Meet Setjhaba

Here at St. Luke’s, we strive to foster a sense of international brotherhood with students from other nations and cultures. So naturally, when we heard the distant and exotic land called South Africa (located in the southern tip of the African continent), we just had to invite some South Africans over to Connecticut! So far, our good-natured guests have been to NYC, where some visited, among other places of note, Harvard, NYU, and the 9/11 Memorial at Ground Zero. I finally got the chance to sit down and interview one of the exchange students… so, without further ado, meet Setjhaba Mosebi!

Mac: Hey, thanks for sparing some time for the Sentinel.

Setjhaba: No problem, it’s great to be here!

Mac: Awesome. And you’re in your senior year of high school in South Africa?

Setjhaba Mosebi, one of our South African visitors

Setjhaba: That is correct.

Mac: Here in America, we have hobbies! What are your hobbies?

Setjhaba: Rugby, hanging out with friends–typical teenager things.

Mac: What music are you listening to?

Setjhaba: House, rap, anything. It depends where you’re from, really. It depends on where you go in South Africa but generally in my school we listen to mostly the same music as you all do here.

Mac: What’s been your favorite part of America?

Setjhaba: I personally liked Brooklyn because it was so laid-back. I liked seeing the other parts of NYC but I enjoyed seeing Brooklyn just because it was so calm compared to the rest of the city.

Mac: What’s the biggest difference between South Africa and America?

Setjhaba: Everyone here seems to be enjoying their jobs. I’ve been to train stations and New York City, and everywhere people seem happy or at least complacent. In South Africa, people are unsatisfied and many feel like they’ve been cheated by the injustices of the past. One thing that’s good about South Africa, though, is that the newer generation (post-apartheid) doesn’t see racial boundaries at all. Thankfully, it seems that racism is dying out at a very rapid pace.

Mac: Generally, foreign exchange students are so smart that they put us Americans to shame. With that said, how many languages can you speak?

Setjhaba: I can speak a total of eight languages: English, Afrikaans, Sotho, Pedi, Xhosa, Swati, Tswana, Zulu. Sotho, Tswana, and Pedi are closely related to each other, as are Xhosa, Swati, and Zulu. I speak English in school and Zulu at home, but it can get pretty confusing in town.

Mac: How does the average South African see the average American?

Setjhaba: We get many of the same movies, TV shows, and music as you all do in the states. Therefore, many South Africans in my school see think of America and immediately think of movie stars.

Mac: Do you notice any majors difference in how we live compared to life in South Africa?

Setjhaba: Well for one, Blackberries are a much bigger deal in South Africa than they seem to be here in America. The cost of electronics in general seems to be much lower and more prevalent here. Everywhere I go, all I see is Apple products.

Mac: Is school any different in South Africa?

Setjhaba: Yes.

Mac: How so?

Setjhaba: In 10th grade, towards the end of the year, you need to choose subjects for the next two years. The difference is that in South Africa, your choices for classes are dependent on what career path you will take as an adult. It’s very important that you choose the right subjects. You need to take in all the options and weigh your goals and your limitations. The next two years are really make or break time. 11th grade is generally seen as the hardest grade for us. Another difference is that we have school all year round, with month long breaks three times a year. I like it compared to the American model though… nine months of continuous school sounds terrible.

Mac: Quickly! America in one word!

Setjhaba: Friendly!

Mac: Thank you for your time, sir.

–Mac Zech, Staff Writer

Posted by on April 25, 2012. Filed under School News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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