Hailing from Watertown, WI, Erica leapt into her YES Abroad year in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa with enthusiasm and an open mind. Only arriving in her host community in September, she has already volunteered at a YES program selection event to identify South African high school participants to study in the United States for the 2015-16 academic year. During her time interacting with future South African YES program applicants, she shared her story about the United States while drawing on the differences and similarities between these two countries.
Erica has also assisted at a home for the elderly including delivering handmade American baked goods; joined the running club, cross-fit, and plans to join field hockey, choir, debate, and garden club in the coming term; and organized community cleaning events. She has integrated with warmth into her host family and quickly made a positive impression in her community.
Says Erica, “My time in South Africa has given me a chance to learn from daily life in my host school, while focusing my attention outward to my host family and community. Every day I am both a student and teacher to my peers, and I have learned so much not just about what it means to be Zulu, Xhosa, or Afrikaans, but also what it means to be an American. I have found that it is in the informal conversations between classes and sport where I have learned and shared the most.”