Monthly Archives: January 2019

Day 4: Seminal Readings, Family Lunch, and Founder’s Day Practice

Today’s Blog Writers: Anna Foster and Jenny Kang

Seminal Readings: Discussion

We started off our morning with a discussion of Nadine Gordimer’s short story, “The Ultimate Safari,” which is narrated by a young girl who escapes from her home in Mozambique during the civil war. My group’s discussion surrounding this text focused on the advantages and disadvantages of migration from both the migrants’ point of view and the point of view of the country they are migrating to. We also discussed certain characters and their embodiment of admirable traits, as well as themes that showed up, such as self-preservation, family, gender roles, and the role of white people versus that of black people.

– Anna


Lunch with Chommies and their advisory families

Every Thursday, ALA students meet with their advisory “families” for lunch. In each family, there are between four and eight students, and two or three teachers. I joined my Chommie and his advisory family for lunch today. It’s nice getting to know the people in his group (Although I cannot learn everyone’s names to save my life!) and everyone is so open and friendly!

– Anna


Seminal Readings: Discussion

Cultural anthropologists have the responsibility to share to the world the cultures of different communities. Additionally, they have the responsibility to depict communities in a way that is not othering that community from the anthropologists’ biases. The Body Ritual Among the Nacirema by Horace Miner gives readers an overview of the American culture using words often associated with negative connotations. My group began to have a critical discussion about the preconceived prejudices people had when cultural anthropology first became a widely studied subject and questioning if it was fair for the different cultures to be seen through a Eurocentric/colonial perspective.

Afterwards, different groups acted out and depicted different American pastimes, but with a little twist: we made it so that the familiar became unfamiliar. Here’s a video that gives you a glimpse of the activity that we did in class.

⁃ Jennifer


Founder’s Day Practice

On Saturday, we will participate in a school-wide field day with many different types of running races. This afternoon I joined a large group of ALA students out on the field. I practiced the 100m, 400m, my explosive starts, and handoffs for the relay. Everyone cheered on whoever was running and was so supportive!

– Anna

Day 3: Seminal Readings and Holocaust and Genocide Centre

Today’s Blog Writers: Brooke Kibbe & Alexia Sanabria

This morning, Year 1 students traveled to the Genocide and Holocaust Centre while Year 2 students remained on campus to discuss Seminal Readings and watch a documentary.


At the museum, we started the day with a presentation about perpetrators, bystanders, and victims, as well as what characteristics represent each. We then watched a video explaining the events of the Holocaust. After the video, we had a discussion around any questions that developed from the video. We were given a packet, inside which contained questions about the museum and it’s architecture. We had time to roam the museum and answer these questions.

After the museum, we returned to campus for a discussion on the seminal readings we had done the night before. We did these in our advisory “families” with our Chommies. Afterwards we had snack, free time, and dinner. After dinner, we read another seminal reading from 7-9pm in the conference room, which will be discussed tomorrow morning in the same manner as the one discussed today. We then had night snack, and headed to our rooms to get ready for bed.

Overall, we had a pretty nice day, and we loved the warm weather! Quite a difference from the snow in CT!!

Day 2: Apartheid Museum and Seminal Readings

Today’s Blog Writer: McKenzie Roller


 Our day started with breakfast and a trip to the Apartheid Museum in Johannesburg which is about 30 minutes away from campus. Visiting the Apartheid Museum taught us about an incredibly influential part of South Africa’s past in an interactive and eye-opening way. As we entered we were assigned races, either white or non-white, altering how we entered the museum and which halls displaying Apartheid identity documentation we walked through.

Then we entered a walkway that displayed the journey of people from South Africa throughout the period and we entered the indoor, more extensive portion of the museum. There was a temporary exhibition dedicated to Nelson Mandela, describing his life as an activist and his incredible perseverance and ability to forgive.

The other section was the permanent exhibition that describes the rise of Apartheid, life during that period, how the system eventually fell apart, and how life today still experiences the effects of Apartheid. The museum was a very powerful experience for everyone and a video is included demonstrating some of our reactions.


When we returned to campus we had free time. Some of us sat on the quad listening to music and having a great time in the amazing weather of the South African summer. Others joined the ALA students in playing sports such as basketball and soccer. Around 4:30 a huge thunderstorm rolled in and we had to go inside, cutting sports and time on the quad short, but we had quality bonding time that extended into dinner time where we got to meet some amazing new people.

Now (7:30pm) we are currently reading our Seminal Readings for tomorrow. Seminal Readings are completed by the entire school, although the reading itself is different depending on the grade, and the reading period is followed by discussions the next time the group meets. We will spend tomorrow morning discussing what we read tonight with our Chommie and their advisory.

The people at ALA have been so welcoming and everyone is having a great time trying new things and creating amazing memories. We learned so much today and can’t wait for the rest of the trip.

The group arrived on time in Johannesburg and are settling in at ALA

The group arrived in Johannesburg on time. After passing through customs, they boarded the bus for ALA where they were warmly welcomed by all.

Currently they are participating in orientation activities, meeting their Chommies (buddies) and moving into their dormitories. Though a little tired from traveling, everyone is doing well and enjoying the warm South African sunshine!


And wheels are up, the group is off to South Africa!

After a 4am departure from Farmington, the group arrived at JFK with plenty of time for breakfast and to change their USD into Rand before boarding their South Africa Airways flight #204 for Johannesburg. Amanda and MJ reported that everyone is in great spirits, a little tired but very excited to set off on their adventure.

Their flight is due to arrive in Johannesburg tomorrow, January 7th at 8:15am local time, which will be 1:15am EST tomorrow morning. I will update this blog tomorrow morning once the group has arrived in South Africa.