Student finishes first semester in South Africa

Wade Southwell had an exciting and educational 2014 and the new year looks to have as much or more to offer the OTC student.


Southwell is a recipient of an $18,000 Boren Scholarship in 2014 and is believed to be the first student from southwest Missouri to receive such an award. He has been studying language at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa since the start of the fall semester.


“My first semester was largely spent studying hard and making friends with other students,” Southwell wrote in an email from South Africa. “About 80 percent of the population of my province is Zulu speaking, so I get the opportunity to use my language skills on a daily basis.”


The OTC student earned the highest mark in his Zulu language studies class, which, he said, is an accomplishment considering most of his classmates are students whose home languages are Xhosa, Tswana or Ndebele, languages very similar to Zulu.


Southwell has attracted a lot of attention during his short time in South Africa. Hes been featured in a local newspaper story and on the universitys online Web site.


“This is really cool because they refer to me as Wade Southwell from Ozarks Technical Community College in Springfield, Mo.,” he wrote.


An excerpt from the Web story reported that when Southwell was asked his opinion on South African life and Zulu culture, he said:


“Initially I had to adjust to everything here in South Africa, including how people think and interact, and the differences between our societies. It was overwhelming at first but I immersed myself in the culture and history, and I have embraced all these new perspectives and it is everything that I had hoped it would be and so much more.”


Southwell said Christmas was celebrated in South Africa much like it is in other places.


“South Africa was colonized by the Dutch and the British, both Christian nations, so most South Africans celebrate the same holiday traditions as Christians in the United States, Europe and elsewhere,” he wrote.


Southwell will spend another semester in South Africa, which begins in February.

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