We are technically students at the University of Botswana, which is located in the capital city of Gaborone (or Gabs). Everything here is very different from the US. Since we’re below the equator, it’s technically winter here, so there are (thankfully) no mosquitoes, and the nights can get cold (45F is about average). The land is barren and not very green, and the sun seems to shine hotter here because of a lack of pollution.
We’ve spent the last two mornings in class, learning thermodynamics in preparation for our first exam this upcoming Friday. The way it works here is that we are in class from about 8:30 – 12:00, given that our homework problems get finished. Professor Lacks will lecture for about half an hour or 45 minutes, then give us some time to complete problems based on the lecture itself. It’s an interesting way to take a class – it really forces you to be on top of the material and learn quickly. There are only 22 people in our class, so it’s definitely a group learning environment. I’m about to redo the problems on my own just to make sure I can do them 🙂
What that means is that after 12:00, we basically have the day to ourselves! Yesterday, we took a tour of Gaborone. We went to the Three Chiefs monument and learned a bit about the history of Botswana and the Batswana (that means the people that live here). The population here is only 2 million, which is small compared to South Africa, in which a single region can have a population as high as 4.6 million. This September marks Botswana’s 47th year of independence. They’re definitely a new and upcoming country. The economy here is based heavily on tourism and on diamonds. We’re visiting a diamond facility later this trip so that will certainly be interesting!
Today, we’re planning on visiting the Riverwalk, which is a mall, to see Iron Man (because apparently movies in Botswana are super fun to go to). Then we’re going to try and get some pizza! Food here is very similar from meal to meal. We generally have two meats, rice, some other form of starch or carbohydrate, and a salad. We drink this delicious juice with our meals that to me is some sort of combination of orange and mango and heaven. There’s also a convenience store nearby that we can go to for snacks (like European Fanta, which is delicious, chips (aka fries), candy, delicious donut-like fat cakes, and more). So we’re not too bad off in terms of food!
We’re excited to keep learning about thermodynamics, but even more excited to keep learning about the city we’re living in for three weeks! PS: all pictures are from Gaby Chandra 🙂