Namibia: Challenging and Overwhelming in All the Best Ways Possible! Past Review

By (International Service, Valparaiso University) for

CGEE: Windhoek - Nation-Building, Globalization, and Decolonizing the Mind

What did you gain/learn from your experience abroad? Was it worthwhile?
My time in Namibia has just opened my eyes to more clearly see the effect that

Personal Information

How much international exposure did you have prior to this program? 2 weeks - 1 month

Review Your Program

* Overall educational experience

Academic rigor, intensity, resources, etc.

The workload was manageable with our travel schedule. Some lectures got long, but usually we had guest speakers or went on field trips during part of class, so being in class for 4 hours didn't always seem so long. The grading was similar to home, the professors were just less clear on what exactly they wanted.

* Host Country Program Administration

On-site administration of your program

* Housing:

How satisfied were you with your living arrangements?

I lived with 22 other American students and a CGE intern in a house owned by CGE in the capital of Namibia. Living with 5 roommates proved to be much easier than I thought; having common areas like the kitchen, dining room, living room, and patio, meant that there was always some place to hang out outside of my bedroom. Food, cookware, and bedding were all provided. We were very well cared for by the cooks. Our neighborhood was very safe and just a 5 minute walk from downtown Windhoek.

* Food:

There was usually plenty of food that was almost always delicious.

* Social & Cultural Integration:

How integrated did you feel with the local culture?

All of our home stays and travel weekends were wonderful. We got to see most of the different regions of our country and talk to people in all of them. Sitting through an 8 hour bishop's installation is definitely something I'll never forget.

* Health Care:

How well were health issues addressed during the program?

* Safety:

I do not feel that Windhoek is any more dangerous than your average city. Cape Town, South Afica, required a bit more vigilance, mostly because it is a very touristy city. The biggest incidents were pickpockets; they're easily avoidable if you're smart though. Just keep your pockets zipped and your hand on your bag. I did not have any healthcare experiences, but a few people in the house did. CGE helped us to address and illnesses quickly and set us up with doctor's appointments when necessary. As to the effectiveness of the healthcare, I am not sure, but no one seemed to voice too much displeasure.

If you could do it all over again would you choose the same program? Yes


* Money: How easily were you able to live on a student's budget?

(1 = not very easy/$200+ on food & personal expenses/week, 2.5 = $100/week, 5 = very easily/minimal cost)

Not including program expenses, about how much money did you spend on food and other expenses each week? I am really unsure as to what I spent weekly, but overall I spend around $1700. Weekly spending was totally on an individual basis; we could go out to eat or drink or to local events which was all optional. Most of us spent at least a few hundred dollars on our spring break trips, but again those are completely up to each student and if you want to stay in the house and spend nothing for 10 days, then you could do that, too. I also spend a lot of money on souvenirs.
Do you have any general money-saving tips for future study abroad participants? The only unsure situation was when we rented the CGE vans and hired a driver. We should have worked out our expenses more carefully beforehand. It was not a big deal, though.


How would you rate your language skills at the beginning of the program? None

Other Program Information

* Where did you live?

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  • Other
* Who did you live with?

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  • Americans
* Who did you take classes with?

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  • Americans

A Look Back

* What do you know now that you wish you knew before going on this program? Personally, I loved the intentional community. I do not feel that I would have been as happy had I been on my own on home stay for a whole semester, even though I am sure it also would have been an amazing experience. I enjoy having people around who I can process everything with. If you are a student who is very independent and likes to take in everything on your own, then I would not recommend the CGE house with 23 other people. (But it is wonderful, so maybe you should try it anyways!) I also recommend this program to someone who ready to have a lot of their unconscious thoughts challenged. (I never thought I had a ton of American pride until I had to defend all the misconceptions about my home.) This program is not for the close-minded. Be open to everything!