South African Adventure: Part One

By Reita Hutagalung, Global MBA student 2012-2013, Indonesia

This year our field trip was to South Africa: Cape Town to be precise. As I have never set my foot on the continent, I was very excited to go. In this part I’d like to tell about the friends we made there. Our host was Stellenbosch Business School, and on Wednesday night we got the chance to meet several of its students from several programs such as the MBA program and entrepreneurship program.

As usual things started off formally in the beginning, but we were glad that after some time and glasses of fine wine from South Africa we were engaged in jokes and laughter. In addition to the Afrikaans, their MBA program also has some diversity with people from Namibia, India and Germany. As always, it was interesting to know people and gain insights from their experiences. For example, one of the people had a background in running a wine business in Cape Town and we discussed about the industry. Competitiveness in wine industry in South Africa has been very high with the number of wine companies reaching 600. Not only internally, globally the wine business is becoming more competitive as other countries are also starting to produce wine. Another person we met had a background in mining industry, however in Mongolia. Having no knowledge on business in Mongolia, I was very interested to hear of the business trend and updates about Mongolia; from someone in South Africa. The world is flat indeed.

We didn’t stop there. After dinner, some of our new friends took us out to a hang out place nearby. Not only there, they also took some of our friends the next day to see the township in Cape Town. Cape Town is a very beautiful city blessed with wonderful nature such as the Table Mountain, the beaches along its shores such as Hout Bay, the interesting animal kingdom and other touristic places. However, the city–and the country–also still struggles with developing the society. Many improvements have been made especially in the education sector, however part of the generation still bear the marks of apartheid era that specified education to parts of the population. Hence the tour to township showed the real side of Cape Town aside from its touristic places. Our friends who went there enjoyed interacting with the local people and visited restaurants, bars and shops.

We heard that part of their program is to visit other countries as well, so several of them will be coming to Paris. We’ll be looking forward to meeting them and hope to be host in exchange as well.

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