Daily Archives: January 16, 2020

Halfway through the adventure

We are officially halfway through our South African experience! We had another rich learning experience attending ALA classes and working on our BUILD projects. We are all doing well and feel fully apart of the ALA community.

Here are a couple of questions that were asked of group today:

  • What differences do you notice between ALA and Miss Porter’s School?
  • What has been your favorite part about the trip so far?
Ali and her chommie, Chebe

Differences: “One huge difference is that the students here are so open. They are always saying hello even when we don’t know each other and they spend all of their free time together on the quad.”

Favorite Part: “My favorite part has been seeing local art projects and artists in Maboneng and ASAP.”

— Ali
Maria and her chommie, Jonathan

Differences: “The differences are that here they have different traditions! The traditions are so much fun and a lot of music, dances and the energy is amazing! 

Favorite part: “My favorite part it’s everything honestly, but as I have to pick , I would say spending time with new people and my chommie!”

— Maria

Julia C and her chommie, Hiba

Difference: “I’ve noticed that ALA students are a lot more open than at Porter’s. Since our arrival everyone I’ve passed says hi, and in every class the students openly share about their histories, both of themselves and tier countries. I think this is because so many of the students come from all over Africa, instead of Porter’s where most of us are from the US.”

Favorite Part: “I really enjoyed the first day of classes, on Tuesday. it was a lot of fun to get to meet all of the different students in a classroom setting, and be able to compare and contrast the way that Porters and AL A classes are taught. I think that that was the day I was able to connect with the most new people.”

— Julia C.
Susan and her chommie, Kalina

Difference: “The main difference is that when I arrived here, ALA community is generally more welcoming. Whenever we see some ALA students on the hallway, they will always greet us. They are always willing to talk with us whenever we are alone.”

Favorite part: “My favorite part is the trip to Maboneng and Apartheid Museum. Even though I had been to South Africa before, I didn’t know enough about the culture and history. These trips helped me better understand the past and the still existing problems in South Africa. Besides all the amazing impressions of the nation, I was able to explore the not-so-great past of South Africa.”

— Susan
Scout and her chommie, Adams

Differences: “I noticed that ALA’s overall energy is very uplifting. I love the chanting they do and natural kindness that they always show. Just like Porter’s I feel like I have made some lifelong friends in such a short amount of time.”

Favorite Part: “I loved everything about the trip so far the excursions, the weather, the people we have met everything has been great.”

— Scout
Amy and her chommie, Jemimah

Differences: “Surprisingly, I found much more similarities between ALA and MPS than expected. Classroom styles are discussion-based and students are engaged and thoughtful. The biggest difference that I noticed is ALA’s passion and action to develop the potentials of the African continent. The curriculum focus heavily on African studies, and the Entrepreneurial Leadership courses especially encourage students to identify and solve local problems in their home countries. While Porter’s also does a great job at preparing the students to shape a changing world, our focus seem to be broader and more leaning towards understanding world-wide problems than taking actions to solve them (which is hard for high school students for sure). Additionally, while Porter’s has more racial diversity, ALA’s diversity comes from different nationalities, languages, and backgrounds, which constantly reminds me that diversity really lies beyond external identifiers. I appreciate both school’s effort to expose students to multi-faceted communities.”

Favorite Part: “My favorite part was meeting founder and facilitators of the After School Art Program (ASAP) and learning about their stories. Originally a toilet artist, the founder of ASAP invested herself into solving the challenge of youth idleness, drug abuse and teenage pregnancy by making the most of her expertise, arts. The program now provides arts opportunity for many teenagers in Soweto. I find her story deeply empowering: social entrepreneurs really see challenges as opportunities, and take initiatives to solve the problems. I plan to stay in touch with the founder, and I aspire to be a change maker like her in the future.”


Mel and her chommie, Imani

Difference: “A big difference between ALA and Porters is that ALA has students from all across Africa and its coed.

Favorite part: “So far my favorite part of the trip has been attending classes because they are so different to anything I have experienced. I got to sit in on an African studies class which was so much fun and a writing rhetorics class where we discussed how to write about Africa and views on languages in different countries.

— Mel
Angela and her chommie, Ona

Difference:  “Porters and ALA are really different when it comes to the community. I really like the bond between the student in ALA and the ‘families’ that has every role required for a functioning family: a mother, a father, sisters and brothers. I really like how ALA has snack hours that helps me to be full meanwhile not snacking too much like I do back at Porter’s dinning hall. “

Favorite part: “My favorite part about the trip is the people. I love the late night quad walks and I’m surprised at how much I’ve gotten to know my roommates and my chommie. I love to see how much effort people put into both academics and sports! It’s just been really inspiring so far.”

— Angela
Leela and her chommie, Eugenia

Differences: “The campus is very modern and open! There’s a huge quad in the middle with lots of grass and tables to eat outside. It’s stunning! The students have rivalries between different dorms that can get quite spirited. Everyone has a lot of school pride! The student body is very diverse with students from 43 different countries. This means students speak different languages and dress differently, but they are all committed to being community leaders.

Favorite Part: “I loved chatting with French-speaking students! We had lots of things to share with each other about being non-European Francophones, and I think I made some friends! My dorm, Valkyrie, is very lively and welcoming. Everyone living there helped make my transition to the ALA environment easier by being so kind to me! The food! I could eat it for weeks. I really loved evening snack time in particular because I got to meet new students and chat about food!”

— Leela
Julia T. and her chommie, Priscilla

Differences: “One big difference between ALA and Porters is how many things students run. One example is today at advisory lunch, my chommie’s advisor didn’t show up. Instead of leaving to do other things, the students in the advisory “family” organized a game of heads up.”

Favorite part: “One small thing I really liked is evening snack time. All of the ALA students are coming from prep and it is a nice social time. It’s great to get something to eat and meet some people.”

— Julia T.

Amy and Leela in advisory
Julia C. with her advisory

Advisory lunch 🙂

— Sarah & Cate