Meet Laura Fagerlund. Laura is a Vice President of IFLRY and a Council member of the Swedish Youth of Finland. She is currently living in South Africa, where she is doing an internship with the main opposition party, the Democratic Alliance. In her blog, Laura gives you a first-person account of what it’s like for her to live and work halfway around the world in a country that couldn’t be more different from her native Finland.
You can find her other blog posts here.
In my last blog, I explained that it can be quite cold in Cape Town. It’s winter, it rains a lot (which is a good thing considering the water crisis only a year ago), it is windy, and when the sun sets it immediately feels several degrees colder. In the last two weeks, the weather has been much warmer and it seems like spring is almost here. I have enjoyed the sun by going to the beach and eating dinner outside in my courtyard. Coming from a country where you only have a few hours of daylight in the winter and even the summer nights can be quite cold, I sure could get used to this!
Last weekend I went to Stellenbosch, a town about 50 km east of Cape Town, with some friends. We stopped at the Root 44 Market, a market surrounded by vineyards, to eat some lunch and enjoy the sun. It was very hot outside so we sat in the shade, listening to live music and enjoying the views. When we got back to Cape Town, we went to the Table Mountain to watch the sunset. Unfortunately, it was cloudy, but it was very beautiful anyway! Cape Town is one of the most beautiful towns I have visited so far – the nature is just amazing!
When driving to Stellenbosch, you are reminded of the harsh reality many South Africans live in: the townships. Townships are underdeveloped racially segregated urban areas that – from the late 19th century until the end of apartheid – were reserved for non-whites, namely Indians, Africans and Coloureds. Right outside of Cape Town’s city center, you see the townships sprawling. Also in the city center of Cape Town you are reminded of the challenges this country faces. Almost a third of the country is unemployed, and homeless people are begging for help on the street. When eating at a restaurant, children might come and ask for food. Living here gives you perspective and makes you think twice, and I am extremely grateful that I have the opportunity to familiarize myself with the politics and the life here.
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Laura Fagerlund is a Vice President of IFLRY and a Council member of the Swedish Youth of Finland. She just finished a degree in Political Science at Åbo Akademi University in Finland. You can contact her via email@example.com or on Twitter: @laurafagerlund