Making Friends Abroad – Durban, South Africa

Elise Kambou is a student at Towson University and an ISA Featured Blogger. She studied abroad with ISA in Durban, South Africa.

IMG_4995One of the things I particularly enjoyed about studying abroad through ISA was the other students enrolled in my program. If it had not been for ISA, our paths would have never crossed. Without the other students: Courtney, Brendan and Kayla, I am certain my experience in Durban would not have been as enjoyable as it was. Which is why it makes leaving South Africa significantly more difficult.IMG_3182

Prior to my departure, I did not envision myself forming connections with the other students on my trip. I assumed that I would handle my social life at UKZN in the same way that I do at my home institution: alone. At home, I prefer following my own agenda and not having to worry about accommodating others. Though I do enjoy spending time with my friends, I find that it can be difficult satisfy everyone’s needs. However, I was surprised to find myself bonding so well with the others.


My first night in Durban was spent on my own since I had been the first to arrive. I remember feeling totally exhausted and lonely. I had not interacted with anyone in 24 hours, and did not even have the luxury of connecting to the WiFi so that I could communicate with my friends at home. Fortunately, I had arrived late in the evening and was extremely jet lagged.


When I woke up the next day, I found that two other ISA students had arrived and the last student would be arriving later in the evening. As a “Welcome to Durban” gesture, our resident director, Anita, took us all out to dinner where we properly introduced to one another and a friendship instantly blossomed. I remember instantly thinking that we were a good group, and I still find this to be true. We’ve formed many experiences together as a group and faced a few challenges along the way, but our friendship always remained strong.


One by one we have begun saying our farewells, and many tears have been shed. It has truly been a privilege experiencing South Africa with Courtney, Brendan, and Kayla.

Siyabonga! We thank you,  ISA.

Want to read more about our students in Durban? Check out “6 Reasons You Should Study Abroad in Durban, South Africa”