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Postcards: Namoonga Mantina’15 on porcupine meat and rain gear

April 16, 2014 at 7:48 am

Postcards Namoonga 1

Name: Namoonga Mantina’15

Hometown: Lusaka, Zambia.

Where are you studying abroad? Hanoi, Vietnam; Cape Town, South Africa; Sao Paolo, Brazil

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What are the three most important things you packed in your suitcase? Why?
Rain jacket: it unexpectedly rains everywhere, and it also doubles as a light jacket.

Hand sanitizer: everyone in my program has fallen sick at some point thus far, and there’s no guarantee that we’ll find running water everywhere we go or that it’s safe to use.

Big water bottle: we do SO MUCH walking and hiking, and it also gets really hot!

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What is the most unexpected thing you have encountered so far during your off-campus study experience?
Porcupine meat. I didn’t know porcupines were edible till I went out for lunch one day with my Vietnamese host family. It tasted like beef :)

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What is your favorite place in your host city/country?
In the two countries we’ve been to thus far, my favorite place has been the home stay. With all the travelling we do between and within the countries, it’s nice to have a place to call ‘home’ and feel like I am a part of the family, even if I’m living with them for only a week. The parents are very loving and caring, and the children are always so thrilled to have foreign students live, play, and hang out with them! I have learned so much more about the community, culture, and daily lived experiences of the people and places we visit from my host families more so than from any lecture we have had. And the best part of the home stays: home cooked meals.

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What is the best meal you’ve had abroad?
I have tried a lot of great meals (some of which I’ve been unsure of what’s actually in them), but right now the best has been the South African Paapa. It’s the same as the staple meal that’s back home (Zambia), just called a different name. I haven’t been home in over a year, so it’s been a great ‘taste of home’ given that this as close as I will get for now.

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What did you miss most from home/Beloit? Beloit Bagel on a bagel with orange juice-no pulp.

What has been your proudest/most exciting moment abroad?
Every country is unique, each offering their own exciting moment! In Vietnam, it was kayaking for the first time during a weekend trip to Ha Long Bay. In South Africa, so far it’s been going surfing for the first time in False Bay. Also during a layover at Changi Airport in Singapore, I had done a fish spa therapy session and had many little fish just eat away at my feet. I was the food for a change! We are yet to go to Brazil and so will keep you posted on my next water-related experience!