted we had to drive to the American Embassy in Cape Town for the interview.  This interview consists of a few questions regarding your reason for visiting America, how you are going to pay for the trip and the person who is paying (in my instance, it was my father).  The Visa arrived in less than a week.  I do however advice that you arrange and finalise the Visa a long time before the trip to prevent any last minute problems which can lead to receiving your Visa too late.

Now it was packing time!! It is a good idea to make yourself a list of everything you need for the trip so that you can tick it off when you packed it in.  It is then much easier to remember everything.  You should also remember that you are not allowed to take any aerosol cans or any liquid more than 350ml on the aeroplane, so pour your soap or shampoo in smaller containers.  I also took an aeroplane cushion with to sleep on which turned out to be a very good idea as any international flight is very, very long.  You can however enjoy the latest movies, series and music to past the time.  Also try to sleep as much on the aeroplane as possible, as you may feel jetlagged after the flight and it is very difficult to sleep in airports.


Lastly, be early for your flight and eat something beforehand in case you do not like aeroplane food. And then sit back, relax and enjoy the flight!

Experience at Summer School:

I had two academic experiences oversees.  The first one was Globecom which stands for Global Communications which we had to complete for one of our Honours subjects, International Marketing.  This consisted of a project for the company Zeiss (which sells spectacles) to increase their market share in developing countries.  We chose to research and base our campaign on India.  13 countries (including South Africa, USA, Germany, Spain, Italy and Mexico) worked together in groups to come up with creative and cheap ideas and campaigns to increase the market share and awareness of the brand, Zeiss.  The top 2 teams had to present their campaigns in Boston, MA in front of all Globecom students, the Globecom board as well as the representatives of Zeiss.  My group, Group 7, was in the top 2 teams so I presented which was a bit nerve wrecking but definitely worth the experience!!

The Stellenbosch University Representation
The Stellenbosch University Representation

We arrived in Boston at night and two American students from Emerson College came to pick us up at the airport.  It was so strange to drive on the “wrong” side of the road and for the steering wheel to be on the other side of the car!! We then were welcomed at the College and quickly went to bed as we were properly jetlagged!!

Emerson College
Emerson College

The next morning us three girls went to sightsee a bit and enjoyed our very first Starbucks coffees and ice teas in the Boston Common.  We also made a trip out to Harvard University where it was Graduation Day! Thereafter we came back to finally meet our Globecom group members! We immediately started brainstorming and preparing for our big presentation the next day till late in the evening! The next day we attended lectures and also practiced our presentations.  Finally the time arrived for us to present!!  After the presentation we had an amazing dinner where the winner was announced.  I definitely feel that Stellenbosch University students’ level of speaking, presenting and writing is world class compared to the students from the other 12 countries.

The next day was the Sightseeing Day! We walked through Boston and saw so many beautiful buildings and markets and creative “art pieces” on building walls. It was really an amazing day! Later the afternoon we could also fit in a bit of Boston shopping. That evening we had a farewell dinner and the next morning we travelled via bus to the Big Apple!!!

The second academic experience was, as you probably guessed by now, in NEW YORK CITY!! We attended a Public Relations conference which consisted of going to a wonderful advertising agency, seeing a press conference and Bonki Moon in the United Nations building and visiting the NY News!  New York was really an amazing place to experience! Other than the academic places, we also visited the Museum of Natural History, Central Park, more Starbucks, Times Square (a few times!), Statue of Liberty, Brooklyn Bridge and last, but NOT least, we went to see Chicago on BROADWAY!!

I will definitely never forget this experience and seeing everything I’ve only always seen in books and on television.  It was one of the best weeks of my life!


I learned two lessons from this trip.  The first lesson was how to work well in groups from different countries and cultures.  It was difficult at times to understand the Germans and Spaniards as they had thick accents, but if you respect each other and keep patient, you will work well together.  It was also very interesting to meet so many different people and also to learn a few new words!! I learnt a lot about different cultures and how to work with them in different situations.

The second lesson was how to Keep Calm and Travel On. One can easily become tired, stressed and irritated by uncertainties of where you are, how to use the Subway and where to go in SO little time.  I advise you to take deep breaths, sit down and write down a plan.  Write down everywhere you want to go (all sightseeing places, restaurants/coffee shops and places where you must be for academic purposes) and then look how far those places are from each other.  If you know how many hours you have and approximately how long you want to spend at each place, you can then work out the route you are going to take and in what order you are going to visit all these places.  Keep in mind that you will probably not be able to visit all of the places on your list (we DEFINITELY couldn’t) so decide which ones are more important to all of the people you are with.  Lastly, respect each other, listen to the each other, and most importantly, try to laugh. A LOT. This breaks the ice, eases any tension and helps you to have even more fun!!

This trip oversees improved my CV tremendously.  I now had experience of working in groups consisting of different cultures and nationalities and I also learnt a lot at the Public Relations Conference.