Exploring the Parallels Between America's andSouth Africa's History

Ashia Troiano
Ashia Troiano studied abroad as a junior in South Africa. At Swarthmore her academic concentration is on education studies, history, and black studies.

As a Black Studies Program student, I am very interested in the social construction of race as a global phenomenon. Accordingly, I have chosen a study abroad program focused on multiculturalism and social change in a country that, for a long time, has been plagued by issues of race.

I started my study abroad experience in Johannesburg, South Africa where we visited places like the Hector Pieterson Memorial, the Apartheid Museum, and Nelson Mandela's former and current homes. From there, we moved to Cape Town, where we have visited the Direct Action Center for Peace and Memory, Robben Island, and Camps Bay. Our cultural contact has heightened as we have moved into homestays, and tried local specialties which are very different from food at home, including dishes like tripe.

Being in South Africa has allowed me to study not only how race relations play out here, but in America as well; the parallels between America's and South Africa's history are amazing.