Tag Archives: Soweto
flag of South Africa

Get the Globe!



I just had an interest in international travel.  It was totally self motivated.  I always thought that it was nice that these foreign students could come here.  It sounded like a wonderful opportunity.

I grew up in a town where AFS was quite active.  They hosted several students a year and had a selection process which started with a large group of kids who were interested, then they had interviews, and then the application stage that whittled down to three of us.  Once we were selected from our community, we met up in New York City and the AFS staff matched us up to where they thought was a good fit.  Back then we couldn’t request a country, only a hemisphere, and I had requested the southern hemisphere because I wanted to go to Australia or New Zealand.  But instead they came back and said you’re going to South Africa and this is your family.

I found out the beginning of December and left about Jan 18, 5-6 weeks ahead of time. The phone call came in and they said you’re going to South Africa, and we in our ignorance had to run to the globe to check out where it was.  A whole education process began.  My parents were not particularly supportive of it.  What was I getting into?  My parents were incredibly concerned because it was shortly after the Soweto Riots, and there was a lot of unrest in the country.  I know my parents called the State Department to find out if it was safe and should I be going.  The news was not at all positive.  In hindsight, as I’m thinking about it, I was lucky that they agreed to let me go because there was a lot of concern back in the late 70’s.



Johannesburg, South Africa

Johannesburg, South Africa